John 3:18-19 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
To us, God may appear to be angry. He seems to be an unjust, harsh, and stern judge. But God is saying here, “Now then, I will cancel the charges against you. You will no longer have to mourn. To be sure, you have sinned and earned the judgment of God. But your sin will be pardoned. The death penalty will be removed. I will no longer remember the sinfulness of the world – the sin in which people were born and in which they lived. Everything is settled. I will no longer look at your sin. Simply believe in my Son.”
What’s missing? Why does judgment still hang over us if the Son has removed our sins? This judgment remains because people reject Christ, the Son of God.
Suppose a physician is treating a sick person whom he knows he definitely can help. Suppose he has promised to get rid of his patient’s pain. The physician suggests a remedy for his patient’s illness or an antidote to counteract the poison his patient has ingested. Suppose further that the sick person knows without a doubt that the physician is capable of helping. In spite of all this, the patient says, “Get out of here. I don’t need your advice. You’re not a physician. You’re a fraud. I’m not sick. I didn’t eat any poison. And besides, it probably won’t hurt me.” Then what if the patient tries to choke and even kill this doctor? Wouldn’t you say that person is not only sick but also stark raving mad? The spiritual madness of refusing the help of God’s Son wants to give us is ten times worse than this.
Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional, By Martin Luther. March 3.