1 John 5 – The World of the Text

This week we are going to be looking deeper at 1 John 5.  Today we’ll be looking at verses 1-12:

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4 for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 5 Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
6 This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth. 7 There are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree. 9 If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. 10 Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Today as I read this passage, there are three “words” or concepts that I want you to understand that help this passage made more sense.

In the first few verses, we see this dynamic of parent and child.  We see that God is the Father of Jesus Christ, and this is shown in that the child follows the command or teaching of the Father.  In the same way, we are the children of God and we are to follow His teaching and His commandments. That is how we know that we are truly God’s children; we follow His command.  If we are saying that we are God’s children but we do not follow His command, are we really?

Our “childship” is shown in how we follow His teaching.  A true child will follow the teaching and the commands of their parents.  That is why it focuses upon Jesus and then upon us.  Our following shows our family lineage.

Second is the testimony of water, blood, and spirit.  Each of these gives witness of who Jesus is and the work of God. We understand about the Spirit having talked about it in earlier readings, the Spirit of God gives witness with our very Spirit that we are God’s child. God’s working within us gives us the evidence that we are His and He is ours. What John is talking about with the “water” and the “blood” are the waters of baptism, that give of the sacrament of baptism is that witness of God that we are His. That is our initiation into the family of God, it is our “birthmark,” it is our branding if you will, that we are His.  It is our witness. The blood is a reference to the cross and is about forgiveness. If you have been forgiven, if you experience and know that forgiveness, that reality is the witness that you are God’s very own. The grace of forgiveness gives witnesses that we are God’s.

Last is Eternal Life.  This comes from John’s Gospel, chapter 17.  Eternal life is knowing Jesus. If we know Him, then our eternal life has begun, even know.  If we know Him, if we walk with Him, if we grow with Him, then that very knowledge is eternal life.  If we have that life, then we know that we are His.

John wants us to be sure in our faith and sure in our knowledge. That is why these concepts matter to Him.

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