~~ Notes: by tkbrown ~~
Source: Holy Bible (NKJV)
John 3:16 — “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.“
John 3:17 — “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him [His Son] might be saved.“
John 3:18 — “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.“
The first of these three verses is probably the most “quoted” scripture in the entire Bible. It is, also, probably the most misrepresented scripture in most of the Bible. The reason being, it is typically quoted out of context, instead of continuing with the next two verses that explain John 3:16 more thoroughly. Those two verses, John 3:17 and 18, are typically ignored.
I would ask that you look at the three verses together, rather than taking John 3:16 out of context. When we read them as a unit (paragraph, if you will), we see that He is telling us: the result of Jesus coming into the world to save the world is an individual choice. Either we believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, or we do not believe. Either we believe God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins — or we do not believe.
He takes this explanation one step further by presenting a metaphor. When we read between the lines, He tells us that He will deal with each individual as a parent would deal with each of his/her children individually. A parent would not punish all of her/his children for the guilt of one — would he/she?
God explains that He did not send Jesus Christ, his Son, to condemn the world, “but that the world through Him might be saved.” In verse 18, He explains that he/she who believes in Jesus Christ as God’s Son 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.”
So, when all three verses are read, and discussed, together — we see that each individual human being decides her/his own fate. Either he/she believes in the name of Jesus Christ as the Son of God — and we are then saved — because we will follow His commandments. Or, we do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and we are condemned already — because we do not believe, we have condemned ourselves.
It is as a parent disciplines her/his child(ren). The child who ‘took the candy’ condemned him/her-self by the taking of the candy. No one else forced her/his hand. He/she made that choice totally apart from the other child(ren). Those who were not involved in the taking of the candy, should not be punished for the sins of the one who did. That is how God deals with people in the world. It is a program of attraction or repulsion. Either the individual man/woman is believing in Christ Jesus and doing that which is right — and will, therefore, be saved by God. Or, she/he does not believe (a personal choice) — and has, therefore, condemned him/her-self to eternal damnation.
Which do you choose? Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God — sent to the earth by God to save those who believe? Or, do you believe Jesus Christ was just a man or a prophet — who died like everyone else, and was not raised on the third day? If you believe the latter, you have already condemned yourself. God is not the one who condemns the non-believer – the non-believer condemns her/him-self.