“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Seems simple enough, but even Nicodemus, the Pharisee and Teacher of Israel couldn’t immediately wrap his head around it. (John 3:1-21)
The next two verses are a critical exposition, or a further developing of Jesus’ proposition by Jesus himself to help Nicodemus apply the basic truth to his own life and those that he would teach later.
17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
Again, it seems reasonably simple.
Then, like a cleaver comes, verse 18:
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Verse 18 is divisive, exclusionary, and polarizing. There is no grey, no ‘both & and,’ and no ‘C, all of the above.” It seems obvious that the choice is either to believe or not.
But, what does ‘condemned already’ mean?’