John 3: Rejection Not Ignorance

When a person wants to give the world the message that God is for people not against them, they often go to John 3:16-17 to make the point.  That is why this passage is so popular.

This, you see, is how much God loved the world: enough to give his only, special son, so that everyone who believes in him should not be lost but should share in the life of God’s new age.  After all, God didn’t send the son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world could be saved by him. (3:16-17)

Nevertheless, twice this passage is also very clear that what one chooses to do with Jesus is a life or death decision.

Anyone who believes in him is not condemned.  But anyone who doesn’t believe is condemned already, because they didn’t believe in the name of God’s only, special son. (3:18)

Anyone who believes in the son shares in the life of God’s new age.  Anyone who doesn’t believe in the son won’t see life, but God’s wrath rests on him. (3:36)

I was struck, though, by the emphasis that was placed on the fact that condemnation comes to those who actively reject Jesus.

And this is the condemnation: that light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light, because what they were doing was evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the light; people like that don’t come to the light, in case their deeds get shown up and reproved. (3:19-20)

Jesus is presented to these people in a clear fashion, they are presented with a choice to follow him or not, and they choose not to, often because an undesirable lifestyle will be necessary.  However, rejection is simply not the same as ignorance.  We are not talking about people who do not know who Jesus truly is.  That is a different matter entirely.

What caught your eye today?

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Categories: John | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “John 3: Rejection Not Ignorance

  1. Melanie

    I had not made a distinction between rejection and ignorance, but it’s clear that they aren’t the same. The Message says, “Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”

    I love the light and dark illustrations.

  2. Pat

    I was struck by this statement from the Message: “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” From John 3, paragraph16-18.

    I still remember the emotions (relief, gratitude, praise, love, amazement) I felt when I first read the Good News translation of 2 Corinthians 5:18. “All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends. . . .” and verse 19 “Our message is that God was making all human beings his friends through Christ. . . .”

    Until this reading of John 3, I had not really seen the connection between these passages. How much God loves us! How can I ever praise His graciousness enough!

  3. It doesn’t matter the translation, I love this verse: “This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.”

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