The apostle John has an urgent message to give to all men, not just the ones he knew and loved
during his life that ended sometime late in the first century A.D..
His greatest desire was for men to recognize who Jesus was and accept through faith His finished work at Calvary's cross for their sins. His second wish was that all that had believed the message of salvation would live as brothers and love one another as Jesus loves us. This, he said, is proof to the world that we are saved and thus are truly God's children. His third point that he emphasizes over and over is to obey God, "keep His commandments." These are not the ten commandments of Moses' day. They are the ones given by Jesus Himself while He was here on earth.
1 John 3:23-24 gives us a capsule view of this.
23: "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
24: And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Holy Spirit which he hath given us."
Love for the Brethren
1 John 5, Verses 1-3. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of
God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
2: By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3: For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Here is the test of the doctrine we accept, or we might also call it the test of faith. In the first three verses, we are given the results of faith. First, we have a divine birth, then love for God, then love for our fellow believers, and finally obedience to Godís commandments.
First of all we have the divine birth: "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." It's not just an intellectual assent to the fact, but rather a commitment of our life to Jesus.
If we have been truly born of God, then we'll love Him. Also, we'll love His children as well. Scripture tells us that only those who believe in Christ as their Savior can be called "children of God." "Galatians 3:26: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
Notice, too, that we are to love all believers, and not just those of a certain fellowship. This often will include believers in another church, or a believer with no church connections at all.
The fourth result of faith mentioned is obedience to Godís commandments. Verse 2: "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments." People who are truly saved are characterized by a desire to do the will of God. Our love for God is shown by a willingness to obey His commands. The Lord Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments."
When John said that His commandments aren't grievous, he doesn't mean that they're never difficult, but that they're the things that born again people want to do. The best things for us are the commandments of the Lord, the things our new nature loves.
Victory Over the World
Verse 4: For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:
and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5: Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Verse 4. God doesn't make it a secret how to gain victory over the world. The world system is one of temptation, and it is always trying to drag people away from God and from the things that will last for eternity. 'Live it up now' is the world's philosophy. Enjoy the sensual and forget the sensible. One of the favorite words we hear concerning worldly things is "enjoy." People of the world have completely become the victims of passing pleasures and things.
Those who will overcome the world are the ones who are born of God and are called Christians. Christians should be able to rise above the passing things of this world and to see things in their true, eternal perspective. The one who really overcomes the world isn't the billionaire or the scientist or the philosopher or psychologist. It's the believer who recognizes the things that are temporary and the things that are eternal. The thought of seeing Jesus face to face takes the glory out of thoughts about things found only in this world.
In verse 5, John mentioned that the one who overcomes the world is the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. We don't overcome the temptations of this world through any strength of our own. We're told in the scriptures that the Holy Spirit is within us to guide us into all truth.
Proof of who Jesus really is
Verse 6. "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth."
This verse may refer to the water and blood that flowed from the Saviorís side in John 19:34. "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." It may also be that the water refers to the Holy Spirit and that the blood refers to His blood shed on Calvary.
I believe this refers to the fact that Jesus' earthly ministry started with His water baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. God acknowledged Him as His Son at that time and John recognized Him as the Lamb of God. The blood, then, refers to His crucifixion and the end of His earthly ministry. He was even recognized as the Son of God by the thief and by the Roman soldier while He was on the cross dying for their sins.
John is writing that Jesus was just as much the Christ when He died on the cross as when He was baptized in the Jordan and God announced Him as His Son.
Men would like to have the Lord Jesus as the perfect example as a man, the One who gave us a code of perfect behavior and morals, but John tells us the Lord Jesus is not only Perfect Man, but Perfect God too.
It seems that the human heart is continually trying to get rid of the doctrine of the atonement. The One who was baptized in the Jordan River gave His life as a sacrifice for sinners. The Jews told Christ, "Come down from the cross and we will believe on You". They wanted to eliminate the cross from their thinking but you can't have the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior apart from His shed blood on the cross that brought man's redemption. "The Spirit bears witness, because the Spirit is truth." This means that the Holy Spirit of God testifies to the truth concerning the Lord Jesus that John has been writing for us.
Verses 7-8. " For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and
the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8: And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
There are three that bear witness, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.
This gives us a threefold witness concerning the truth. First of all, the Spirit of God bears witness in the written word that Jesus Christ is God and that He is the only Savior of the world. Then there is the witness of the water. This refers to what happened at the baptism of the Lord Jesus. God opened the heavens and publicly proclaimed, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The Lord Jesus bore witness that He was the Son of God on the cross. No one took His life from Him; He laid it down by Himself. The blood witnesses that the sin question was settled once and for all to the satisfaction of God. All these three witnesses agree as one.
Verse 9. "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son."
Every day of our life we accept the word of other people. If we didn't, business would be at a standstill and social life would be impossible. I read a statement one time that said that credit is "man's confidence in man." We generally trust people. If we trust people's word, we should trust God's Word totally. The word of God can't fail and God can't lie.
Verse 10. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son."
When you accept God's testimony about His Son, God seals the truth by giving you the witness of the Holy Spirit within yourself. On the other hand, if you refuse to believe God, you make Him a liar; because you haven't believed the testimony that God gave of His Son.
We see and hear a lot of people questioning God's testimony. They want everything to fit into their interpretation or their situation, often to relieve guilt. A Des Moines minister was quoted in the Des Moines Register concerning Bible prophecy. His statement was this: "Using the Bible to predict the future makes Christianity laughable and unbelievable. This is unhealthy religion and should not be associated with Christianity."
God's promise to the Believer.
Verse 11:"This is the record: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." Record here means "witness." We have the testimony or witness of God that our eternal life is by faith in the finished work of His Son for our sins. What a wonderful truth that God has given eternal life to mankind, and the source of this life is through faith in His Son.
Verse 12. "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." The teaching here is unmistakable. You can't find eternal life in education or philosophy or science or good works or religion or a church. You have to have the Son of God. Acts 16:31: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
On the other hand, anyone who doesn't have the Son of God doesn't have eternal life. 2 Thessalonians 2:12: "That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
You can't have eternal life apart from faith in Jesus Christ.