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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 3 - Verse 18
Verse 18. He that believeth. He that has confidence in him; that relies on him; that trusts to his merits and promises for salvation. To believe on him is to feel and act according to truth—that is, to go as lost sinners, and act toward him as a Saviour from sins; relying on him, and looking to him only for salvation. See Barnes "Mr 16:16".
Is not condemned. God pardons sin, and delivers us from deserved punishment, because we believe on him. Jesus died in our stead; he suffered for us, and by his sufferings our sins are expiated, and it is consistent for God to forgive. When a sinner, therefore, believes on Jesus, he trusts in him as having died in his place, and God having accepted the offering which Christ made in our stead, as being an equivalent for our sufferings in hell, there is now no farther condemnation, Ro 8:1.
He that believeth not. All who do not believe, whether the gospel has come to them or not. All men by nature.
Is condemned already. By conscience, by law, and in the judgment of God. God disapproves of their character, and this feeling of disapprobation, and the expression of it, is the condemnation. There is no condemnation so terrible as this—that God disapproves our conduct, and that he will express his disapprobation. He will judge according to truth, and woe to that man whose conduct God cannot approve.
Because. This word does not imply that the ground or reason of their condemnation is that they have not believed, or that they are condemned because they do not believe on him, for there are millions of sinners who have never heard of him; but the meaning is this: There is but one way by which men can be freed from condemnation. All men without the gospel are condemned. They who do not believe are still under this condemnation, not having embraced the only way by which they can be delivered from it. The verse may be thus paraphrased:
"All men are by nature condemned. There is but one way of
being delivered from this state—by believing on the Son
of God. They who do not believe or remain in that state
are still condemned, FOR they have not embraced the only
way in which they can be freed from it."
Nevertheless, those to whom the gospel comes greatly heighten their guilt and condemnation by rejecting the offers of mercy, and trampling under foot the blood of the Son of God, Lu 12:47; Mt 11:23; Heb 10:29
Pr 1:24-30. And there are thousands going to eternity under this double condemnation—
1st. For positive, open sin; and,
2nd. For rejecting God's mercy, and despising the gospel of his Son. This it is which will make the doom of sinners in Christian lands so terrible.
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