Does John 3:18 say that one who does not believe is condemned already?

Referencing “The Adopted Life”, Vol. 1, Issue 2, pp. 7-8, Jonathan Stepp says that the context for reading the Bible is the Word of God, meaning the Son of God who became flesh. The Bible is where we should have received our concept of who Jesus is and what He has done. If this is where we received this concept then why would we, as he put it, have to conform the Bible to this picture of Jesus? The bible represents our revelation from God, and it contains the original objective information describing the Son who became flesh and lived among mankind. The biblical description and teachings of Jesus and the teachings from his apostles should already be conformed to each other without our having to make adjustments to harmonize them.

His picture of Jesus tells him that the apostle John cannot mean that one is condemned because he does not believe in the Son of God. He says that not believing will only mean that one will go on believing his own lie that he is condemned. He only feels lost and condemned in his own mind. His scriptural support is the verse before that says “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”. Well that certainly was the purpose of His coming, but let’s look at the following two verses (19 and 20). They say that the reason that not believing in Jesus condemns them is that they were already condemned from the beginning because of the sin of Adam, and they refused and rejected the truth about His coming to save them through believing in Him who is the Light that would have removed that condemnation. The Light, referring to Jesus, has come and they LOVED DARKNESS INSTEAD OF THE LIGHT. They made their decision to reject the light (knowledge) of Jesus and the salvation he wanted them to receive. Verse 20 says, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and WILL NOT COME INTO THE LIGHT…”. One final verse must be looked at also. Verse 36 confirms this interpretation by saying “Whosoever believes in the Son has eternal life, BUT WHOSOEVER REJECTS THE SON will not see life, for God’s wrath REMAINS (a reference to “condemned already” in verse 18) on him.”

John Huffman