"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Human Destiny & the Son of God
The question this message seeks to answer is, ‘Does what I think about the Son of God matter?’ To do that we will consider Human Destiny & the Son of God from John chapter 3 v 36. I will look at this subject under two headings – The Importance of the Son and My Response to the Son.
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SON
When I use the word ‘importance’ I’m talking about the absolute and eternal importance of the Son of God. There is no greater person for us to consider, understand and know than the Son of God. And, as the New Testament makes abundantly clear, Jesus is the Son of God.
The Immensity of Jesus is because of the Identity of His Person. His identity as Son of God, defines and communicates the immensity of who He is. So what is so significant about this title? Sonship has to do with relationship. In this very gospel of John we learn of His unique status; He is the only Son of God. We read in John chapter 3 v 16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”. God has only one unique, special and eternal Son who shares His Father’sglory. Jesus, the Son of God is of the very same substance and nature of God. All that the Father is, He is.
The New Testament tells us of the importance of the Son of God and why belief in His person or the opposite makes all the difference between heaven and hell. We learn that
God has spoken to the world in His Son (Heb 1:2). God has provided salvation for the world through His Son (John 3:17) and God is calling the World (by the gospel) unto repentance and faith in His Son.
To be clear, God is dealing with the world through His Son. It does not matter who you are, where you are from or what position you hold in life. What matters is how you respond to the SON, and how you respond to the SON DETERMINES whether you will be in heaven or hell.
My eternal destiny will be decided by me in time being determined by my response to the Son of God which will be ratified by Him when I enter eternity. I don’t wait until death or the Day of Judgment for the decision of where I will be forever, that is decided now in time by me.
But someone will say, ‘it doesn’t matter to me. I’m just not interested, I don’t care about Jesus, the Bible or the gospel’. Well, according to God my attitude to the Son absolutely matters. Now I realize in this modern world it’s hard for people to conceive that God has any relevance to their life, but He does and the foundational reason why He does is because He is the Creator and we the creature. He is God and we are but men and He is infinitely greater than we are even though man acts as if it were otherwise. The point is, we are accountable to God as our Creator. We are accountable for how we live in His world and we are responsible as to how we respond to the Saviour He has provided for us, His Son, the Lord Jesus who came into the world to give us eternal life.
The testimonyof creation is ever our first point of reference for knowing that God exists (Rom 1:18-20). All people irrespective of who or where they are in this world have the visible witness of created order which points them to the glory of the Creator (Psal 19:1-6). We might not see it that way, but God certainly does and He considers the reality of a physical world to be reasonable and sufficient evidence to tell of His existence.
To understand the gospel we must begin with Creation and how history unfolded from the beginning of time. The story of man begins with the first man Adam and his wife in paradise where He sinned against God and as a result of his disobedience alienated the human race from its Creator and brought all his posterity under the condemnation of death (Rom 5:12). God promised when dealing with His rebellious creatures after their sin, that a Saviour would come (Gen 3:14-15) and the full revelation of who that Saviour is was given when the Son of God came into time and history to defeat the ‘serpent’ and secure for us the gift of eternal life and the forgiveness of our sins. The coming of the Son of God and His identity as Jesus of Nazareth brought into clear focus who the Saviour of the world is while His Cross and resurrection has left the world in no doubt about God’s way of salvation.
Therefore, the point of this text in John chapter 3 v 36 is that we know who we need to believe and if we don’t believe, we know who we are rejecting. God gives only two options in responding to the Lord Jesus – you either believe or you don’t believe. No matter what way we may describe ourselves or whatever beliefs we hold to, as far as God is concerned if we do not believe in the Son we are in the category of the disobedient and that will exclude us from eternal life and brings upon us God’s displeasure now and the certainty of wrath in the future, unless repentance takes place.
In verses 31-36 the speaker, John the Baptist, gives two reasons as to why we should and must respond to the Son of God. He speaks of
A. The Supremacy of the Son vs 31, 35
>His Heavenly Originv 31 We are reminded of where He came from: “He who comes from above is above all… He who comes from heaven is above all”. It was the Son of God, the Lord of Glory (1 Cor 2:8) who as sovereign over His creation stooped to come into this world as man.
And did the Holy and the Just, The Sovereign of the skies, Stoop down to man's estate and dust That guilty worms might rise?
Yes, the Redeemer left the throne, The radiant throne on high --- Surprising mercy, love unknown --- To suffer, bleed, and die. Anne Steele (1716-1778).
HE CAME TO SAVE and in coming to save, HE CAME TO DIE upon a Cross and rise again from the dead so that we could have the gift of eternal life. Here are His is the gospel in His own words: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 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 3:14-21).
>His Absolute Authority v 35 Simple, yet profound is the statement “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand” (v 35). All authority is His. Jesus said when commissioning His disciples before ascending back to heaven: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt 28:18) and He also said: “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:22-23).
B. The Testimony of the Son vs 32-34
Says John the Baptist concerning Jesus: “And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure” (Vs 32-34). When He was here the majority did not receive His testimony. Little has changed. Those who do, certify that God is true and in so doing are certifying or confirming that He is faithful and dependable. God has truly sent His Son, the Saviour He first promised in the Garden of Eden and whom the prophets prophesied would come.
>The Son Shows the Way to God Because He is the way. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
>The Son Speaks the Words of God Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3) and to the woman at the well: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14). His words are as true today as when He first spoke them!
2. MY RESPONSE TO THE SON
A. The Father’s Love for the Son v 34
Here is the ‘key’ to understanding the significance of the Son and the implications of our response to Him. The Father’s eternal love for His Son means He honours Him and He wants us to do the same. He desires we believe in Him and have the assurance of everlasting life. But even those who don’t and won’t will be compelled to acknowledge Him as Lord on the Day of Judgment (Phil 2:9-11).
B. The Sinner’s Response to the Son
We will respond in one of two ways:
>Faith and have the Assurance of Eternal Life or
>Disobedience and have the Guarantee of Divine Wrath “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him”. There are those who don’t believe for various reasons, but they can be persuaded and will believe when they understand the truth, but then are those who having understood the truth won’t believe. That is the category here. Those who wilfully and deliberately refuse and reject the Son. Romans chapter 2 v 8 says of the disobedient: ‘But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath’ (Italics & bold mine). Wilful disobedience means there is no hope and that such a person is presently under divine displeasure and will be forever under God’s wrath unless they truly repent while there is time.
We read in Psalm 2 v 14: Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, And ye perish from the way, When his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Frank Knox was an Irish evangelist and a mighty preacher of the gospel. He was born in 1884 in the townland of Braddox between the towns of Monaghan and Ballybay in Ireland being the youngest of a family of ten.
He was awakened to his need as a condemned sinner at a gospel meeting in a large tent in Belfast erected on Templemore Ave in 1905. After learning he was ‘condemned already’ he struggled for a period to find peace with God. It was while visiting his sister in Letterkenny Co Donegal that he finally found that peace on the 23rd of September 1905. On that day while tarring the roof of a newly built stable at the farm and after reading a letter he received that morning he had noted how John chapter 3 v 36 was written at the end of the letter with the first part of the verse being written in capital letters and underlined. Frank after his long struggle pondered these words and finally appreciating the truth that there was a man who died in his place he believed in the Son and had the assurance of everlasting life. He later penned a poem of his conversion story. Two verses read:
H-A-T-H – those letters four were simply underlined. I just took in what God had said and made His promise mine; Now many years have gone since then, and Christ remains the same, Eternal life He gives to those who trust His blessed name.
And so I came to Jesus while standing on the roof, And in the good old Bible I have the blessed proof; While passing through this wicked world of sin and woe and strife, He that believeth on the Son HATH everlasting life.