For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might 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.
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
[John 3:17-21 NKJV]
He who believes in Him is not condemned. This one sentence sums up the case. It stresses that we are not condemned, provided always that we believe in Jesus.
It goes on to say that if I don’t believe — well, I am already condemned ... not by Jesus, but by my unbelief. By refusing Jesus Christ, I am refusing His salvation.
This word is amplifying and delving deeper into the ‘born again’ statements immediately before. We are getting now to the ‘terms and conditions’, the truth of life in the Lord’s presence.
Condemnation is judgement*; so, if I am not condemned, can I say that I am not judged by God? No, I cannot, because I know that God is a God of judgement. What I must see is that judgement is inescapable ...
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? [1 Peter 4:17 NKJV]
Is this then the contradiction it appears to be? What seems to be happening here is that a differentiation is made depending on whether we are exposed to the light or choose to remain in darkness. Judgement happens either way; but if I am judged in the light (by abiding in Jesus Christ) then I am shown mercy in the court of heaven — not because of who I am, but because of who Christ is. This is God’s truth.
Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven. [Psalm 85:10-11 NKJV]
Now it seems that Jesus meeting with Nicodemus was Him pointing The Way, which we now see is walking in The Truth. If this analogy holds true, then what follows will reveal that Jesus is indeed who He says He is, and will show us The Life.
* condemnation: κρίσις krisis; decision (subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension, a tribunal; by implication, justice (especially, divine law): — accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.
Never let common sense obtrude and push the Son of God on one side. Common sense is a gift which God gave to human nature; but it is not the gift of His Son; never enthrone common sense.
The Son detects the Father; common sense never yet detected the Father and never will.