John 3


John 3:15

so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

(a) Whoever believes. All of God’s blessings, including forgiveness, salvation, righteousness and eternal life, come to us freely by grace and are received by faith (Eph. 2:8). Faith does not compel God to forgive us or sanctify us. But faith is the conduit through which grace flows. See entry for Faith.

(b) Have eternal life. Eternal life is not something we receive in the future, but something we can enjoy here and now (John 3:16, 6:40, 1 John 5:13). Where do we find this eternal life? “This life is in the Son” (1 John 5:11). He who has the Son has life (1 John 5:12). Those who believe in Jesus have eternal life.

(c) Eternal life is not merely endless life; eternal life is divine life. It is Christ’s glorious life as opposed to the broken short-lived life we inherited from Adam.

Those who believe in Jesus have crossed over death into life (John 5:24). This new life can never be lost because it is eternal life. See entry for Eternal Security.


John 3:16

“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.

(a) For God so loved. The original word for love means to be well pleased or fond of or contented with. This word describes the unconditional love God the Father has for his Son (John 3:35, 15:9, 17:26), and for his children (Eph. 2:4, 1 John 3:1). God is indiscriminate with his love. Even if you are the worst sinner in the world, he loves you with the same sort of love he has for Jesus (see entry for John 17:23).

(b) He gave. God sent Jesus because he wants us to know how much he loves us. He’s not interested in condemning us or treating us as our sins deserve. His desire is to rescue every last one of us, from the best of us to the worst of us. The Father’s heart of love beats for the whole world.

(c) Whoever believes. Trusting Jesus is the only condition for receiving his grace.

In the New Testament, there are more than 200 imperative statements linked with faith. Some of these statements exhort us to: receive Jesus (John 1:11-12, 5:43), receive the message of Jesus (John 17:8), obey or heed the message or good news of Jesus (John 17:6) and turn to God in repentance (Acts 26:20).

Other scriptures encourage us to accept the word (Mark 4:20), confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9), call on the name of the Lord (Act 2:21), eat the bread of life (John 6:50-51), be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20), submit to God’s righteousness (Rom. 10:3), and be born again (John 3:3, 7).

But the one imperative that appears far more than any other, is the instruction to believe. We are to believe in Jesus (John 3:15, 18, 20:31). Everything you do and everything you are flows from what you believe.

(d) Eternal life is living forever in union with Jesus; see entry for John 3:15.


John 3:18

“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

He who believes; see entry for John 3:15.


John 3:35

“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.

(a) The Father; see entry for John 4:21.

(b) Loves the Son. The original word for love means to be well pleased or fond of or contented with. It describes the unconditional love God the Father has for his Son (John 3:35, 15:9, 17:26), for the whole world (John 3:16), and for his children (Eph. 2:4, 1 John 3:1). God loves you with exactly the same sort of love he has for Jesus (see entry for John 17:23).


John 3:36

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

(a) He who believes. All of God’s blessings, including forgiveness, salvation, righteousness and eternal life, come to us freely by grace and are received by faith. Faith does not compel God to forgive us or sanctify us. But faith is the conduit through which grace flows. See entry for Eph. 2:8.

(b) He who does not obey is the one who does not believe (see 1 John 3:23). John is not preaching a salvation that is conditional on your performance. He is not saying, “If you stumble, you’re out.” He’s contrasting sheep and goats, believers and unbelievers.

(c) Eternal life is living forever in union with Jesus; see entry for John 3:15.


The Grace Commentary is a work in progress with new content added regularly. Sign up for occasional updates below. Got something to say? Please use the Feedback page. To report typos or broken links on this page, please use the comment form below.

Leave a Reply