“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:18 NIV)
Where were you born? Why were you born there? Did you get a map, a tour book, or do a Google search for “Ideal Places to Be Born?” Did you call up all your prenatal friends and plan a road trip? Doubtful. The fact is that you didn’t have any choice in the matter. You were born where you were born because that was where your mother was at the time of your birth.
This is the idea behind Jesus’ statement in John 3:18, “but whoever does not believe stands condemned already . . .” We were all born on planet earth, separated from God, in the state of condemnation. We didn’t have a choice in the matter. It’s where our original parents, Adam and Eve, were when we were born (See Genesis 3).
In one act of self-will and disobedience, Adam and Eve moved from a state of innocence and spiritual life to a state of sinfulness and spiritual death. This is the state we were born in (See Rom. 5:12-14, 18a).
God doesn’t condemn us. God doesn’t “throw” us or anybody else into hell. We were born already condemned because we were born already spiritually dead (Rm. 5:12; Eph. 2:1). If we don’t move, then, when we die physically, we continue in this state of spiritual death for eternity. This state of eternal spiritual death is what the Bible calls hell.
We may not have a choice as to where we were born, but we do have a choice as to where we end up. “Whoever believes in him (Jesus) is not condemned.”
In one act of obedience, Jesus reversed the curse that Adam and Eve brought onto to the human race. He opened the way to move from death to life, from condemnation to innocence, from hell to heaven. He IS the way. He is the bus out of town. We just need to get on the bus.
How do we get on the bus? “Whoever believes in him is not condemned.” We simply believe that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world, not to condemn us but to save us from condemnation. Through this simple act of belief, we’re on the bus. Jesus transports us from death into life.
Further, when we truly believe in Christ, we find we quit following Adam’s way of self-will and disobedience and start following Christ in the way of trust and obedience. This is because Jesus not only drives us out of hell He also drives the hell out of us. And, even when we mess up, we do not stand condemned, because we believe in the name of God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ!
© Paul R Downing