Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son (John 3:18)
Jesus is very serious about the condition of eternal life. Those that believe his testimony has the promise of eternal life. Anyone who refused to believe his testimony is already condemned. They are in danger every moment they persist in their unbelief of being given up forever. Remember there is a point, beyond which forbearance in God would not be a virtue. Long-suffering as he is, he will bear with you no longer than is consistent with the public good.
When the children of Israel had repeatedly displeased their God in the wilderness until they came upon the borders of the promised land, and were commanded to go up and take possession, through unbelief they began to murmur and went not up. This one instance of rebellion, added to those that preceded it, was too much for divine forbearance.
This single action made God lift up his hand and take a solemn oath “that they should not enter into his rest.” The loving God states that unbelief is a serious sin that puts someone on the condemnation seat. And now dare you do it again? If you do it, this might be just too much to be forgiven.
Thus the great forbearance of God is to lead sinners to repentance. He waits for them for days and for months and perhaps for years! How wonderful that God should spare them. He sent his ministers, his written word, his providences, and to no effect. Finally, he came himself by his own Spirit and has been abused by them in a thousand ways. And even now perhaps you are still indulging in unbelief which is a sin that grieves him almost beyond endurance. If you persist you do it at the peril of your soul.
The great multitudes of professors of religion are seemly blind to the state of their own hardness of heart and blindness of mind. That is why many often pray for the influences of the Holy Spirit and yet do not receive his influences. It may be and doubtless often is because of their unbelief.
Those with the spirit of unbelief are often guilty of indulgence of some lust or the neglect of some duty. This is doubtless often true that many pray for the Holy Spirit while continually doing that or indulging that which is so offensive to the Holy Spirit that he will not abide with them.
Those who will not believe his testimony can not receive the spirit of truth, that the Holy Spirit when he comes to many is like the “wayfaring man, that tarrieth but for a night.” His visits are short and far between. The fact is their lives, and tempers and habits are such, that for them to dwell with God or he with them is out of the question.
One can be ministers of the gospel yet in a state of unbelief. Such ministry may seem to be entirely barren. They preach, and pray, and perform other duties without unction, and of course without success. And while they continue their round of efforts, it is plain to the spiritual members of their Church that they have not the Holy Spirit. Their conversation during the week is not in heaven. Their preaching on the Lord’s day has in it anything but the spirit, power, and demonstration of the Gospel.
Thus a great number of the professed ministers of Christ experienced barrenness in their ministry, the worldliness in their spirit because of their bitterness, and jangling, and prejudice, and everything that so many wounds and disgraces Christ.
Let us all take warning lest any of us while we think we are standing, should suddenly and hopelessly fall. Beloved, let us walk softly before the Lord, and look narrowly into all our ways. Let us see wherein we have been and are grieving the Holy Spirit.
And now let us all go down upon our knees, and confess our infinite guilt, in having, in so many ways and for so long a time, grieved the Holy Spirit, “whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption.”