John 3:36 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 3:36, NIV: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them."

John 3:36, ESV: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him."

John 3:36, KJV: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

John 3:36, NASB: "'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.'"

John 3:36, NLT: "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 3:36, CSB: "The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him."

What does John 3:36 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

John 3:16 is frequently used as a one-sentence summary of the entire gospel. The idea that God loved us enough to send Christ for us is the central theme of Christianity. However, verses such as John 3:18 and John 3:36 are also critical. There are only two options: those who turn to Christ in faith will have "eternal life," and find forgiveness for sin. Those who do not will face judgment. No one is neutral, and no one is exempt. Salvation through Jesus Christ is not an upgrade, it's a rescue from disaster.

This salvation is through Jesus, and Jesus alone (John 14:6), and ignoring it means facing the wrath of God. Verse 36 is the only time John, the apostle, uses the term "wrath" outside of the book of Revelation. The Greek term is orgē, and in this context, it refers to the righteous anger of a judge who is issuing punishment for a crime. This concept is seen often in Revelation (Revelation 6:16–17; Revelation 19:15), and in Paul's explanation of God in the book of Romans (Romans 3:5; Romans 4:15; Romans 5:9; Romans 12:19).

All translations of John 3:36 imply that this rejection of Christ is a deliberate action. The original Greek word, apeithōn, means "rejecting belief," "refusing obedience," or "refusing to be convinced." This is the same idea explained in Scriptures such as John 3:18–19, Romans 1:20, and Romans 3:11. God wants people to be saved (2 Peter 3:9), not destroyed (Ezekiel 18:23). So, He makes Himself visible enough to encourage people to seek Him (Psalm 19:1), and hidden enough that those who want to make excuses can do so (2 Peter 3:3-5; Romans 1:28). Ultimately, those who die separated from God are those who want to be separated from Him (Jeremiah 29:13; Acts 17:27).