Read John 12:47-50 (ESV)
If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
What does Jesus say are the consequences of rejecting Him and on whose authority does He judge?
Yesterday, we discovered the blessings of believing in Jesus—knowing God through Him and being brought out of the darkness into the light. But in today’s passage, Jesus clearly laid out the consequences of not believing in Him—eternal condemnation.
Jesus said that whoever hears His words but does not obey will be judged. But not necessarily by Him. He clarified that His purpose in coming to the world was for salvation rather than condemnation. In John 3, Jesus explained God’s purpose for sending Him to the world: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, 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 in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17). You see, Jesus came to save the world. But, only those who believe in Him.
Jesus went on in John 3:18: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” In other words, Jesus doesn’t have to judge anyone to determine their eternal destiny. They judge themselves by either accepting or rejecting His Word that He came to save them. If they reject His Word, they reject Him and in doing so they condemn themselves to eternal suffering and eternal life apart from God.
So, the first time Jesus came, He came to offer salvation to the world. But, to quote the Apostles Creed, we know that “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.” Those of us who are in Christ will also be judged but not to determine our eternal destiny. Eternal life with Christ is secured for us because of our belief in Jesus’ death on our behalf.
In Ephesians 1:13-14, Paul assured us: “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” But when Jesus comes again as Judge, those who are apart from Christ will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15) because they refused to believe His Word.
Where did Jesus get the authority to make sentencing decisions that have such significant eternal consequences? Jesus emphasized that He was given full authority from the Father and He perfectly and obediently said and did what God commanded. Jesus is the Perfect Judge. He will get it right. He assured us of this in John 8:15-16: “You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.” The Father and the Son are united in truth and justice.
Friend, I pray that you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you haven’t, I urge you to put your trust in Him today. The benefits and blessings of knowing Him are too great to miss out on and the consequences of not knowing Him are too terrible to have to endure for eternity. He came to earth and died in your place because He loves you and wants to offer you eternal salvation (John 3:16). Don’t reject His gift and condemn yourself to life apart from Him forever.
Lord, thank You for coming to be my Savior. My only hope is in Your death on the cross on my behalf. I trust You, Jesus. Thank You for the guarantee of everlasting life with You. Amen.
Reveal: Friends, the consequences are too great to not share the Gospel with others. Share Jesus’ Words of eternal life with someone apart from Christ today.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford