Summary: Let’s look at condemnation and salvation in John 3:14-21


What is the way to life? Why do some reject it? Is their motive logical or emotional?

Purpose: Let’s understand the significance of faith in Christ.

Plan: Let’s look at condemnation and salvation in John 3:14-21.

John 3:14 The Exalted Cross

As we read John 3:14 “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,” our natural inclination is to think of suffering as one of life’s worst moments. This suggests the opposite. Lifted up on a cross, can also mean “exalted” on a cross. Jesus viewed his suffering with His creation as an exalted privilege. Prosperity preachers are popular because they do not preach suffering. But, to be truly exalted, we must follow Christ’s example. We can’t come to the light of the cross, by the dark and deceptive world of materialism. We too are exalted by sacrificing for others?

John 3:15 Problem, Cause, Solution

In John 3:15 we read, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Ancient Israel was often critical of God. One one occasion, God punished them by sending poisonous snakes into their midst (Numbers 21:4-9). The people regretted their whining and Moses prayed and following God’s instructions made a bronze snake on a pole. Looked on the bronze snake that was lifted up, they lived. When we look to the cross and believe in Him, we too will live. The solution to a snake problem was a snake. The solution to the problems of man is the man who was lifted up on a cross.

John 3:16 How God Loved the World

John 3:16 is widely known, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” “God so loved the world” means He loved the world "in this way," or "like this." He lifted up Jesus in the same manner that Moses lifted up the snake for the healing of Israel. The snake on the pole was meant to remind Israel to trust God for healing but it later became an idol and had to be destroyed. Church traditions can degenerate into idols. We too need to lift up Jesus, ahead of traditions and denominational pride.

John 3:17 Loving the Hateful

A remarkable statement is this, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Would we die for our enemies. Would we die for an adulterer, homosexual, divorcee or fornicator. Jesus did. Jesus neither condemned nor condoned sin. He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, but told her to sin no more. If the liberal sin is to condone sin, then the conservative sin is to condemn sinners. Both extremes are a sin. Only Jesus has the right to condemn in the final judgment, but it’s not here yet. Are we here to condemn or save?

John 3:18 Condemnation

John 3:18 says, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” An attitude of disbelief towards Jesus condemns us before judgment day, unless we change.“He who does not believe, already has hell on his neck,” [1] The unbeliever is in a state of self-condemnation before the judgment day, because he cannot be saved by his good deeds. His only hope is repentance and belief in the Gospel. Instead, he prefers wickedness and willfully rejects any idea of Christ, the only way to salvation from death.

John 3:19 Men Love Darkness

John 3:19 says, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” The word for love is from the Greek word agapé and just means love or affection. It is false that agapé always means divine love. It does not. It depends on context. When we hear the story of Jesus, what motivates our conclusion. Intelligent, well-educated people sometimes decide not to believe, based on emotions, not logic. When we hate to even think of the possibility of light because we love darkness, we are motivated to conclusions that illogically support our evil deeds.

John 3:20-21 Light and Dark

What motivates someone to accept God or not? John 3:20-21 teaches, “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” This seems to be saying that it is not logic, but the emotion of hate towards truth. Aren’t atheists and agnostics supposed to be logical and scientific in their conclusions? That’s a myth. Scientific methods deliberately ignore God and forensic evidence for God is deliberately buried. Why? The emotion of hatred of truth and light.

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