John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 3:17 - 3:17

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 3:17 - 3:17


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

17.For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world. It is a confirmation of the preceding statement; for it was not in vain that God sent his own Son to us. He came not to destroy; and therefore it follows, that it is the peculiar office of the Son of God, that all who believe may obtain salvation by him. There is now no reason why any man should be in a state of hesitation, or of distressing anxiety, as to the manner in which he may escape death, when we believe that it was the purpose of God that Christ should deliver us from it. The word world is again repeated, that no man may think himself wholly excluded, if he only keep the road of faith.

The word judge ( πρίνω) is here put for condemn, as in many other passages. When he declares that he did not come to condemn the world, he thus points out the actual design of his coming; for what need was there that Christ should come to destroy us who were utterly ruined? We ought not, therefore, to look at any thing else in Christ, than that God, out of his boundless goodness chose to extend his aid for saving us who were lost; and whenever our sins press us — whenever Satan would drive us to despair — we ought to hold out this shield, that God is unwilling that we should be overwhelmed with everlasting destruction, because he has appointed his Son to be the salvation of the world

When Christ says, in other passages, that he is come to judgment, (Joh_9:39;) when he is called a stone of offense, (1Pe_2:7;) when he is said to be set for the destruction of many, (Luk_2:34 :) this may be regarded as accidental, or as arising from a different cause; for they who reject the grace offered in him deserve to find him the Judge and Avenger of contempt so unworthy and base. A striking instance of this may be seen in the Gospel; for though it is strictly

the power of God for salvation to every one who believeth,

(Rom_1:16,)

the ingratitude of many causes it to become to them death. Both have been well expressed by Paul, when he boasts of

having vengeance at hand, by which he will punish all the adversaries of his doctrine after that the obedience of the godly shall have been fulfilled,

(2Co_10:6)

The meaning amounts to this, that the Gospel is especially, and in the first instance, appointed for believers, that it may be salvation to them; but that afterwards believers will not escape unpunished who, despising the grace of Christ, chose to have him as the Author of death rather than of life.