I must understand that God loves Jesus. God has given everything over to Him. Jesus has all the power and authority of God. Now that is amazing. I need to get that deep into my soul. I need to radically change how I think.
Jesus has told me what He has seen and heard from God. Because I believe in Jesus, I have eternal life. It will never ever end. If I don’t accept Jesus and reject Him, I will not see life. Nope, not at all. This is concerning, rejecting Jesus subjects me to wrath of God. It will remain on me forever.
The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is earthly and speaks in earthly terms. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, and yet no one accepts his testimony. The one who has accepted his testimony has affirmed that God is true. For the one whom God sent speaks God’s words, since he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hands. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him. | John 3:31-36 (CSB)
We usually think of God’s love for a lost world, but John reminds us of the Father’s love for His Son. Jesus is the Father’s “beloved Son”. Because the Father loves the Son, He has given Him all things, and He shows Him all things. It is a love that can hold nothing back.
When we receive the witness of Jesus, we share in His love and His wealth. To reject the Messiah’s witness is to miss God’s goal for love and light. No wonder our Master wept over the city of Jerusalem. They had rejected His witness — both His messages and His miracles — and their rejection led to judgment.
We might escape the wrath of God. This is the only place in any of John’s good news book that he uses the word wrath. He uses it six times in the Book of Revelation. This verse parallels John 3:18 and makes it clear that there can be no neutrality when it comes to the witness of Jesus: we either trust Him or we reject Him.
“Everlasting life” does not simply mean eternity in heaven. The believer possesses that life right now! It is the life of God in the believer.
The opposite of eternal life is eternal death, the wrath of God. A person does not have to die and go to hell to be under the wrath of God.
“He that believeth not is condemned already” (John 3:18).
The verdict has already been given, but the sentence has not yet been executed. Why? Because God is patient and long-suffering and continues to call all of us to radically change our minds and act differently.
The Apostle John is emphasizing a personal relationship with Jesus the Messiah. It is a living relationship that begins with the new birth, the birth from above. When we receive Jesus into our lives, we share His very life and become children in the family of God. It is also a loving relationship, for He is the Bridegroom and we are a part of the bride. Like John the Baptist, we desire that Jesus increase as we decrease. He must receive all the honor and glory.
It is a learning relationship, for He is the faithful Witness who shares God’s truth with us. What a delight it is to receive His Word, meditate on it, and make it part of our very lives.
But we must never forget the cost of these blessings. For us to be born into God’s family, Jesus had to die. For us to enter the loving relationship of salvation, He had to endure the hatred and condemnation of men. He had to be lifted up on the cross so that we might experience forgiveness and eternal life.
May we never take this for granted!
Here is the literal translation:
“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. The one believing in the Son has eternal life.”
Even though “eternal” has to do with the age to come, which we call eternity, believers in Jesus have eternal life now, ahead of time. Given the properly future meaning of eternal life, the present tense of “has” is blessedly astonishing.
“But the one who disobeys the Son [through disbelieving him, as implied by the contrast with ‘believing’] won’t see life [in the sense of not experiencing eternal life with God and Jesus]; rather, the wrath of God abides on him.”
God is naturally angry with people who won’t obey his Son through believing in him. God’s wrath abides—that is, stays—on such people. It’s already there, and it will stay there as long as they persist in the disobedience of unbelief. We can appreciate the depth and breadth of God’s love only against the background of his wrath.
Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (pp. 359–364). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 298–299). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Jn 3:31–36). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.