"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only-begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him, should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him may be saved. 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." John 3:14-18
Why is it that some will be saved and have everlasting life in heaven and others will be condemned to everlasting torment in hell?
Those who are saved have forgiveness for their sins and everlasting life entirely because of God's love and mercy in Christ Jesus.
Jesus said, "For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only-begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him, should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). And, as Jesus said, God's only begotten Son was "lifted up" for us on the cross and paid in full the punishment for the sins of the whole world (cf. John 3:14-15; cf. 1 John 2:1-2).
Therefore, as Jesus said, whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
It is as John writes, "He who believes in him [Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, who died for our sins and rose again] is not condemned." The one who, by the grace and mercy of God, hears God's Word and believes and trusts that in Jesus atonement has been made and his sins are paid for in full - is not condemned but is forgiven and has everlasting life.
But, the one who does not believe and place his trust and confidence in the atoning sacrifice of God the Son "is condemned already"! And why? Not because his sins are worse than another's and not because Christ Jesus did not pay in full for his sins when He suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the world; rather, it is "because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God." It is because he has rejected the only way of salvation - the way God provided for lost sinners when He sent His only-begotten Son into the world (cf. Acts 4:12; John 14:6).
It is just that simple. "This is how God loved the world" [all lost and condemned sinners]: "He gave his only-begotten Son" as a true man, born of the Virgin Mary, to suffer and die for the sins of all. Those who, by the grace of God, look to Jesus and rely on Him for forgiveness are not condemned but have everlasting life! Those who do not look to Jesus and trust in His atoning sacrifice for their forgiveness are condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's only-begotten Son, the only Savior of lost sinners!
In his first epistle, John says it this way: "God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life, and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11-12).
So, if by the grace of God, you look to Jesus for forgiveness and trust that He has paid in full for all your sins, you are not condemned but have everlasting life.
If, on the other hand, you do not look to Jesus and His blood shed on the cross for the forgiveness of all your sins, you are condemned already, not because your sins are too great or because Christ did not pay in full the just punishment for your sins, but because you have not believed and placed your trust in the only-begotten Son of God, who is the only Savior of the world!
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God and Son of man, grant that I repent of my sinful ways and trust in You alone for the forgiveness of all my sins and for life everlasting, and so be saved. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted by email at [email protected] More of Moll's devotional writings are freely available for reading at https://goodshepherdonline.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.]