Summary: Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment
Most people know or at least recognize John 3:16. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” We’re not as familiar with John 3:36, “And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”
I don’t know why so much attention has been given to John 3:16 and not so much to John 3:36. I have a good idea, though. We don’t typically want to discuss this part of God’s nature. It’s much more palpable and sweet to discuss His love and mercy for sinners. We appreciate a sermon on heaven and what it might be like, but, we don’t want to dwell on hell, at least not very long. But what we need to understand about God is that where there is love, forgiveness and mercy there is also anger and judgement.
Brian Jones in his book, “Hell is Real but I Hate to Admit it” says, “if everyone goes to heaven, why bother with Jesus at all? Why attend church? Why serve? Why tithe? Why share our faith with others? None of this makes any sense. Why would we do anything beyond that which makes us feel good? If there is no hell, then giving less than our best to our faith makes perfect sense. But if hell is real, it changes everything.”
I’m not going to preach a sermon on hell this morning, but, we are going to give some healthy attention to the judgement nature of God.
Psalm 75 teaches us some things about God’s final judgement.
First, according to verse 2, only He knows when He is going to make it happen. “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked” Jesus said that even though He is the Son of God he doesn’t even know when the day or hour will be. Discussing this very topic Jesus said, “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows” Matthew 24:36
Second, in verses 4-6 we’re told it’s silly for human beings to be defiant against God because we have no power. This is the conclusion Job came to when responding to God he said, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.” Job 42:2
And then Psalm 75:9-10 teaches us that the judgement of God provides the ultimate reason to praise Him. “I will always proclaim what God has done.” Romans 2:7-8 says, “He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.” The most benevolent act in all of history belongs to God; He offered Jesus Christ as the means through which you and I may receive His mercy.
How does all of this affect how we live though? How does this change the way I live or make decisions? Three quick things:
Do not defy the Judge: vs. 4-5
Make sure that you are living in agreement with God and His Word and not against it. Jesus said, “But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken.” John 12:48. We’re told in the very beginning of the book of John that “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Make sure you are living in the Word of God and not rejecting it. Rejecting God’s Word or His Son Jesus as truth is the ultimate act of defiance and all who do so will be punished.
Zechariah 7:11-12 - Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the LORD of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 – And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him.