1John 5:1 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.
Again – the foundational truth – Everyone that believes that Jesus is THE Christ (the Messiah, and all truth associated with the Messiah) is born of God. If you truly love the Father, you love His Son.
1John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
1John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
1John 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
How do you know love? It is shown by your love for God and your obedience to His commands—one of the primary ones being to love one another as He has loved us. His commands aren’t a burden because you already know the reward to obedience—victory! Victory over what? The world and all its accompanying evil (cf 2:16). The victory has already been won through your faith. Who is the overcomer, the victorious one? “He that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.” That victory results in dwelling eternally with the Savior.
1John 5:6 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.
Jesus came by water and blood; the testimony of the Spirit confirms this as truth. I have always been taught that the coming by water represents His physical birth. His rebirth through his victory over death after shedding His blood at Calvary was at the resurrection—through His faith in His Father. That is also how we are also reborn—through faith. The presence of the Spirit is the witness of God to the truth in the life of the believer.
1John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
There are three witnesses in heaven: God the Father, the Word (Jesus, John 1:14), and the Holy Ghost. They are three distinct persons that comprise one God.
This is just not completely understandable, but I accept it by faith. I always explain it by using an apple—used in a book I bought my children when they were small. The apple has three separate parts: the peel, the flesh, and the core. They are distinct, yet they are all part of one apple. Lately, I have begun to see that God’s view of the man and woman in marriage as one flesh has given me a better understanding. They are two distinct beings that God considers “one.” I know it is still not the perfect illustration, but if two can be “one,” then three can be “one.”
1John 5:8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
This verse is a bit harder. I finally have come to understand that John is continuing to affirm the truth of Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. God has given us three distinct witnesses on earth from the same three witnesses in Heaven regarding this truth. The Spirit gives witness through the scripture.
2Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
The Father gave audible witness to this truth at the baptism of Jesus—through the water.
Matthew 3:16-17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Jesus most powerfully testified to this truth in laying down His life on the cross and shedding His blood as the sacrifice for my sin.
John 10:17-18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
1John 5:9 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.
I think the phrase “witness of men” references verse 8 and “witness of God” references verse 7.
We are ready to accept the truth as posited by men (i.e., pastors, scientists, doctors, teachers, etc.). We should be much more ready to accept the truth given by God, who is by far greater. What is the truth referred to? The truth regarding Jesus.
1John 5:10 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.
Every believer has this witness of truth in his/her being, the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Anyone who does not believe the truth about Jesus as revealed by God is calling Him a liar. This truth is revealed in God’s record to us, the holy scripture.
Record = evidence given, report, testimony, witness, a “martyr”
This record includes the prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled by Christ as well as by other events in history. It’s interesting that the root word for record is derived from the word that means “a martyr.” Many of the prophets were killed and tortured for their faithful obedience to share the truth. Even Jesus became a “martyr” in obedience to the Father in fulfilling these prophecies.
1John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
God’s record (witness of truth) is this: God has given us the gift of eternal life (in His presence, never ending) through His Son.
1John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
If you have accepted the gift of His Son, you have life; if you haven’t, you have no life (no future worth looking forward to; only existence outside the presence of God).
1John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may
believe on the name of the Son of God.
John begins his conclusion by telling the readers the reason he is writing—so that they may KNOW they have eternal life, no matter what the false teachers (antichrists) may say. They can believe (without doubt) the truth about the Son of God and all that He taught.
1John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
1John 5:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
The believer can approach God confidently. We can know that if we ask anything “according to His will,” He hears us. This seems to imply a positive response. This is how we as parents respond to our children. When they ask for something that is good or beneficial for them, we will do whatever is in “our power” to grant that request. We have heard that request. When they ask for things that we know aren’t in their best interests, we deny them. We choose not to hear their pleas. The obvious difference in the comparison is that God’s power is unlimited, and He knows unequivocally what is in our best interest.
1John 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
1John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
These verses are a bit confusing. I’ve always understood that the sin unto death is unbelief. The part that’s confusing is regarding when to pray. How do we make a judgment on who will never believe so we don’t pray for them. We are to pray for our brother to be delivered from the power of sin in his life. Maybe the point is that prayer can do nothing for the soul that has died in unbelief. Any other wrongdoing or sin can be forgiven except that.
After talking to my sister who asked me about this verse, I decided to look up a few helps. (This again pointed out to me how simplistic I am in the gleaning of truth from scripture on my own.) Men such as Matthew Henry have quite a take on verse 16 involving many shades of meaning and directions taken from the words used. The key is regarding who the brother is—your neighbor in general or your Christian brother. I obviously took it to mean in general since the “sin unto death” in my view was unbelief. Other options presented were that this death could be the result of sin in a Christian’s life in which death is the consequence; therefore, prayer would be ineffective since this is God’s choice alone. One commentary made some points I really like—1) When we see a brother in sin, the first thing we should do is pray for him. 2) God will bless the prayer made in love on behalf of a brother in sin. Then he adds that “maybe this prayer has special power since it is in obedience to the command to love the brethren.”
1John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
Anyone that is born of God does not continue in sin. Jesus is the Shepherd protector, and Satan cannot harm one of His sheep.
John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.
1John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
We know we are the children of God. We also know that the world is in the control of “the evil one” (Satan). Because of that, wickedness dominates in the lives of most people on earth.
Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
2Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
1John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Jesus, THE Son of God, came to teach us and give us understanding as to how to recognize those who speak the truth. We are part of the body of Christ, the true (no room for half or part or mostly—it’s all or nothing) God, and because of that we will enjoy eternal life (in His presence).
1John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
John’s closing admonition—Keep yourselves from idols (anything in our life that takes our focus away from Jesus and obedience to His word). As I think about it, this is one of the most predominant methods used by false teachers. They try to put our focus on something other than the TRUTH of the Word of God and the Savior revealed in its pages.