I have to recite this from the KJV because it was so burnt into my memory that I have a deep love for the phrasing of this verse in that translation. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus is pointing out to Nicky that He is the true and not created Son of God and if you look upon His work on the cross and believe that His death gives you life and forgiveness, then you will have it.
Again it’s important that we keep the symbolization of the serpent, sin, and forgiveness I mentioned in the last post in mind here. This section is teaching us that Christ’s death on the cross is what brings cleansing, forgiveness, eternal life and allows us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now we move on to verses 17and 18. Keep the reference point in mind that God is telling us how He loves the world. Today we live in a world where it is considered offensive to say that if you don’t believe in Jesus you will go to hell. The misunderstanding people have is that Jesus is here to condemn them. When you say something about Jesus they think you are condemning them and judging them. That is not what Jesus did on the cross. I have heard so many fundamentalist preachers teach a graceless gospel where everybody but them are going to Hell. That is not what Jesus taught.
Jesus never condemned a sinner. Think about this for a moment. Jesus asked the woman caught in adultery , “Has no one condemned you?” In Matthew 9:2 Jesus does not condemn the paralytic but tells him his sins are forgiven. As Jesus eats with sinners at Matthews house He says He is there to heal them of their sin(Matthew 9:12-13). The Samaritan woman in John 4, Jesus does not condemn. Jesus did not condemn any sinners in the bible. That is what the church wrongfully does.
Let’s look at who He did condemn . Who did Jesus look at and say, you are going to burn in Hell? Look at Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Or 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
Jesus only condemned those who think they are righteous. Jesus does not condemn sinners, He came to save them. Now this isn’t to say that sinners are not condemned. Verse 18 tells us that if you do not believe in Jesus you are already condemned. We are under God’s curse. We do not need to be condemned, we already are. Jesus isn’t here to tell us we are going to Hell. He is here to show God’s love and grace and let us know that if we believe in Him we are saved.
Verses 19-21 just further states this by saying man is evil and because we are ashamed of our deeds we do not want to hear about Jesus. When we accept the cleansing and filling of Spirit we become a new creation with the heart of God and we can then step into the light. Then our lives show that what we have do we do through the Spirit of God.