Condemned Without A Jury

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The basic broad meaning of this word “condemned” is “to come to a conclusion in the process of thinking and thus to be in a position to make a decision.” Louw-Nida Lexicon This word, as used in this passage, has a forensic or legal meaning. Bauer-Danker says “the emphasis (in this verse) is unmistakably laid upon that which follows the Divine Judge’s verdict.” The Judge has come to a conclusion, made His decision, and openly condemned the accused.

The accused is passive in the condemnation. This verb is perfect indicative which means it “represents an action as standing at the time of speaking complete. The reference of the tense is thus double; it implies a past action and affirms an existing result.” Burton’s Greek Moods and Tenses So the condemned sinner cannot change his condemnation because he has no standing or power to overturn a verdict that has already been made and remains in effect. As far as the condemned is concerned, the case is over and he is awaiting the execution of the sentence. Without Christ there is no hope.

Imagine being arrested and taken straight to the death chamber. No trial, no evidence, no defense. The case was over before the arrest. That is exactly what this verse communicates in the words “condemned already.” Why is there need of witnesses when the Judge and the condemned both know what has and has not been done by the accused? In human justice there is a different process, but when the all-knowing God of heaven is the Judge the process is drastically simplified. And He sent warnings… The conscience of the condemned has informed him this day was coming, and the Bible teaches it on almost every page. The good news of Jesus is He has provided freedom from this condemnation. He has answered the demands of justice.

Jesus, by use of this grammar, supported His previous affirmation that He did not come to condemn us… He came to save us. Jesus, and Jesus alone, can lift this condemnation.

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