And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 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.” (John 12:44-50)
Jesus Christ is the dividing line between life and death, forgiveness and condemnation, heaven and hell. This is inherent in the biblical truth that salvation from the penalty, power and presence of sin is by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.
Jesus said in today’s text, “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.”
Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that, “If Jesus is the dividing line between condemnation and salvation, and if we are either saved or condemned, then it is not surprising that Jesus almost never talks about salvation without also talking about condemnation. We see this in today’s passage where in the same context that Jesus proclaims Himself as the way of salvation, He also sets forth rejecting Him as the way of condemnation. Having said that anyone who believes in Him believes in God, sees God, and walks in light, Jesus goes on to say that the consequence of not believing in Him and His words is to exist under judgment (John 12:44–48).”
This truth has never been popular and never will be with the fallen world. The exclusivity of salvation solely in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone strikes people as too narrow minded and not inclusive of other religious systems in which people have placed their sincere faith. The argument is that the litmus test for truth and faith must be the sincerity of the one believing in their truth system.
However, sincerity is never the foundation for whether something is true. Objectivity and reality is. Whether or not something is true is not based upon the sincerity of the believer but rather on the reality and objectivity of the truth which is proclaimed and believed.
Dr. Hans Madueme is associate professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA writes, “God’s Word is our final authority precisely because it reflects the character and trustworthiness of God. Biblical Christianity is not an esoteric religion or an abstract set of ideas but is based on historical and material realities: God became incarnate in our world; the Messiah was born in Bethlehem; He lived in Nazareth; His biological mother was Mary; many witnessed His miracles; He was interrogated by the fifth prefect of Judea—Pontius Pilate—and convicted by the Sanhedrin; He was crucified on Golgotha; and He rose again. You cannot separate the salvific or spiritual component of our faith from the historical and the material. The two categories are inextricably bound together in the biblical story.”
On what side of the diving line are you standing? It truly is a matter of life and death. The Bible says, “But to all who did receive him (Jesus Christ), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
Soli deo Gloria!