I John 5
vs. 1-12 – Faith is the Source of Love
v. 1 - To believe in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ involves birth from God.
To be born of God involves loving God. To love God involves loving
His children. Therefore to believe in the Incarnation involves loving
v. 2 – Here obedience to God is the test. To obey God proves love to Him,
and this again involves love of His children.
Genuine Christian love towards the brethren is to love them because they
BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, AND THEY ARE CHILDREN
v. 3 – “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments”
The love of God consists in keeping His commandments and these
are not “grievous” (heavy or burdensome) – they are beneficial, and
emancipating – They are the direct road to our happiness! Jesus said
“My yoke is easy and my burden is light” – Matthew 11:30
“and His commandments are not grievous” – The Christian whose will is
united with the will of God, will not find obedience to that will a task!
Obedience brings the greatest blessing of all – THE INDWELLING OF
GOD IN CHRIST, IN US! Jesus said “If a man love me, he will keep
my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him,
and make our abode with him” – John 14:23
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons
of God, even to them that believe on His name” – John 1:12
v. 4 – The world is that of which the pervading spirit is forgetfulness of God.
“The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God”
(Psalm 9:17). Men may not be all wicked in the highest degree —
deliberate and daring in sin; they may be divided against each other; but it
is natural to all alike to wish to banish God out of their minds as an
unwelcome, disagreeable subject. (Psalm 2:1-3) The world is that of which
the pervading spirit is selfishness — the opposite of what is here inculcated. Men
may not be all malevolent in the highest degree — devilish, according to the
common conception — but it is natural to all alike to hurry on to their own
satisfaction, without regard to the claims of others.
It is the world that hinders obedience to God’s commandments and
makes them seem grievous. But God’s children conquer the world,
and that by means of faith - “this is the victory that overcometh the
world, even our faith”.
THANKS BE UNTO GOD; WHICH GIVETH US THE VICTORY!
v. 5 - There is no other way of conquering the world? Christ has overcome
the world “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” – (John 16:33)
and we can too! How can he who believes fail? Belief in Christ unites us to
Him, and gives us a share in His victories!
They will overcome its errors, its glare, its enticements, its threats, its unbelief, its
hatred, its opposition, its persecution. They will overcome by powerful argument,
“By the Word of truth, by the power of God.” (Jesus was victorious over Satan
by quoting the Word of God – Matthew 4:1-11) by holy living, by sturdy resistance,
and by faithful testimony. How great a chapter, like to the eleventh in the Epistle
to the Hebrews, might be compiled from the histories of God’s faithful ones, who
have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of his testimony; for
they loved not their lives unto the death!
The world will only be conquered in the fullest sense when the customs of
society and influences which permeate it are such as to afford the greatest help
to remembering God and living for the good of others.
HE WHO CASTS AWAY THE DOCTRINE THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF
GOD LEAVES HIMSELF HELPLESS IN LIFE’S STRUGGLES AGAINST
vs. 6-12 - The section takes a new turn; the test of the Christian life
furnished by the witness of the life itself. This witness is that of the
Spirit (v. 6), identical with that of God (v. 9), and possessed by every
believer (v. 10).
v. 6 - This is a difficult passage. Jesus Christ came by “water and blood, not
by water only, but by water and blood” – (What is the connection here,
if any to John 19:34? – It seems to be a very key passage) The Divine Son
Jesus Christ came not by water only at His baptism, but by blood also at
His death. Besides these two abiding witnesses, there is yet a third still more
convincing – “And there is the Spirit that beareth witness (to the Divinity
of Christ); because the Spirit is the truth” - There can be no higher testimony
than that of the truth itself (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13)
v. 7 – There are three that bear witness in heaven, God the Father, the Word
(Jesus Christ) and the Holy Ghost.
v. 8 – There are “three that bear witness on earth, the Spirit, the water
and the blood: and these three agree in one” - When all three witnesses
are enumerated together, the Spirit naturally comes first. He is a living and
a Divine witness, independent of the two facts of the baptism and the Passion,
which concur with Him in testifying that the Son of God is Jesus Christ.
The three agree in one – their testimony converges to one point – TO THE
NEW LIFE IN US BEING THE GRAND PROOF THAT JESUS IS THE
SON OF GOD!
v. 9 - “If we accept human witness [and, of course, we do], we must accept Divine
witness [and, therefore, must believe that the Son of God is Jesus Christ]; for
the witness of God consists in this, that He has borne witness concerning
His Son.” – “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two
or three witnesses: “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he
be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and
hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an
unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” –
v. 10 - The believer in the Incarnation has the Divine testimony in his heart, and it
abides with him as an additional source of evidence, supplementing and
confirming the external evidence. In its daily experience, the soul finds ever
fresh proof that the declaration, “This is my beloved Son,” is true. But even
without this internal corroboration, the external evidence suffices, and he
who rejects it makes God a liar; for it is God who presents the evidence,
and presents it as sufficient and true. (THIS IS A TERRIBLE CHARGE –
THIS MAKING GOD A LIAR – AS IF THE GREATES WORK THAT
GOD HAS EVER DONE IN THIS WORLD HAS ITS BASIS IN
DELUSION AND IN A LIE????) The second half of the verse is
parenthetical, to show that the unbeliever, though be has no witness in
himself, is not therefore excused.
v. 11 - “And the substance of the internal testimony is this — we are
conscious of the Divine gift of eternal life, and this we have in the Son of
endlessness may be included in it, but it is not the main one. The distinction
between eternity and time is one which the human mind feels to be real
and necessary. But we are apt to lose ourselves when we try to think of
eternity. (I can remember as a youngster thinking about eternity and I would
get swimmy headed – CY - 2009) We admit that it is not time, that it is the very
antithesis of time, and yet we attempt to measure it while we declare it to be
immeasurable. We make it simply a very long time. The main idea of “eternal life”
already by believers; it is not a thing of the future (John 3:36; 5:24;
6:47, 54; 17:3). It is that life in God which includes all blessedness, and
which is not broken by physical death (John 11:25-26). Its opposite is
exclusion from God.
v. 12 - Eternal life is not granted to the whole world, or even to all
Christians en masse; it is given to individuals, soul by soul, according as
each does or does not accept the Son of God. The order of the Greek is
noteworthy — in the first half of the verse the emphasis is on “hath,” in the
second on “life.” Here, as in John 1:4, the article before zwh> (life) should be
translated, “hath the life… hath not the life.” The insertion of tou~ Qeou~
(of God) in the second half of the verse points to the magnitude of the loss: the
possessor has no need to be told whose Son he has. Eternal life may be
attained by everyone! “For God so loved the world that He gave His
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) God seeks all men – He invites,
exhorts, entreats – if any have not this life, it is because they refuse to
comply with the conditions of its bestowment – “Ye will not come unto
me, that ye might have life” – (John 5:40)
vs. 13-21 - CONCLUSION OF EPISTLE; without, however, any
marked break between this section and the last On the contrary, the
prominent thought of eternal life through faith in the Son of God is
continued for final development. This topic is the main idea alike of the
Gospel (John 20:31) and of the Epistle, with this difference — in the
Gospel the purpose is that we may have eternal life; in the Epistle, that we
may know that we have eternal life.
v. 13 - To “believe on the Name of the Son of God” is to give entire adhesion
to Him as having the qualities of the Divine Son
There are four things clearly unfolded concerning the life eternal.
even faith, righteousness, love; where these are, the man is born
of God and has the eternal life.
v. 14 – “And the confidence that we have towards him consists in
this” The thought of knowing that we have eternal life (v. 13) leads
back to the thought of confidence before God in relation to prayer
(1 John 3:21, 22). This idea is now further developed with special reference
to intercession for others; a particular form of prayer which is in close
connexion with another main idea in the Epistle — love of the brethren.
“that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us.”
Knowing that we have the Divine life, we are reasonably bold toward God,
as children are bold toward their parents. Our boldness comes out
especially in our asking. We are full of wants, and so we need to be
constantly asking. We ask in the confidence of being heard. “If we ask
anything, He heareth us” — which has only this limitation, that we ask
according to God’s will (not properly a limitation; for God’s will is our
highest good). If we are to ask according to God’s will, then the meaning
of that is that we are to have our desires in a proper state — to have them
educated up to God’s will
v. 15 - The point is not, that if God hears our prayers He grants them
(as if we could ever pray to him without his being aware of it); but that if
we know that He hears our prayers (i.e., trust Him without reserve), we
already have what we have asked in accordance with His will. It may be
years before we perceive that our prayers have been answered: perhaps in
this world we may never be able to see this; but we know that God has
v. 16 - How does this position respecting God’s hearing our prayers
affect the question of intercession for the salvation of others, and especially
of an erring brother? If any prayer can be made with confidence of success,
surely it is this. It is an unselfish prayer; a prayer of love. It is also a prayer
in harmony with God’s will; a prayer for the extension of his kingdom. St.
John points out that this reasonable expectation has limits. The prayer of
one human being can never cancel another’s free-will. If God’s will does
not override man’s will, neither can a fellow-man’s prayer. When a human
will has been firmly and persistently set in opposition to the Divine will, our
intercession will be of no avail. And this seems to be the meaning of “sin
unto death” - willful and obstinate rejection of God’s grace and persistence
in unrepented sin. “Death” corresponds to the life spoken of above; and if
the one is eternal (v. 13), so is the other. The rejection of Jesus Christ
necessarily involves the renunciation of this life! If a man deliberately
and decidedly rejects the only Being through whom he can obtain
eternal life, what remains for him but to abide in the dark night of
WE ARE NEVER IN A POSITION TO PRONOUNCE A CASE
HOPELESS, WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO PRAY – ONLY GOD
IS IN POSITION TO DETERMINE WHEN A SINNER HAS CROSSED
(SEE EZEKIEL 14:12-23, JEREMIAH 15:1-9)
Let us call up before us some brother or brethren for whose return to God we long
and yearn; for them let us plead, and never, never give up. And if by our
pleading many are visited by Heaven’s best gift of life, they may never
know who prayed for them; but our prayers will go up for a memorial
before God, and we shall find it true that “they that sow in tears shall reap
in joy. (Psalm 126:5)
v. 17 – “All unrighteousness is sin” – whatever is contrary to God’s Law
is sin and where there is sin there is DEATH!
vs. 18-21 - With three solemn asseverations and one equally solemn
charge the Epistle is brought to a close.
THESE ARE THINGS HE KNOWS: (CHRISTIAN CERTITUDE!)
keepeth him” – (the eternal Son of God preserves the frail children of
the Father from the common foe, so that the “evil one” touches them not!
(v. 18) The great adversary shall not touch “the true-born child of God”
so as to destroy his spiritual life or effect his overthrow. Who are these?
Those who are born again. All of them. How do they escape the evil?
Through the watchful care of the Lord Jesus. He guards phrei~ them.
The word “expresses a watchful regard from without, rather than safe
custody” - This guardianship is exercised
* by gracious intercession (Luke 22:31);
* by providential care (Psalm 121.);
* by sustaining the inward life (John 15.);
* by bringing to naught the plans of the evil one (Romans 16:20).
What is the effect? The wicked one does not touch them with a
contaminating, poisoning hand. He would, but he cannot. This must be the
* The strong one is outwitted by the Stronger (Luke 11:21-22);
* has been, as matter of history (Revelation 12:10-11);
* is, as matter of observation (1 John 4:4);
* we know it as matter of experience (v. 19).
The life which is guarded without and sustained within by the Son of God
is a perpetual proof that there are some whom evil cannot touch. They
move amid the evil, but it harms them not. Let the world get more and
more corrupt, they do but become more and more like their Lord.
(WE HAVE HERE THE SECRET OF VICTORY OR DEFEAT IN
LIFE; i.e., of conquest over evil or conquest by it. All depends on whether
we are ejk tou~ ko>smou or ejk tou~ Qeou~ - ““in the world” or “in God”
(1 John 4:4).)
v. 5 speaks of overcoming, and overcoming is suggestive of struggle.
“Victory” implies combat. The Divine life in man and the life of the
ungodly world are essentially antagonistic. Satan is “the prince of this
world” - “the god of this
Christian’s work in this state of probation is to conquer ‘the world.’ It is,
in other words, to fight successfully against that view of life which
ignores God, against that complex system of attractive moral and
specious intellectual falsehood which is marshaled and organized by
the great enemy of God, and which permeates and inspires Satan’s
spokespeople in non-Christianized society. The world’s force is seen
especially in ‘ the lust of the flesh, in the lust of the eyes, and in the pride
of life.’ - (ch. 2:15-17) These three forms of concupiscence manifest the
inner life of the world,” and against them the Christian has to contend. It is
the battle of truth against error, of light against darkness, and of love
against hatred. (We hear a lot today about haters and hate crimes – CY -2009)
“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that
Jesus Christ is the Son of God”
And if we remain “in the world”, and are never extricated from it by a
mightier power, with darkness and sin we must “lie down in sorrow.”
(Isaiah 50:11 – notice the phrase “all ye that kindle a fire, that compass
yourselves in sparks” like living close to a POWDER KEG) Who can
consent to remain a prey to evil when the great Redeemer stands ready
with a mighty hand to pluck us out of it, and to guard us so securely that
no evil shall touch us?
(preserved from the evil one by His Son) they have nothing to
do with the world. (v. 19)
understanding, that we may know Him……the true God and
ETERNAL LIFE – regardless of what the world says, Christians
know that Christ, the Son of God, has come in the flesh and endowed
them with the mental faculties and spiritual perception to attain unto
the KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUE GOD WHO IS ETERNAL LIFE!
We owe to Jesus Christ the gift of a spiritual understanding dia>noian,
sensum; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 1:18; Matthew 5:8; 13:14;
6:22-23) As is the heart, so is the eye. When Christ by His Spirit renews
the one, there is new power of sight in the other. More is included,
however, than a clear perception. The word also bears the meaning of a
power of sound reasoning. Sin vitiates the reasoning powers by warping
the will which directs them (Ephesians 4:17, 18, 23)
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of
love, and of a sound mind” – (II Timothy 1:7)
“We have the mind of Christ” - (I Corinthians 2:16) - We have His
Spirit, His teaching, His Presence, His love, His life, all ours –
Himself, ours – WE HAVE THE GREATEST POSSESSION – “He
that hath the Son hath the life…(unfortunately) he that hath not
the Son of God hath not life” – v. 12
THIS LIFE IS ATTAINABLE ONLY THROUGH CHRIST. It is only
through the mediation of Jesus Christ that this union can be effected. Man
is estranged from God by sin, “alienated from the life of God,” and under
condemnation because of sin. “The Son of man has power on earth to
forgive sins.” (Mark 2:10) - “There is no condemnation to them that are
in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) - By the manifestation of the love of God in
His life, and especially in His death, He destroys the enmity of the sinful heart,
and reconciles man unto God. “When we were enemies, we were reconciled
to God by the death of his Son.” – (Romans 5:10)
“This is the true God, and Eternal Life.” There are two problems which
men have been for ages attempting to solve — one concerning the Supreme
Being; another concerning the meaning and destiny of human life. Both find
their solution in Christ, and only in Him. For in Christ, or through Him
we come to know the true God. In Christ, eternal life, too, is revealed as
existing in Him, as imparted by Him to those who believe on His Name.
(READER - HAVE YOU TRUSTED CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR?
HE ONLY CAN GIVE YOU ETERNAL LIFE) - “NEITHER IS
THERE SALVATION IN ANY OTHER: FOR THERE IS NONE
OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN, WHEREBY
WE MUST BE SAVED” – (Acts 4:12) - “YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN” –
v. 21 – “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen”
To a Christian anything is an idol which usurps the place of God in
the heart, whether this be a person, or a system, or a project, or wealth, or
what not. All such usurpations come within the sweep of the apostle’s
injunction, “Guard yourselves from your idols.”
“flee from idolatry” – (I Corinthians 10:14)
Keeping on your guard against idols is a PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!
(See the parting advice of Moses in Deuteronomy 29:9-29)
May the Holy Ghost grant us His enlightening unction, that we may
discern and detect error – John calls all these forms of error by one
name ANTI-CHRIST! (We are living in days that sound like the
Bible says will be when the anti-christ comes – BE READY – THE
TIME IS SHORT - CY-2009)
This God whom Jesus Christ reveals, THIS IS THE TRUE GOD,
AND ETERNAL LIFE! It is the nature of God to reveal ETERNAL
LIFE which is THE HIGHEST HAPPINESS OF GOD. The idols
against which we are to be on our guard are the VAIN SHADOWS
THAT TRY TO USURP THE PLACE OF THE TRUE GOD!
Let us brood over this great fact until all vain shadows flee away,
and God comes forth to us IN ALL THE SPLENDOR OF HIS
This is a word suitable for parting. We may think of John, now amid the
realities of heaven, still beseeching us, and with greater intensity, to beware
of the deceitful shadows that are here as often taken for God.
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IT IS A GRAND PROCLAMATION THAT
“THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE,
THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, OUR LORD!