"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. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men
loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds
were evil." John 3:18-19
"He that believeth on Him is not condemned...." To the one who turns to Christ in faith, condemnation has been lifted and they need have no more fear of death; but what is the state of those who turn away from Christ? "...he that believeth not is condemned already...." Apart from faith in Christ, condemnation is certain. The verb tense for condemned in this verse is very powerful. It carries with it the meaning of an action having taken place in the past and the effects of that action always being relevant in the present and carrying on into the future. All of us are born sinners because of the sins of one man and our own choice to sin (Romans 5:12). The choice to disbelieve in Christ does not mean that a person is at that moment condemned. Those without Christ are walking around in a continuous state of condemnation because of sin. The man who lives in the remotest corner of the globe and has never heard of Jesus is just as condemned to hell as the man who hears the gospel everyday. All sin must be punished. Christ is pointing out to us that we live in a pre-existing state of condemnation. Men without Christ fail to realize the seriousness of their soul's situation. At any moment their lives could be terminated and they could awake in the torments of hell fire. "...because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Faith in God's Sacrifice is the only way this pre-existing state of condemnation can be dealt with to the good of the sinner. The one who turns to Jesus need never worry about condemnation in hell because his choice to believe appropriates by grace the free gift of salvation that will never be taken away.
"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." Our own natural disgust for the things of God condemns us because it clearly shows the true bent of our sin nature. We love sin! Men are not naturally drawn to the truth of God's word; they are repelled. The light here is not just any light, it is THE LIGHT. It is the Light of Christ. Christ has come into the world and things will never be the same because of this glorious event and yet men loved darkness over The Light. The word for love here is agape. It is the strongest word for love in the Greek. Men don't like sin. They are not simply swayed toward it. They love it! The flesh is desperately wicked, and when dealing with someone concerning their salvation, sin must be thoroughly dealt with. People must be admonished about the fact that God hates their sin, but they love it. A gospel tract that does not thoroughly deal with sin and repentance is not worth handing out.
Belief in Christ, the Son of God is the only way to escape this pre-existing state of condemnation which has come upon us because of sin. The sinner is hanging by a thread over hell and is kept back from its flames by nothing but God's grace. Let us be diligent to give the truth to lost sinners, so that they might escape this condemnation through humble faith in the only begotten Son of God.