WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE
16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
After telling the story of Nicodemus and Jesus, and the need of conversion from every man, known here as ‘new birth’ or be ‘born again’, the author of this gospel attributed to ‘John’, makes a personal comment making a parenthesis in the narrative, explaining why to believe in the testimony of Lord Jesus makes the difference between salvation or damnation before GOD.
The author explains how much GOD loves humanity, that HE sent his only Son, to be incarnated as a human, in order to teach men, the will of the Father and open the way back to GOD for every human who wants to repent and be forgiven by GOD.
HE also explains that in his love, GOD shows patience toward us, because his interests is not to condemn us for the evil we do, but to wait for us to repent and be saved from his just punishment.
But the author also gives a serious warning.
‘Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.’
Here, the word πιστεύων (Pisteuon), translated as ‘believes’, comes from the word πιστεύω (Pisteuo) which means to ‘have faith’, to ‘have trust, confidence’. It does not mean as many people in the protestant world hold, to just to profess or verbally accept that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of GOD. That would be useless. But it means to trust his teachings, his guidance, in order to become righteous before GOD, which implies a change of heart. A new birth, as Lord Jesus just had finished explaining to Nicodemus. A new birth in the Spirit and Water (John 3:5). A change in the spirit through our conversion, which implies the compromise to live for GOD in the teachings of Jesus for eternity, a compromise sealed with water baptism.
But then the author also says, that whoever rejects Jesus, is already condemned, because he has not believed in the Son of GOD.
Here, the concept behind the condemnation of the ones who reject Jesus, it is BECAUSE they have rejected GOD YHWH ALMIGHTY who gave testimony of the divine mission of his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON (Matthew 3:17; 12:18; 17:5).
To reject Jesus is a rejection of Him as sent by GOD, because we would be calling GOD YHWH a liar.
That alone is a grave offense to GOD ALMIGHTY.
But not only this. Also, by rejecting Jesus, we will be rejecting his holy teachings, which will destroy all opportunity of repentance and conversion towards the will of the Father, bringing the condemnation that awaits to the evil doers.
And ‘John’ mentions this in verses 19 and 20, where he clearly says that the condemnation of the ones who reject our Lord JESUS CHRIST, is not caused by a divine resentment on GOD’s behalf, since HE loves us more than we imagine, and would not condemn us for being ignorant, but only because we are evil.
The author of this gospel explains that the ones who reject Jesus, do so, because they hate being confronted with their evil actions, so they chose to ignore our Jesus and his holy teachings, so that they can continue like pigs sleeping in the mud.
The ones who reject Jesus, love sinning, and want to continue sinning as long as they can. And that, will bring them the condemnation that all evil doers will receive at the end of their lives.
But also, ‘John’ gives words of consolation.
He says that on the contrary, the ones who accept Jesus, are because they walk in righteousness, and are not afraid to come into the light of the Son of GOD (John 3:21).
With this, the author of this gospel, also gives testimony of the capacity of men to be righteous by themselves, and because they are righteous, they recognize the righteousness of GOD in Christ.
“SO THAT IT MAY BE CLEARLY SEEN THAT HIS WORKS HAVE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN GOD.”