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. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. ( John 3:18-20)
In John chapter three, Jesus tells us that he didn’t come into the world to “condemn the world”. He didn’t have to, for the world, which rejects the Father and “His only begotten Son” was and is already condemned. All men are continuously condemned by God’s law, as well as by their consciences which tell them, that they are not right with God.
All men carry in themselves some sense of a share in the shame and guilt of the human race. This is the reason why religion is an inescapable aspect of life. Condemnation is the inner knowledge of a deep and personal sense of failure to live up to a standard. Much of what are currently considered to be “psychological problems” are outcomes of condemnation.
All men know in their hearts that they don’t measure up, that they are sinners. Condemnation lies behind the fear of death also, for there is a universally instinctive knowledge that men have about death. Men know that death isn’t really natural, and that it is a punishment that it has to do with judgment.
Men also share universally a sense that there is something exalted about man, not only do we all share in the shame of Adam, but that we share in the “Image of God” in which we were created. But this amplifies our condemnation, because we know we are not mere animals, following instinct, but reasoning and responsible moral agents, who must give account of our actions. We have shattered and distorted the “Image of God“.
Thus, “he that believes not is condemned already”. Jesus didn’t have to condemn the world, although his coming does intensify the already present condemning effect.
This is because Jesus’ coming was and is as a light that reveals everything else in its true light, and causes all that is false to be seen for what it really is. For example, the “Pharisees” and “Sadducees” pretended to be ‘Holy men of God’, presenting themselves to the people of the land as truly pious, God-fearing worshippers.
But with the coming of Jesus, true Holiness and piety was revealed to everybody. In Him, we see what it means to be a “Father pleaser”, a “lover of God”, true devotion to God, and what it really means to believe and follow the law of God. What does it mean to truly ‘fear God? It means nothing less than to live as Jesus lived.
Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. (I John 2:8)
The effect of the life of Jesus, then and now, was to cause the fake holiness and piety of Pharisees and Sadducees to be seen for the shallow hypocrisy that it was and is. With the coming of Jesus, religious pretense was no longer possible. Self deceit, and hypocrisy; ie pretending not to be what you are, or to be what you are not, becomes impossible in the light of Jesus.
There can be no neutrality, for Jesus compels a choice. God cannot be known outside of Jesus. There can be no real ‘holiness’ apart from Him. People are compelled to either be for or against Jesus and his word. This is the meaning of the word “Crisis”, which is the root of the word for “condemnation”.
An encounter with Jesus forces a crisis, a watershed moment, the ‘crisis of this world’ was the cross of Jesus. There the world was condemned by God. All of its works were judged as worthy of death and destruction, and the proud prince of this world was defeated and slated for his own perdition.
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.(John 12:31-32)
Now is the crisis of this world! The cross is the condemnation of the whole world, the greatest negative ever, because on it, Jesus took upon himself all of the sins, yea he represented all of the people of the world, and bore us to death and judgment.
The world is already under Divine condemnation, it was judged at the cross of Jesus. the world will not be healed or improved, it will not be made into a better place. God has pronounced the sentence, all that awaits is the perdition it deserves.
But in Jesus , for the time being, condemned men and women can “pass out of condemnation” and into “everlasting life”.