Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 3:18

He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Faith;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Responsibility;   Righteous;   Salvation;   Unbelief;   Wicked (People);   Thompson Chain Reference - Christ;   Condemnation;   Distrust;   Divinity;   Divinity-Humanity;   Faith-Unbelief;   Infidelity;   No;   Salvation-Condemnation;   Son;   Unbelief;   Unbelievers;   The Topic Concordance - Belief;   Condemnation;   Jesus Christ;   Light;   Unbelief;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Anger of God, the;   Christ Is God;   Condemnation;   Unbelief;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Nicodemus;   Son of God;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Faith;   Judgment;   Life;   Predestination;   Propitiation;   Sin;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Backsliding;   Condemnation;   Hell;   Jesus Christ;   Jesus Christ, Name and Titles of;   Word;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Episcopacy;   Unbelief;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Call;   Faith;   Life;   Moses;   Nicodemus;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jesus Christ;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Children (Sons) of God;   Condemn;   Only Begotten;   Sin;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ethics;   Faith;   Gospels;   John, Gospel of;   John, Theology of;   Logos;   Love, Lover, Lovely, Beloved;   Mss;   Nicodemus;   Scribes;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Adoption;   Apocrypha;   Attributes of Christ;   Chosen One;   Day of Judgment;   Death of Christ;   Discourse;   Doctrines;   Faith ;   God;   Guilt (2);   Hatred;   Holy Spirit;   Ideas (Leading);   Impotence;   Incarnation (2);   Judgment;   Metaphors;   Name (2);   Names and Titles of Christ;   Obedience (2);   Only Begotten;   Only- Begotten ;   Power;   Pre-Eminence ;   Preaching Christ;   Property (2);   Punishment (2);   Redemption (2);   Retribution (2);   Righteous, Righteousness;   Sin (2);   Son of God;   Teaching of Jesus;   Trinity (2);   Unbelief (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Begotten;   Believer;   Son, the;   ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Regeneration;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Names titles and offices of christ;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Calling;   Unbelief;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Condemn;   Only Begotten;   Papyrus;   Parousia;   Son of God, the;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Nicodemus;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for August 1;   Every Day Light - Devotion for November 10;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He that believeth - As stated before on John 3:16.

Is not condemned - For past sin, that being forgiven on his believing in Christ.

But he that believeth not - When the Gospel is preached to him, and the way of salvation made plain.

Is condemned already - Continues under the condemnation which Divine justice has passed upon all sinners; and has this superadded, He hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God, and therefore is guilty of the grossest insult to the Divine majesty, in neglecting, slighting, and despising the salvation which the infinite mercy of God had provided for him.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 3:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

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 the notes at Mark 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 stoner, 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 further condemnation, Romans 8:1.

He that believeth not - All who do not believe, whether the gospel has come to them or not. All people 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 people 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 people 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, Luke 12:47; Matthew 11:23; Hebrews 10:29; Proverbs 1:24-30. And there are thousands going to eternity under this “double” condemnation:

1.for positive, open sin; and,

2.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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-3.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 3:18

He that believeth on Him is not condemned

A real acquittal

In the reign of George III.
the son of a member of this Church lay under sentence of death for forgery. Dr. Rippon, after incredible exertions, obtained a promise that this sentence should be remitted. By a singular occurrence the present senior deacon learned that the reprieve had not been received, and the unhappy prisoner would have been executed had not Dr. Rippon gone posthaste to Windsor, obtained an interview with the king in his bed-chamber, and received from that monarch’s own hand a copy of that reprieve, which had been negligently put aside by a thoughtless officer. “I charge you, doctor,” said His Highness, “to make good speed.” “Trust me, sire, for that,” said he; and he returned to London only just in time, for the prisoner was being marched, with many others, to the scaffold. That pardon might have been given, and yet the man might have been executed. But, blessed be God, our non-condemnation is an effectual thing
. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Faith must rest on Christ

Not long ago a man said to me, “I cannot believe.” “Whom?” I asked. He stammered, and again said, “I cannot believe.” I said, “Whom?” “Well,” he said, “I can’t believe.” “Whom?” I asked again. At last he said, “I cannot believe myself.” “Well, you don’t need to. You do not need to put any confidence in yourself. The less you believe in yourself the better.” (D. L. Moody.)

Believing the one step into the kingdom of God

I am told that at Rome, if you go up a few steps on your hands and knees, that is nine years out of purgatory. If you take one step now you are out of purgatory for time and eternity. You used to have two steps into glory--out of self into Christ, out of Christ into glory. But there is a shorter way now with only one step--out of self into glory, and you are saved. May God help you to take the step now! Flee, my friends, to-night to Calvary, and get under the shadow of the cross! (D. L. Moody.)

The doom of unbelievers

I recollect how those words “condemned already “ rang in my ears, as I should think the bells of St. Sepulchre’s used to sound in the ears of the condemned in Newgate, warning them that the time was come to go out upon the scaffold. When the shadow of eternal wrath falls upon the heart, nothing worse can be imagined; for the conscience bears sure witness that God is just when He judges, condemns, and punishes. When a man feels the shadow of death upon him, infidel arguments are silenced, self-conceited defences are banished, and the heart consents to the justice of the law which declares, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Neglect is ruinous

Neglect is enough to ruin a man. A man who is in business need not commit forgery or robbery to ruin himself; he has only to neglect his business, and his ruin is certain. A man who is lying on a bed of sickness need not cut his throat to destroy himself; he has only to neglect the means of restoration, and he will be ruined. A man floating in a skiff above Niagara need not move an oar, or make an effort to destroy himself; he has only to neglect using the oar at the proper time, and he will certainly be carried over the cataract. Most of the calamities of life are caused by simple neglect. Let no one infer, therefore, that because he is not a drunkard, or an adulterer, or a murderer, that therefore he will be saved. Such an inference would be as irrational as it would be for a man to infer that, because he is not a murderer, his farm will produce a harvest; or that, because he is not an adulterer, therefore his merchandise will take care of itself. (A. Barnes.)

Believing is laying hold on Christ

“Mark you,” said a pious sailor, when explaining to a shipmate at the wheel, “mark you, it isn’t breaking off swearing and the like; it isn’t reading the Bible, nor praying, nor being good; it is none of these; for even if they would answer for the time to come, there’s still the old score; and how are you to get over that? It isn’t anything that you have done or can do; its taking hold of what Jesus did for you; its forsaking your sins, and expecting the pardon and salvation of your soul, because Christ let the waves and billows go over Him on Calvary. This is believing, and believing is nothing else.” (New Cyclopaedia of Anecdote.)

Not condemned, and condemned already

I. THE BELIEVER NOT CONDEMNED.

1. Christ has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

2. Faith in Christ identifies us with His sacrifice.

3. Identification with the sacrifice of Christ removes all personal guilt.

4. So the believer is not regarded or dealt with by God as a sinner. He is not condemned

II. THE UNBELIEVERS ALREADY CONDEMNED.

1. What does unbelief seem to do?

2. The cause of unbelief must be evil, and what is evil is foolish.

3. The nature of unbelief.

4. The doom of unbelief (Mark 16:16; Proverbs 1:34-36; Matthew 11:23; Luke 12:47; Hebrews 10:29). This doom is confirmed by the conscience of the unbeliever. (S. Martin.)

Condemned already

The condemnation here spoken of is not of the judge but of the architect. It is a customary thing to appoint a committee to examine a bridge or a building, but if either is condemned as unfit for use, the architect merely proclaims that repair is needed: he refers to the past, not to the future. He says, not that they are to be destroyed, but that he will not guarantee them for a single moment, that the hall or building is not safe for a meeting-place, and that the bridge is not fit to he a vehicle of commerce between man and man. The whole word lies in the word already. Some here may have read that wonderful story of George Eliot’s, “Daniel Deronda,” and remember the marvellous character in it, Mordecai, who, by the mysticism of his mind, is represented as having gone back. He became possessed with the idea that he was a bridge over which the whole world was passing; he felt the feet trampling over his life, and they weighed him down with agony, Never was Mordecai so little of the madman as when he possessed that thought. Whether we realize it or not, the idea is true. Every one is a bridge for the whole world. The world would not have been the same if you bad not lived, and what is that but saying you are a means of transport for the generations? Therefore it is of the more value that some are labelled, “Condemned already”; to hear a voice warning us back from the gilded parapet, from the painted structure, from the gaudy edifice; for the frail planks are ready to fall into the mighty cauldron, seething below. Stand back till the rotten materials are renewed and welded together. (G. Matheson, D. D.)

Faith

A person who had noticed a flower of a very rare kind growing on a narrow ledge on the face of a precipitous rock, was very desirous to gain possession of it. There was no possibility of reaching it except by a person being let down from the top suspended by a rope. The person interested engaged a boy of the neighbourhood, and brought him to the spot for this purpose. But the boy, when he saw the situation of the flower, hesitated. His employer tried to tempt him by the offer of a larger reward, but still he hesitated. At last, when a very considerable sum was named, he turned to the gentleman, and said, “Yes, I will get it, if I may fetch my brother to hold the rope.” Here is an example of implicit trust consciously exercised under extraordinary circumstances. (A. J. Parry.)

Salvation through union with Christ

In primitive times there was a law or custom that if a man or woman would consent to marry, under the gallows, a person condemned to death, the criminal would thereby be saved from execution. There are instances on record of this custom having been carried out. We have here a faint picture of the grand truths of the text. The sinner “is condemned already,” is under sentence of death, but Christ consents to raise him into union with Himself, and so thereby deliver him from his terrible doom, but faith working through love must be the bond of this mystical union. And this faith regenerates the man. By it the greatest sinner is transformed into a saint. (A. J. Parry.)

The great alternative

Let us consider, then, this sin of unbelief, and the two reasons, furnished by my text, for its being made the ground of condemnation.

I. First of all, in regard to the sin itself, you will notice how entirely everything is made to hinge on the fact of a man’s believing or his not believing. The difference between these two is all the difference between condemnation and acquittal. Doubtless it was well for Nicodemus, during whose interview with our Lord the statement of my text was uttered, that the issue should be narrowed to so definite a point. It was well he should know that however far he might be inclined to go in his acknowledgment of Jesus, nothing short of personal trust in Him as his Messias would suffice. Nor is it enough, to make a man a Christian, that he accepts, in a general way, the teaching of Scripture, and seeks to bring his life into accord with the Divine commands. There must be something much more precise and radical than this. There needs an uprooting of the life out of its old soil, a transplanting of it into new conditions, the committal of your whole nature into the hands of a Divine Person, out of whose deep inexhaustible being it shall henceforward draw its succour and support. And if this be wanting, then all is wanting. Whatever your connection with Christianity may have done for you, if it has failed to connect you with Him it has failed of the one thing it seeks to accomplish. It may have begotten within you anxious thoughts and surmises about its mysteries. If your convictions of guilt have not persuaded you to have recourse to the great Pardoner and Purifier of sinners, then they have failed of their marl;. He that believeth not, whether he be serious or careless, whether he be the profane scoffer or the regular church-goer, is condemned already. Notice particularly, I pray you, the force of that word already. Sentence is not suspended till it be seen whether you succeed in attaining a certain pitch of moral excellence or fall below it. It is not unfixed and unsettled till the end of your life, and then for the first time shaped into a verdict. Then it will only be revealed and made manifest. Then it will only be pronounced and read aloud from the page of that book on which it now stands recorded. Already you are condemned if you do not believe in the only-begotten Son.

II. I pass on now to consider why unbelief should be made the ground of condemnation. Two reasons are given.

1. The first is, because it involves rejection of the only-begotten Son of God. He came, as we have seen, not to condemn men, but to save men who were condemned already. And His coming was not one of a number of similar expedients, that had been tried before. To reject Him, then, is to reject the only possible means of escape from a doomed state. It is to remain separate and apart from God, that is, in a condition of death and condemnation. If you can find any sin, or ingrained force of habit, which

He cannot conquer and break, then you may hesitate to appeal to Him for help. But the fact of His Divine Sonship precludes all this. It is important to notice here the turn that takes place at this point in our Lord’s reasoning. He wishes to bring out the personal responsibility of each individual. The unbeliever is condemned, not because he is involved in the sinfulness that is common to humanity, but because of his unbelief; that is to say, not because of his sharing a guilt which was brought upon him by the offence of another, but in virtue of his own deliberate deed--because he hath not believed. It has been a matter of conscious choice with him. He has had the alternative placed before him, and he has preferred to be without Christ and perish, rather than take refuge in His grace. Now, this is true of every unbeliever. And if you are not receiving and trusting Him you are choosing to reject Him.

2. The second reason specified for the condemnation attached to unbelief is, that it involves the greatest immorality. It is a very common impression that unbelief leaves a man no worse than it found him. Other sins may render him an object of suspicion. Untruthfulness may strip his statements of credibility. Fraud may exclude him from the dealings of honourable men. Excess in eating or drinking may brutalize him, and make him an unsteady customer in business. But he may be as good for all practical purposes whether he believes or not. That is a matter confined to the sphere of opinion, and need not affect his actions, to any appreciable extent. A creed does not make a Christian, unless it be wedded to a life. And a true believer in Christ is different from other men by a vast difference, a difference that works through his whole nature, turning it in a new direction, and shaping it to a new end. Do not suppose that to believe in Him is a mere act of the intellect, and nothing more. If that were all you might do so or not do so, and the effects would never extend beyond your intellect, just as one may not be a whit the worse because he rejects some purely scientific or formal truth. Faith is not a mere assent to certain propositions. It is an act of the whole moral nature, closing with Christ for moral and spiritual ends. In coming to Him, then, you come that He may achieve within you that for which He came to you. You come that you may be pardoned and purified, that He may impart peace to your conscience, and touch you with the living power of His quickening Spirit. And when you refuse to come it is because you object to this process of renewal. And in refusing to be like Him you refuse to be like God, you show your deliberate preference for the evil which He hates. So that unbelief is the most terrible of all sins, the sin in which the innermost, deepest aversion of the heart to God comes to a head and acts. Having looked upon the light, and having looked also upon the darkness, and having wished that you might live in the sunshine, but wished also still more that you might abide in the shadow of some pet sin, or of some habit of self-righteousness, have you turned away, away from Christ, away from God, away from hope? Then do not disguise the reason from your eyes. Do not set it down to a mere exercise of intellect. “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (G. Mornet, M. A.)

Unbelief arraigned and condemned

I. THE NATURE OF UNBELIEF.

1. A denying of the truth of the gospel.

2. A doubting or wavering uncertainty of mind about the truths of the gospel.

3. When, though a person may be convinced in his mind, by rational arguments, that the Bible is the Word of God, he does not fall in with the great design of the Scriptures by receiving Christ, and resting upon Him alone for salvation as He is there presented and discovered.

II. THE CAUSES OF UNBELIEF.

1. The devil has a great hand in it.

2. Ignorance.

3. Pride.

4. A pretended humility and self-denial is another great bar in the way of believing, to many; they thrust away Christ and the mercy of God from them, under a pretence that they are not fit for it.

5. A secret jealousy, as if God were not in good earnest with us, when He offers Christ and His salvation to us in the gospel.

III. THE SENTENCE.

1. Prove that the sentence is passed against the unbeliever. “He that believes not in the Son shall not see life” (John 3:36).

2. The unbeliever is condemned already.

3. A few qualities of this sentence of condemnation passed against the unbelieving sinner.

Application:

1. See hence a very sufficient reason why ministers of the gospel do so much urge the necessity of faith.

2. See hence the miserable and mournful condition of the generality of gospel hearers; they are a company of condemned men, under sentence of death.

3. How ill-grounded the joy and triumph of a Christless, unbelieving sinner!

4. See hence how fitly the gospel is called a joyful sound (Psalms 89:15).

5. It is every man’s duty and interest to examine and try whether be be under this heavy sentence or not. (Pulpit Assistant.)

This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world

God’s condemnation of men

The first entrance of light produces two effects--it makes manifest and it separates. By this well-known result of the dawn we understand that when the Light that saves entered the world His appearance at the same time became the complete condemnation of men. But these words do not refer simply to the immediate effects of Christ’s advent. They contain a truth for all time.

I. THE PRINCIPLE OF DIVINE CONDEMNATION. On what ground does. God condemn humanity? It has been said that God deems men for evils which it was beyond their power to avoid; as saving some few, and sending the rest to perdition because he chooses to do so. Christ here affirms that God finally condemns men, not for being sinful, but for content to be sinful.

1. Contemplate sin as a power slumbering in human nature. It is there, even in the child. The most virtuously educated, when thrown suddenly into some unusual companionship, will show it. God cannot doom a man for sinful impulses which any temptation may draw forth.

2. Pass on to the rise of sin into conscious deeds. Has man power in himself to free himself from its slavery?

II. THE MANIFESTATION OF THIS PRINCIPLE IN THE COMING OF CHRIST. When the light came, every man who rejected Him proved his contentment in sin. Two things are requisite to prove this.

1. Man must be brought into a state in which he shall be able to choose deliberately between God and sin: and into this state the coming of Christ brings him. Through Christ the strongest and holiest powers--love, pity, sorrow act in man’s nature and appeal to him to enter the light and liberty of the sons of God.

2. Man must show his contentment in sin, and thus doom himself. The rejection of Christ is utter self-condemnation.

The cause of present and future condemnation

I. A FACT STATED. “Light is come in the world.”

1. The light of conscience which

2. The light of nature.

3. The light of Divine revelation.

4. The light of the Holy Spirit.

5. The light of reason.

II. MAN’S PERVERSENESS ILLUSTRATED. “Men loved darkness rather than light.” Darkness signifies ignorance and sin; light, knowledge, and purity. How strange the sinners infatuation.

1. Instead of paying attention to the inward monitor, he seeks its destruction.

2. Men walk about the temple of nature and admire its workmanship, but see no Supreme Being.

3. Men have the Word of God and treat it as a fable:

4. They resist to grieve the Holy Spirit.

5. They reject the great salvation.

III. THE REASON ASSIGNED FOR THIS MORAL OBLIQUITY. “Because their deeds were evil.”

1. Sin is not an accident of our lives.

2. Sin is the choice and love of our hearts.

IV. MAN’S CONSEQUENT CONDEMNATION.

1. Sinners are condemned in this life.

2. Sinners will be condemned in the life to come. (R. Sergeant.)

Love of darkness rather than light

When the Bastille was about to be destroyed a prisoner was brought out, who had long been lying in one of its gloomy cells. Instead of joyfully welcoming his liberty, he entreated that he might be taken back to his dungeon. It was so long since he had seen the light that his eye could not endure the light of the sun. Besides this, his friends were all dead, he had no home, and his limbs refused to move. His chief desire now was that he might die in the dark prison where so long he had been a captive. (W. Denton.)

Light come into the world

This is one of the most important announcements ever made in a sinful world, and to lost mankind.

I. LET US EXAMINE THE ASSERTION, that--“Light is come into the world.” It is a strong and beautiful metaphor, signifying knowledge--salvation--happiness.

1. It is revelation. It dawned on Adam, rose upon the patriarchs and prophets--but has arrived at noonday by Christ and His apostles.

2. What it reveals.

II. THE WORLD IS REPRESENTED AS IN A STATE OF DARKNESS. It may have natural light and intellectual light--but it is in moral darkness.

1. What this darkness is. Ignorant of God as the true God--ignorance of sin and guilt of sin.

2. This darkness I preferred. Sinners avoid the means of conviction--are afraid of the light-neglect the word, the house, and the service of God.

III. THE REASON WE DARKNESS IS PREFERRED.

1. The innate love of sin. It is their element--the delight.

2. They find ease in sin. No alarms--conscience lulled.

3. The few rays of light that do occasionally break in are unwelcome and painful. They excite suspicion and fear.

4. If the light were admitted it would require an abandonment of evil practices which are pleasant; hence darkness is preferred because it is more congenial with sin.

IV. THIS PREFERENCE OF DARKNESS IS THE OCCASION OF AN AWFUL CONDEMNATION.

1. God condemns all that refuse the light He has condescended to impart. He will send on such strong delusions, that they should believe a lie.

2. Christ condemns all that refuse His light.

3. Unbelievers will condemn themselves in retirement, on a sick bed, and in a dying hour.

4. All will condemn them at the judgment because they loved darkness, not for want of light, but because they hated it: preferred sin and darkness, not from force or necessity, but from the love of it.

Application:

1. Consider the awful state of sinners under the light of the gospel. Their greater light exposes to a greater condemnation. Not like heathens.

2. Their condemnation will be final--eternal.

3. The condemnation is now come, but not the execution of the sentence, therefore there is yet time for repentance.

4. The Redeemer waits to translate us out of darkness into His marvellous Hebrews 10:29). (The Evangelist.)

The test of condemnation--loving darkness rather than light

What is a test of this condemnation? Our Lord’s words are so very liberal that I would not have used them if He had not; I would have been afraid of the presbyteries. He does not place the test upon inadequate belief or doctrine, or even on deficient morality, but on deadness of aspiration. This is the condemnation, that men have loved darkness rather than the light. But that alone does not prove unfitness; our Lord’s liberality is not yet exhausted. There is another condition--the light must have come into the world. If you get up at midnight and enter your dark sitting-room the mirror that was wont to flash in the daytime will show no light. Why don’t you smash the mirror? It seems to love the darkness, and why? Because its light had not yet come. And there are hundreds in this city in precisely the same position. They are dark because no light has come to them. Suppose I ask you if you have the spirit of a poet, and you say, “Oh no, I haven’t; I never wrote a line of poetry in my life. I once tried and failed miserably. I have no idea of metre or scansion.” But I take you to the top of a mountain when the light is coming, when the morning is dawning and nature is about to drench the dark world in a liquid bath of gold; and I watch the gleam of enthusiasm brighten over your countenance as from your heart rise the words, “Oh, it is beautiful!” Then, my brother, I know you are a poet, though Tennyson be ignorant of you and Wordsworth acknowledge you not. So if you want to know if you are within the pale of Christianity stand on the mountain when Jesus passes by, and should you feel one fond desire, one punting aspiration which makes you cry, O to be like Thee, to be near Thee I then, though your Thirty-Nine Articles be reduced to ten, though your morality lags faintly behind, by that thrill of aspiration in your heart you will know you have seen the Bright and Morning Star and that your light has come. How could it be possible for any man or woman to love darkness rather than light? The answer to that, too, is here, “Because their deeds are evil;” and this condition comes at the end of a long process. No man ever stretched his hands to Satan and prayed, “O Prince of the Power of the Air, I want to be bad, to break hearts, to bring tears to loving eyes, to cultivate malice and envy and all uncharitableness.” No, he began by evil deeds, and his beautiful aspirations continued to survive long after. I have heard the birds singing in October, and they seemed to say, It was once summer, it is summer no longer. It is a survival of old culture and the golden summer-time. Young man, listen to them, and go back. I knew a youth, brimming over with music, poetry, and aesthetic culture, but he returned, all his high aspirations gone through a life of intemperance and debauchery. Sin had taken away the aesthetic glow and his power of admiration. Is there any hope, then, for those who have got to this stage, who have put out their eyes? Yes, by retracing their steps over past deeds, never seeking to go into the past but keeping their hands from past sins in the future; and the beauty will come back in the way by which it went. In the words of the Israelitish Psalmist, the first joy comes back after a life of abstinence. The beauty of old days returns when in God’s law “he doth meditate day and night.” The 33rd of Isaiah is grander still, telling us we must begin by the life of self-denial if we would see the glory of the Lord. By traversing the narrow defiles of duty, the morning at last shines. A few more strokes of the oar, a little more straining of the muscles, a few more struggles against the angry foe, and, courage! you will see the land at last. (G. Matheson, D. D.)

Ignorance may be wilful

There is a sort of ignorance, which is not an ignorance of an empty understanding, but of a depraved heart; such an ignorance as does not only consist in a bare privation, but in a corrupt disposition; where the understanding is like that sort of blind serpents, whose blindness is attended with much venom and malignity. This was such a blindness as struck the Sodomites: there was darkness in their eyes, and withal villany in their hearts. (Dr. South.)

Refusing the physician

Two gentlemen were fellow-passengers in a vessel bound for a distant port. One was in vigorous health, and the other emaciated with disease, and manifesting premonitory symptoms of a speedy dissolution. He was young and intelligent, but had not made what he knew to be the necessary preparation for the event which was rapidly approaching. His fellow-passenger, as they were drawing near the port whither they were bound, advised him to consult an eminent physician who resided there. “No,” he replied, “I shall not consult him.” He was asked, “Why?” To which he answered, “It is not because I do not entertain the highest opinion of his skill, but he will honestly tell me that my disease is incurable, that I must die; and I do not wish to receive the announcement from such a source.” It is just so with the multitudes who know that they must die, and that they are totally unprepared for the event. They are afraid to consult the great Physician, lest they should be told the worst of their own case. In opposition to their better judgment, they endeavour to hide from their eyes the doom which awaits them. Their deception is voluntary; it is of their own choosing. They wish it to be so, and therefore do they avoid the means of detecting and exposing it.

It is madness to refuse Christ

Suppose I was going over London Bridge, and saw a poor miserable beggar, bare-footed, coatless, hatless, with no rags hardly to cover his nakedness, and right behind him, only a few yards, there was the Prince of Wales with a bag of gold, and the poor beggar was running away from him as if he was running away from a demon, and the Prince of Wales was hallooing after him, “Oh, beggar, here is a bag of gold!” Why, we should say the beggar had gone mad, to be running away from the Prince of Wales with the bag of gold. Sinner, that is your condition. The Prince of Heaven wants to give you eternal life, and you are running away from Him. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” (D. L. Moody.)

Light and liberty

Going to Helena I saw piles of boxes and goods and all manner of things on the landing, and I said to the superintendent, “Do the slaves buy as much as used to be bought for them by their masters?” “A great deal more.” “Well, what things do they buy?” “Buy? Looking-glasses and candles.” “Looking-glasses, of course: candles, however?” said I. “What do they want with candles?” In the old slave-times a slave was never allowed to have a lighted candle in his cabin after it was dark; nothing, unless it was a fire, was allowed, and the candles became in their eyes the signal of liberty; and the moment that they were free they said, “Give us light.” (H. W. Beecher.)

Two great wonders

There are two wonders, one from above, the other from the depths of Satan: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son”--and the world so loved darkness that it rejected the only-begotten Son of God who was given for it. (R. Besser, D. D.)

The action of light

The world of darkness is a world of false terrors and confused appearances. In the night, old and familiar objects fake new forms; common things seem to stand out like strange dangers in our way; well-known things are changed; and we cannot distinguish shadows from realities, or the dangerous from the secure. But the first morning beam that pierces the dark world restores the confusion to order; the shadowy perils fly, and the strange night-world disappears. That first beam manifests things in their reality, and by making manifest it separates the false from the true. (E. L. Hull, B. A.)

The blessedness of light

Imagine a traveller passing through a wild and unfrequented country. He misses his road. Night overtakes him. The storm rages; winds howl around him; the rain descends in torrents; thunders break in loud and terrific peals; whilst lightning fires occasionally discover dangerous precipices, rendering his condition imminently perilous. At length a faint but steady light comes gleaming from a distance; he follows the light, he treads the bright pathway, it leads to a human habitation--to shelter, warmth, and security. Sinner, you are that traveller. Human life is a wilderness. You are in the night of sin; wandering on the dark mountains of transgression; in imminent danger. The next step you may be irrevocably lost. But light has come into the world. Oh follow it! It will lead you to peace, security, and heaven. (R. Sergeant.)

The wilful folly of rejecting the light

None of us can prevent the sun from shining, but all of us can prevent the sun from shining on us. The great orb of day still floods the earth with undimmed lustre; but we can shut ourselves away from his beams, in caves and holes of the earth. So we may shut ourselves away from that Sun of the soul who lighteth every man that cometh into the world. We cannot make God less loving, less merciful, less gracious than He is; but we can stand apart from that love, that mercy, that grace. “Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated--are separating--between you and your God, and your sins have hidHis face from you, that he will not hear.” Would you have the Sun shine on you? Tear down the wall and roof of separation which you have built between you and him. (H. C. Trumbull, D. D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 3:18". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/john-3.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The change of tense in this verse, regarding the believer who is not judged, and the unbeliever who hath been judged already, is very significant. The believer is not judged, because he is "in Christ," totally identified with Christ and as Christ, being therefore not subject to judgment, but being "perfect in Christ" (Colossians 1:28). On the other hand, the unbeliever is under the uttermost condemnation, not merely from the fact of all people being lost apart from Christ, but from the additional reason of his having rejected the only means of grace and salvation.

Only begotten ... from the aspect of the Father expresses the unique relationship between the Father and the Son; and from the human viewpoint, this pinpoints the singleness of mortal hope in the fact that there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He that believeth on him is not condemned,.... Whether Jew or Gentile, because a believer is openly in Christ; and there is no condemnation to those that are in him: and though the sentence of death passed upon all in Adam, and judgment came upon all men to condemnation in him; yet this sentence being executed on Christ, the surety of his people, who has been condemned to death, and has suffered it in their stead, his death is a security to them from all condemnation: and they are delivered by him from the curse and condemnation of the law: and having in conversion openly passed from death to life, they shall never enter into condemnation; and this is the happy case of every one that believes in Christ:

but he that believeth not is condemned already. The Persic version renders it, "from the beginning"; he remains under the sentence of condemnation passed in Adam upon him; the law accuses him, and pronounces him guilty before God; he is under the curse of it, and it is a ministration of condemnation and death to him; nor has he any thing to secure him from its charge, curse, and condemnation: this must be understood of one that is a final unbeliever, or that lives, and dies, in a state of impenitence, and unbelief:

because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God; whom God has sent to be the Saviour of lost sinners, and to deliver them from wrath to come; and there is no other name but his, whereby men can be saved; so that such that do not believe in him, must be damned.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 3:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-3.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

is not condemned — Having, immediately on his believing, “passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

condemned already — Rejecting the one way of deliverance from that “condemnation” which God gave His Son to remove, and so willfully remaining condemned.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-3.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

He that believeth on him is not condemned. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Faith in Christ is essential to salvation, because it is the power that leads to obedience to him.

Is condemned already. "He that believeth not shall be damned." The unbeliever condemns himself. He is lost and refuses to be saved by Christ.

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Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 3:18". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-3.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Is not judged (ου κρινεταιou krinetai). Present passive indicative. Trust in Christ prevents condemnation, for he takes our place and pays the penalty for sin for all who put their case in his hands (Romans 8:32.). The believer in Christ as Saviour does not come into judgment (John 5:24).

Hath been judged already (ηδη κεκριταιēdē kekritai). Perfect passive indicative of κρινωkrinō Judgment has already been passed on the one who refuses to believe in Christ as the Saviour sent by the Father, the man who is not willing to come to Christ for life (John 5:40).

Because he hath not believed
(οτι μη πεπιστευκενhoti mē pepisteuken). Perfect active indicative of πιστευωpisteuō has taken a permanent attitude of refusal. Here οτι μηhoti mē states the reason subjectively as the judgment of the Judge in any such case (ο μη πιστευωνho mē pisteuōn already mentioned) while in 1 John 5:10 οτι ου πεπιστευκενhoti ou pepisteuken gives the reason objectively (ουou instead of μηmē) conceived as an actual case and no longer hypothetical. See John 1:12 for εις το ονομαeis to onoma with πιστευωpisteuō (believing on the name) and John 1:14 for μονογενουςmonogenous (only begotten) and also John 3:16.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Is condemned already ( ἤδη κέκριται )

Rev., more correctly, hath been judged already. Unbelief, in separating from Christ, implies judgment. He has been judged in virtue of his unbelief.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

He that believeth on him is not condemned — Is acquitted, is justified before God.

The name of the only-begotten Son of God — The name of a person is often put for the person himself. But perhaps it is farther intimated in that expression, that the person spoken of is great and magnificent. And therefore it is generally used to express either God the Father or the Son.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 3:18". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-3.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

He that believeth on him is not judged1: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God2.

  1. He that believeth on him is not judged. The name Jesus means "Savior"; to disbelieve this name is to reject Christ as Savior. The verses at John 3:14,15 require belief in Jesus as the Son of man. This verse requires belief in him as the Son of God. Belief in this dual nature of Jesus is essential to salvation.

  2. He that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. Unbelief is the world's crowning sin; and belief is, humanly speaking, the source of its justification. This verse teaches that God's judgments are in a state of perpetually present enactment. The believer is saved now (Acts 13:39), and the unbeliever rests already under that condemnation which he fears the Son of God may some day pronounce against him.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 3:18". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-3.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Верующий в него не судится. Христос весьма настойчиво внушает мысль, что никому из верующих не грозит опасность смерти. И отсюда можно сделать вывод о том, сколь необходимы уверенность и постоянство в деле упования, дабы совесть не трепетала и не томилась в постоянном страхе. Христос еще раз возвещает: если мы уверовали, нам уже нет никакого осуждения, о чем подробнее скажет также в пятой главе. Настоящее время употребляется здесь вместо будущего, по обыкновению еврейского языка. Ибо Христос хочет, чтобы все верующие были свободны от страха перед осуждением. А следующая часть предложения про неверующего говорит, что для людей нет иного средства избежать смерти. Смысл таков: всем, отвергающим дарованную во Христе жизнь, не остается ничего, кроме смерти, поелику жизнь находится в одной лишь вере. Христос весьма εμφατικως употребляет глагол в прошедшем времени, этим Он показывает, что участь неверующих предрешена. Следует отметить, что Христос особо говорит о тех, чье нечестие открыто явило себя в отвержении Евангелия. Верно, что люди избегают смерти не иначе, как прибегая ко Христу. Но, поскольку Христос рассуждает здесь о всемирной проповеди Евангелия, Он имеет в виду прежде всего тех, кто злостно и осознанно угашает зажженный Богом свет.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-3.html. 1840-57.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Ver. 18. "He that believeth on him is not judged; but he that believeth not is judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only- begotten Son of God."

The idea of this verse is as follows: "I do not judge any one, for the reason that he who believes is not judged, and he who does not believe has already judged himself." As has been well said: "Here is justification by faith, and condemnation by unbelief." Jesus does not judge the believer, because he who accepts the salvation which He brings is no longer a subject of judgment. Meyer, Hengstenberg, etc., and our translators [A. V.] render the word κρίνειν here also by condemn. Weiss, Keil, Westcott acknowledge that this sense is arbitrary.

The passage in John 5:24 shows that it is contrary to the true thought of Jesus. To judge is, after a detailed investigation of the acts, to pronounce on their author a judicial sentence deciding as to his innocence or his guilt. Now the Lord declares that the believer, being already introduced into eternal life, will not be subjected to an investigation of this kind. He will appear before the tribunal, indeed, according to Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10, but to be recognized as saved and to receive his place in the kingdom (Matthew 25). If faith withdraws man from the judgment, there is in this nothing arbitrary. This follows precisely from the fact that, through the interior judgment of repentance which precedes and follows faith, the believer is introduced into the sphere of Christian sanctification which is a continual judgment of oneself, and consequently the free anticipation of the judgment (1 Corinthians 11:31).

The present οὐ κρίνεται, is not judged, is that of the idea. Jesus does not judge the unbeliever, because he who refuses to believe finds his judgment in this very refusal. The word ἤδη, already, and the substitution of the perfect ( κέκριται) for the present ( κρίνεται) show clearly that Jesus is thinking here of a judgment of a spiritual nature, which is exercised here below on him who rejects the salvation offered in Christ. Such a man has pronounced on himself, by his unbelief, and without any need on the part of Jesus of intervening judicially, his own sentence. It is self-evident that this sentence is a sentence of condemnation. But the word does not say this. The meaning is: The one is not to be judged; the other is judged already; consequently, the Son does not have to intervene personally in order to judge.

The use here of the subjective negative (the first μή) belongs, according to Baumlein, to the decline of the language. According to Meyer, this form has, on the contrary, its regular sense: in not believing," or "because he does not believe." The title of only-begotten Son sets forth the guilt of those who reject such a being and the work which He accomplishes. The more glorious the Saviour is, the more grave a matter it is to turn away from Him. The more holy He is, divine in His entire manifestation, the more does unbelief towards Him bear witness of a profane sentiment. His name: the revelation which He gives us of His essence (see John 1:12). The perfect μὴ πεπίστευκεν, has not believed, denotes not the act of not believing, but thestate which results from it. "Because he is not in the favorable position of a man who has given his confidence to such a being." The μή is used here as among the later Greeks (e.g., Lucian) to denote the cause in the thought of the speaker. The moral separation between men, described in John 3:18, constitutes the judgment in its essence; this is the idea developed in John 3:19-21. By the position which men take with regard to Jesus, they class themselves as reproved (John 3:19-20) or saved (John 3:21). Thus far, Jesus has proved that He does not judge, but He does this by contrasting with the outward judgment, which was expected, a moral judgment of which no one dreamed. This judgment it is which He now explains.

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-3.html.

Scofield's Reference Notes

He that

See, John 6:40; John 6:47; Romans 8:1

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on John 3:18". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/john-3.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Ver. 18. Is condemned already] The sentence is passed, the halter about his neck; there wants no more than to turn him off the ladder of life, and he is gone for ever. In the meanwhile he hangs but by one rotten twined thread over hell fire.

Because he hath not believed] He saith not, because he hath committed adultery, murder. There is no righteousness now but of faith; no sin (saith one) but from unbelief; for thy sins against the law are not imputed unto thee, if thou do but believe the gospel. It is unbelief that shuts a man up close prisoner in the law’s dark dungeon, whence faith only can fetch us out, συγκεκλεισμενοι, Galatians 3:23.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 3:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-3.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 3:18

In this text unbelief in Christ is represented as a positive crime—a crime with which, in point of enormity, no other form of human sinfulness can be compared—a crime which not only fastens upon its subject the guilt, and binds him over to the penalty of all his other sins, but which is itself the fullest and most striking development of enmity against God and opposition to His government which can possibly be presented.

I. Note the new circumstances and position in which the Gospel of Christ places every one of its subjects. We are here upon trial for an eternal world. Pardon is offered to us as a free gift from Him who has magnified the law and made it honourable; and everything now turns upon simple faith in Jesus Christ, upon an accordance with God's plan of forgiveness, a cordial acquiescence in the principles upon which that forgiveness is offered. Now the language addressed to us is not "He that doeth these things shall live by them," but "He that believeth shall be saved."

II. It goes not a little way to aggravate the guilt of the unbeliever, that God has been pleased in His Gospel not only to state the plan through which He forgives sin, but to show also the indispensable necessity of that plan as growing out of His justice as God, and His uprightness as a moral governor. He tells us in language too plain to be misunderstood, that He can save us in no other way than through faith in His Son. The a sacrifice of Jesus Christ was a method of infinite wisdom to pay tribute of justice, while it threw the mantle of mercy over the lost.

III. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, which unbelief rejects, is the highest expression which God could give us of His grace. Unbelief stands by itself, perfectly isolated in the features of enormity which mark it as least of all sins allowing of an apology or admitting of defence. It is not a sin of ignorance, for every man under the light of truth knows it to be wrong. The convictions of his own spirit—clear, numerous, and irrepressible—often testify against him as one who sins against light and knowledge.

E. Mason, A Pastor's Legacy, p. 80.


References: John 3:18.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vii., Nos. 361, 362; Ibid., vol. xvi., No. 964.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/john-3.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 3:18. He that believeth on him is not condemned: From the gracious design of God towards the world, mentioned in the preceding verses, our Lord concludes, that they who believe on the Son of God are not condemned; whereas they who do not believe, are condemned already for that sin; and justly, because their unbelief is owing to their own wickedness, and not to any defect in the evidences of his divine mission, which, through grace are sufficiently full to work conviction in every unprejudiced mind. The condemnation mentioned here, and strongly implied in John 3:15 is thought by Dr. Doddridge and many others to refer to that natural state of condemnationwherein fallen man stands. "And till men enter deeply into this important truth," says the learned expositor just mentioned, the "Gospel may indeed be their amusement, but I see not how it is likely to be their joy or their cure." We may just observe, upon the expression in the name of the only-begotten, &c. that though the name of a person be frequently put for the person himself, yet it seems further intimated in that expression, that the person spoken of is great and magnificent, and therefore it is generally used to express either God the Father, or God the Son, even our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 3:18". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-3.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

18.] On πιστ. εἰς αὐτ. (which is John’s usual phrase) the remarks above on John 3:15 apply with little distinction; εἰς giving more the direction of the belief towards, and its resting upon, ἐν its abiding in, Jesus as the Saviour.

οὐ κρίνεται] See ch. John 5:24, where the same assertion is made more fully; and note there.

ἤδη κέκριται, implying,—by no positive act of judgment of mine,—but by the very nature of things themselves. God has provided a remedy for the deadly bite of sin; this remedy the man has not accepted, not taken: he must then perish in his sins: he is already judged and sentenced.

μὴ πεπίστευκεν] The perfect implies more than ‘that faith is a definite act in time’ (Lücke, De Wette); it sets before us the deliberate choice of the man, q. d. ‘he hath not chosen to believe’ (Lange, in Stier, iv. 93, edn. 2): see 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.

εἰς τὸ ὄν., not without meaning: that name was ἰησοῦς, αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν, Matthew 1:21.

The μονογενοῦς also here sets before us the hopelessness of such a man’s state: he has no other Saviour.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 3:18". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-3.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

John 3:18. More exact explanation of the negative part of John 3:17. Mankind are either believing, and are thus delivered from condemnation (comp. John 5:24), because if the Messiah had come to judge the world, He would only have had to condemn sin; but sin is forgiven to the believer, and he already has everlasting ζωή;—or they are unbelieving, so that condemnation has already been passed upon them in idea (as an internal fact),(165) because they reject the Only-begotten of God, and there is no need of a special act of judgment to be passed on them on the part of the Messiah; their own unbelief has already passed upon them the sentence of condemnation. “He who does not believe, already has hell on his neck,” Luther; he is αὐτοκατάκριτος, Titus 3:11. John 3:18 does not speak of the last judgment which shall be the solemn and ultimate completion of this temporal judgment,(166) but it does not call it in question, in opposition to the Jewish Messianic belief (Hilgenfeld). See on John 5:28-30, John 12:31. Well says Euthymius Zigabenus: ἀπιστία κατέκρινε πρὸ τῆς κατακρίσεως. Comp. John 3:36.

πεπίστευκεν] has become a believer (and remains so); the subjective negation in the causal clause (contrary to the older classical usage), as often in Lucian, etc., denoting the relation as one presupposed in the view of the speaker. See Herm. ad Viger. p. 806; Winer, p. 442 [E. T. p. 602]. Otherwise in 1 John 5:10.

τοῦ μονογ. υἱοῦ τ. θεοῦ] very impressively throwing light upon the ἤδη κέκριται, because bringing clearly into view the greatness of the guilt.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 3:18". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-3.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 3:18. κέκριται, is judged [condemned]) This word is employed κατʼ ἄνθρωπον, in condescension to human notions. He who does not believe, already has that [judgment, condemnation], which he falsely supposes the Son of God brings upon [into] the world.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 3:18". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Whose firmly and steadily assenting to the propositions of the gospel, revealing Jesus Christ as the only and all sufficient Saviour, commits the care of his soul unto him trusting and hoping in him alone for eternal salvation, which no man can indeed do without doing what in him lieth to fulfil the condition upon which Christ hath promised life and salvation, that is, keeping the commandments of God, is exempted from condemnation by the law of grace. But he that believes not the doctrine of Christ, and does not upon the terms of the gospel receive him for his Saviour, is already condemned for his obstinate infidelity, which is the certain cause of damnation: as we say of one mortally wounded, that he is a dead man, though he breathes for a while; and we speak in the same manner of a malefactor, convicted and attainted of a capital crime, though the sentence be not executed; because their death is inevitable. The not believing in the only Son of God, who is able to save to the utmost all that regularly trust in him, is such a contempt of the merciful, all sufficient, and sole means of salvation, that it is absolutely necessary, and most just, that all those who refuse to be saved by him, should perish by themselves. From this scripture arise two questions: the first concerning the heathens, who never heard of Christ. The second concerning infants, who die before they come to years of knowledge. As to the former, the apostle hath determined, Romans 2:12, As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law. There is the same reason for those who sin without the gospel; they shall not perish for not believing on him of whom they have not heard, Romans 10:14, but for not obeying such revelation of the Divine will as they had. The case of infants is excluded from this text (speaking only of adult persons). It is certain, that so many of them as belong to the election of grace shall he saved, and that by virtue of the blood of Christ; but which way God brings them to heaven is a secret to us. Some from this text have concluded, that unbelief is the only damning sin; which is no further true, than that no sin will damn that soul which shall truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 3:18". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-3.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

уверовал во имя Это выражение означает больше, чем простое интеллектуальное согласие с требованиями Евангелия. Оно включает доверие и приверженность Христу как Господу и Спасителю, в результате чего человек получает новую природу (ст. 7), которая производит изменение сердца и послушание Господу (см. пояснения к 2:23-25).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 3:18". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-3.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Not condemned; Romans 8:1.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘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’.

He stresses that it is not God Who condemns men, rather they condemn themselves. When they see God’s supreme Word, Jesus, revealing His glory and the glory of God, their very refusal to acknowledge Him condemns them. They are showing what they really are. For had their hearts been open and true they would immediately have believed in Him and received Him gladly. And their sin is made worse by the fact that that they are rejecting ‘the only Son of God’. This is then emphasised in another way.

‘He who believes in Him is not condemned’. What an incredible truth. For the one whose full trust is in Jesus Christ there can be no condemnation (Romans 5:1), for, because the Eternal Judge is also their Saviour, He makes intercession for them and points to His death on the cross on their behalf as proof that their sin has been atoned for. There is thus no one to lay a charge against one of God’s chosen ones (Romans 8:33-34). But note that it is axiomatic that such a person turns from evil (John 3:19-21).

‘He who does not believe is condemned already.’ This is the opposite side of the picture. What greater condemnation could there be than the rejection of God’s offer of mercy. For their rejection of Him demonstrates the hardness of their hearts and their utter sinfulness.

‘Because he has not believed in the only begotten Son of God.’ This in the end is why the condemnation is so great. It is not just anyone they are rejecting but the only true Son of God. It is almost incredible. The creature rejecting its Creator! Once again monogenes means someone of the same nature.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-3.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

18.Believeth on him—This belief must not be a half belief, intellectually, from miracles, such as Nicodemus had. In addition there must be, with faith in his atonement, that efficient act of faith by which the man is born again, before he can see the kingdom of God.

Not believed’ Son of GodChrist’s coming was the act of God; it was an act of the most stupendous character. It obligates man to God to a most intense attention. If, however, whole bodies of men, whole communities or whole nations, combine to neglect, to ignore, and then to deny it, keeping each other in countenance by the universality of that denial, they stand condemned. If God sent his Son into the world duly authenticated, man’s duty is to respect and accept that coming.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-3.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The person who believes in Jesus escapes condemnation (cf. John 5:24; Romans 8:1). However the person who does not believe in Jesus stands condemned already with no way of escape (cf. John 3:36). The reason for his or her condemnation then becomes his or her failure to believe on the One whom God lovingly and graciously has provided for salvation. Faith is the instrumental means by which we obtain salvation. Failure to exercise faith in Jesus will result in spiritual death just as failure to believe in the brazen serpent resulted in physical death for the Israelites ( Numbers 21:4-9). The difference between belief and unbelief is clear from here on in this Gospel. [Note: See Michael A. Rydelnik, "The Jewish People and Salvation," Bibliotheca Sacra165:660 (October-December2008):447-62, for defense of the particularist view that Jewish people who do not believe in Jesus are lost.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-3.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 3:18. He that believeth in him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. The two preceding verses express the Divine purpose in itself, and that purpose passing into accomplishment; this verse speaks of the actual result. Two of the terms of these verses, the believing in Jesus of John 3:16 and the judging of John 3:17, are here brought together. He that abides in faith in Christ abides in a state to which judging belongs not; whilst the faith remains, the idea of judgment is excluded, for the believer is one with the Lord in whom he has placed his trust. Not so with the unbeliever; on him the sentence of judgment is already pronounced. As long as the unbelief is persisted in, so long does the sentence which the rejection of Jesus brings with it remain in force against him. The great idea of the Gospel, the division of all men into two classes severed from each other, is very clearly presented here; but no unchangeable division is thought of. The separation is the result of deliberate choice; and whilst the choice is adhered to, the severance abides. As the faith of the believer is faith ‘in Him,’ faith that brings personal union, the unbelief is the rejection of His Person revealed in all its dignity, the only begotten Son of God.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-3.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 3:18. . Expansion of previous verse. God sent His Son not to judge but to save; and whoso accepts the son and His revelation is not judged. It is no longer “every Jew,” nor “every one chosen by God,” but every one that believeth. All here is spiritual. Although judgment was not the object it is the necessary result of Christ’s presence in the world. But it is a judgment very different from that which the Jews expected. It is determined by the attitude towards Christ, and this again, as afterwards shown, is determined by the moral condition of the individual.— , “he that believeth not is already judged”: not only is left under the curse of his own evil actions; but, as the next clause shows, lies under the condemnation of not believing.— , he is already judged: it is not some future assize he doubtfully awaits and which may or may not convict. He is judged, and on a ground which to John seems to indicate monstrous depravity, . Not to perceive the glory of this august Being whom John so adored, not to receive the revelation made by the Only Begotten, is proof not merely of human infirmity and passion, but of wickedness chosen and preferred in presence of revealed goodness.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 3:18". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-3.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Is not judged. He that believeth, viz. by a faith working through charity, is not judged; that is, is not condemned; but the obstinate unbeliever is judged; that is, condemned already, by retrenching himself from the society of Christ and his Church. (Challoner)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 3:18". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the name: i.e. Him. See note on Psalms 20:1.

Son of God. See App-98.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 3:18". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

He that believeth on him is not condemned, [ ou (Greek #3756) krinetai (Greek #2919)] - literally, 'is not being judged,' or 'is not coming into judgment.' The meaning is, as the apostle expresses it, that "there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). Compare John 5:24, "He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is (or hath) passed from death unto life."

But he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Rejecting the one way of deliverance from that condemnation which God gave His Son to remove, they thus willfully remain condemned.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-3.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

18. Whoever believes in the Son. Belief includes reaching out to seize the sacrifice of Christ. See note on James 2:19. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). Whoever does not believe. He is already lost, and refuses to be saved by Christ. The unbeliever condemns himself. “Whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 3:18". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/john-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(18) He that believeth on him is not condemned.—Again, judged is better than “condemned.” There is, moreover, an important change of tense in this verse, which the Authorised version does not mark clearly. He that believeth on Him, is not judged: but he that believeth not hath been (and is) already judged.

Because he hath not believed.—The human spirit fulfils the end of its being, and finds its highest good, in communion with God. It cannot, then, fail to recognise and believe in a revelation of God. This revelation has been made in the only way in which it can be fully made (comp. John 1:18), in the person of the only begotten Son. The very fact that He is rejected is the judgment of the spirit which rejects. It has lost by neglect its power to perceive, or by will it hides itself from God. “I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
is not
36; 5:24; 6:40,47; 20:31; Romans 5:1; 8:1,34; 1 John 5:12
he that believeth not
Mark 16:16; Hebrews 2:3; 12:25; 1 John 5:10
Reciprocal: Proverbs 1:7 - but;  Proverbs 15:12 - scorner;  Zephaniah 3:2 - correction;  Matthew 21:25 - Why;  Luke 19:44 - because;  John 1:12 - even;  John 1:14 - the only;  John 5:38 - for;  John 8:24 - for;  John 15:22 - they;  John 16:9 - GeneralActs 3:23 - that every;  Romans 2:8 - but obey;  Titus 3:11 - being;  Hebrews 3:19 - GeneralHebrews 11:6 - without;  1 John 4:9 - only;  1 John 5:13 - believe;  Revelation 2:18 - the Son;  Revelation 20:15 - whosoever;  Revelation 22:15 - whosoever

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 3:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-3.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 18. "He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God."

As Nicodemus has been allured to belief in what precedes, he is now pointed to the mournful consequences of unbelief, in order that he may be filled with horror of such a grievous sin.—"He is condemned already," in the very act of unbelief, which excludes him from the only source of life and salvation, and causes the wrath of God to abide upon him, John 3:36. This, of course, does not exclude the entrance of an external manifestation of the judgment at a determined epoch. Matthew 25:31 sq.; nor that the judgment in this and the future world brings with it different stages of punishment, Revelation 20:15. Anton: "Here the man murmurs, and says: I thought, indeed, there would again be a judgment and condemnation. But to show that it is not necessary, and how wrong he is in this, Christ here adds an ὅτι—because he does not believe, not because he is a sinner, but because he will remain a sinner and will not believe.

God has laboured to bring him to πιστεύειν, to faith; but because he will remain in unbelief, he is condemned.

This, then, is the chief sin, that man does not believe. On this account he is lost; not because he has sinned as other men, but because he keeps his sins, and will not by faith renounce them." With respect to faith in the Name, cf. on John 1:12.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 3:18". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-3.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

18.He who believeth in him is not condemned. When he so frequently and so earnestly repeats, that all believers are beyond danger of death, we may infer from it the great necessity of firm and assured confidence, that the conscience may not be kept perpetually in a state of trembling and alarm. He again declares that, when we havebelieved, there is no remaining condemnation, which he will afterwards explain more fully in the Fifth Chapter. The present tense — is not condemned is here used instead of the future tense — shall not be condemned according to the custom of the Hebrew language; for he means that believers are safe from the fear of condemnation.

But he who believeth not is condemned already This means that there is no other remedy by which any human being can escape death; or, in other words, that for all who reject the life given to them in Christ, there remains nothing but death, since life consists in nothing else than in faith. The past tense of the verb,is condemned already, ( ἤδη κέκριται,) was used by him emphatically, ( ἐμφατικῶς,) to express more strongly that all unbelievers are utterly ruined. But it ought to be observed that Christ speaks especially of those whose wickedness shall be displayed in open contempt of the Gospel. For though it is true that there never was any other remedy for escaping death than that men should betake themselves to Christ, yet as Christ here speaks of the preaching of the Gospel, which was to be spread throughout the whole world, he directs his discourse against those who deliberately and maliciously extinguish the light which God had kindled.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 3:18". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-3.html. 1840-57.