In John 3:36, we read: And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.
We Christians have always loved to talk about John 3:16, and we dont hesitate to use John 3:16 when we witness about Jesus. We usually dont like to talk too much about the wrath of God, so when asked by unbelievers, we often say things like, “oh, that was the old testament; God is not angry anymore, because now we are under grace and not law.” When questioned how to believe in Christ, we say things like, “believe that He the Son of God died for your sins.” How then are we to understand 3:36, where it speaks of the anger and the judgment of God? We can’t pretend it does not exist or as if it is not a part of the Bible.
3:36 explains to us John 3:16 because here in 3:36, belief in the Son of God is described as obedience and not just passive faith. So here we understand that faith in Jesus means to obey Him. Those who do not obey Him will never experience eternal life; they will remain under God’s judgment. The question then is; how do we obey the Son of God? Most Christians believe they obey Him if they believe He died for them; could this be true? The answer to this question is in Luke 6:46:
In Luke 6:46, Jesus asks us an important question, why do you call me Lord, but you do not do what I say? Jesus says this before He is crucified, so we know He is not referring to His upcoming death on the cross. In the great commission, Jesus does not say, “go out into all the world and tell them I died for their sins; instead, He says, go out into all the world and teach them how to obey Me.” What did Jesus teach His disciples? Matthew 23:2-4; He taught them how to obey the law of Moses.
Now we understand John 3:36 and 3:16, to believe in Jesus is not to believe He was crucified. To obey Jesus is not to believe He was crucified. To believe in Jesus and to obey Him is to obey His teachings on the law of Moses. So if you obey the law of Moses as He taught us to do, then and only then will you have eternal life. If you do not obey His teachings on the law of Moses, John 3:36 says you will never see eternal life, and God’s judgment will be upon you.
What about the cross?
In the seder meal (the last supper), Jesus says only those who accept His teachings and believe in His Blood will have eternal life. In the Book of Revelation, Jesus says only those who accept His teachings and believe in His Blood will overcome the devil. So we see by now it is not either-or; it is both the law of Moses AND the cross.
By now, I hope you are beginning to see how important it is to preach, teach, and accept that because Yehovah is pure love, His love compels Him to respond with judgment and anger when faced with sin and evil. Gods anger and judgment can be not easy to accept sometimes, but try to think of it this way:
Would a loving father or mother choose not to intervene if their child got involved in crimes? We all know that if they truly loved their child, they would first warn and speak to them. If they did not listen to their warnings, their parents would have had no choice; they would have to do what they needed to do to stop their child from hurting other people and themselves, and sometimes it could even involve calling the police.
Yehovah is love because when He sees a human being chooses to do evil, He is not passive. He sends people to warn them, telling them to repent. If they do not listen, Yehovah’s love compels Him to do what He needs to do to stop them from hurting themselves and other people.
It often gets complicated because most of us have a Hollywood mindset regarding God’s intervention. We have become brainwashed by Hollywood and Christian movies that we expect God to intervene with lighting, thunder, special effects, and giant angels with swords. But because of this, we have become blind and no longer able to see when He intervenes in our lives and the lives of others.
When reading the Bible, we see how Yehovah uses the elements of nature and people to inflict judgment or blessings on people. Sometimes angels do appear in the Bible, but Yehovah’s judgment or blessings come through people, animals, or nature most of the time.
When Yehovah sees someone choosing evil over righteousness, He will send believers to warn that person. If they decide not to listen, He will use whatever means necessary to warn them and protect others from their destructive behavior. If they still refuse to listen, Yehovah will, in the end, decide to take their lives and judge them.
The next question that comes to mind is this; if this is true, why then are children suffering in the world? They have done nothing wrong; they have not chosen evil; they are innocent. Are you saying Yehovah has allowed their suffering to come upon them to warn them in some way?
The Bible does not say at what exact age we are held accountable for our sins. But we do know a child is capable of knowing right from wrong and capable of choosing to do evil instead of righteousness. So what we can know for sure is this; if someone is at the age they can know right from wrong, then the answer is yes, Yehovah has allowed this to come upon them to warn them so they can repent.
If someone is not at the age they can know right from wrong; then the answer is no, Yehovah has not allowed this to come upon them to warn them so they can repent. Why then are small children, unable to tell right from wrong, suffering? Because of the sins of their father.
The Bible says a child is under the father’s authority until the day when he knows right from wrong. So if a small child suffers, it has to do with the sins of their father, not the sin of the child. The thing we need to understand is how Yehovah sees the family. The head of the household is the father, the male of the family. What he chooses to do will affect everyone under his authority, his wife and his children. So if he chooses evil over righteousness, Yehovah will do everything to warn him, telling him to repent, and the consequences of those warnings will affect his family.
When his son reaches the age of accountability, the father’s sins will no longer affect him. If he has unmarried sisters, they will still be under his father’s authority, and they will still be affected by their father’s sins, and so, of course, will be their mother. If the father refuses to listen and refuses to repent, John 3:36 says that at one point, God’s wrath will be unleashed upon him, and this will affect his unmarried daughters, his wife, and sons who are under the age of accountability.
This might seem unfair to some of you, but this is how God’s justice system works. So this should remind all women to choose husbands who fear Yehovah and obey His commandments.
This is why we need to preach, teach and accept the wrath of Yehovah just as much as the love of Yehovah because you can not separate the one from the other. If He is love, then His love will compel Him to judge with anger all evil. But because He is love, He will at first try to warn so we can repent before sometḧing worse happens. But if we refuse to repent, His love will make sure something worse will happen to us.
So how do we avoid being judged, and how do we avoid the wrath of God?
John 3:16, 3:36: By obeying the teachings of His Son Jesus. What did Jesus teach us to do? Matthew 23:2-4, 7:21-23: Obey the law of Moses. Most Christians today do not obey the law of Moses. John 3:16, 3:36, Matt 23:2-4, 7:21-23 tells us they do not have eternal life and are now under God’s angry judgment. At the same time, we know Yehovah is love, so He sends people and circumstances their way to warn them, telling them to repent. If they do not listen, warnings will evolve into judgment, and the people under your authority will be affected. If you are a husband, it will affect your children and your wife. If you are an employer, it will affect your employees. If you are a government leader, it will affect the citizens of your nation.
Are you right now suffering as a Christian?
On a personal level, choose today to obey John 3:16, 3:36 and repent. If you have repented and are still suffering, it has to do with the sins of those in authority over you. You can never force them to change, but Yehovah can use you to warn them, telling them to repent. If it is your employer or your husband, pray for them and be obedient to say what needs to be said when Yehovah tells you to say something.