v 36. 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.
John the Baptist grasped the idea of God acting within the framework of love, but bounded by faith, or belief in Jesus. To continue living outside a relationship with Jesus defined by belief and obedience is to miss the point of what being a Jesus-follower means. It may seem a harsh statement when John says of a person ‘… will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment. ‘ The human response to God’s love is to live inside the boundary defined by faith and obedience – there is no eternal life outside it.
It is this idea that also forms a theme running through the whole of the book by John. It explains the catastrophic division between Jesus and many of the Jewish leaders He encountered. It was a sad reality that Jesus rarely united people in following Him – all too often John highlights the bitter divisions that occur as Jesus confronts people with His claims to be the Messiah and Son of God. To believe and obey Jesus in following Him was to let go of a self-centred life and to accept Him as the Lord of daily experience.
And to be realistic, people in our own day and age find that a huge step too!