The First Letter of the Apostle John : Study No.13

Study.13 (1 John 5:1-11)

Review (1 John 4:11-21)

The apostle of love who laid his head upon the breast of the Lord Jesus at the last supper, reminds us all as the Body of the Messiah that we should put that love into action by following the example of the Lord Jesus who laid down His life for us even though we did not deserve it, earn it or merit it, because of our wilful sin and rebellion. We cannot love unless God’s love through the Holy Spirit imparts and sustains that love in us and through us. With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible especially when it comes to loving those who are extremely difficult to love.

While in this life we cannot see God face to face we can experience His love and in this we can know by an inward revelation (Ginosko) what God is like. Having experienced that love as believers, we can know the inward assurance from the Holy Spirit that God abides and remains and lives in us and that as we walk by faith and obedience to that love it is perfected in us. Our faith is a faith that works by love (Galatians 5:6).

John and the other apostles testified to the fact that the Lord Jesus was sent from heaven to earth at His incarnation to be the saviour of the world. He eternally existed with the Father and with the Holy Spirit and left heaven’s glory to tabernacle among men (John 1:14). John the Baptist testified to this fact when he said concerning the Lord Jesus; “He was before me” (John 1:15b).

Our confession of the Lord Jesus is part and parcel of our salvation. We believe and confess Him and as a result of what we believe in our heart we confess with our mouth resulting in salvation (Romans 10:9-13). Of course there must first be repentance before spiritual regeneration and renewal (Acts 3:20). If God abides in us then we also abide in Him. We are joined to the Lord and one in spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17). The Lord Jesus lives in us by His Spirit and He Himself is our life. Apart from union with God through the Messiah we have no spiritual life in us at all (Colossians 3:4).

Because God abides or continues as a settled presence in our spiritually reborn inner spirit we have come to know and experience and believe the love which God has for us. While our feelings are changeable and often affected by circumstances deep down on the inside of us we have the assurance from the Holy Spirit dwelling in our regenerated human spirit that He loves us as revealed in His unchanging Word.

We are also told that God is love. It floods His very being. Everything that He does is in love. This love is expressed towards all He has created. (Psalm 145: 9). While God loves sinners, which all of us are by birth and by nature, He is also a just God and every decision He makes is done in love.

If God abides in us then we also abide in Him. We are joined to the Lord and one in spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17). The Lord Jesus lives in us by His Spirit and He Himself is our life. Apart from union with God through the Messiah we have no spiritual life at all (Colossians 3:4).

As born again believers once the love of God has been shed abroad in our heart by the blessed Holy Spirit we will be empowered by the Spirit to abide in God, to rest in Him and to draw continuously by faith upon His divine life and power in all the changing circumstances of life even with our conflicting emotions and times of tumultuous and turbulent circumstances that we all face from time to time in life. Just as the branch of the vine draws its nourishment from the vine itself to produce fruit, so as we remain connected to the true vine our Lord Jesus by faith and under the control of His love, we too will bear spiritual fruit for God (John 15:5).

We are told in the Bible; “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). If we are seeking to be conformed to the image of the Son of God in our daily walk as a New Covenant believer then we will have confidence before God in the day of judgement and not be condemned along with the unsaved.

As we learn to accept that we are loved by God and yield to the control of that love in us then fear of judgement will be annulled because we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) (Psalm 139:16b).  If we have prefect love springing up out of our inner spirit man and controlling the soul then we have nothing to fear from God. Perfect love or that love expressed fully in us and though us will drive away fear of punishment.

We love God as a result of the inward revelation that He loved us first even when we were still living lives of sinful rebellion and were turned around by the work of the Spirit of God leading us to repentance and saving faith in the Lord Jesus. The result being that we love Him because He first loved us and was the appeasing sacrifice offered up before God on the sacrificial altar of the cross to atone for our sin.

To love God is to also love others, not just those who are likeable humanly speaking, or who do not make life hard for us, but for all men whether they are for us or against us. This is especially true concerning our fellow brothers and sisters in the Messiah our Lord Jesus.

One cannot profess to love God while at the same time harbouring or nurturing this kind of hate in their heart. To profess to love God while hating another is to not love God at all. While we can hate the actions of people we must make sure we do not hate them personally. At times this can be a very fine line between the two, however, vengeance belongs to God and when He exercises it then it will have its full effect according to His perfect, righteous and just nature, not out of vindictiveness. (Romans 12:19). He is the judge of all the earth and when He judges it is just and perfect in His exercising of it (Genesis 18:25) (Deuteronomy 32:4).

If we cannot love those who we see then how can we love God whom we cannot see? To hate, to pursue and to detest another person, especially a fellow believer, is to violate the greatest commandment of all to love God with all of our entire being and to love our neighbour as we would love ourselves. Upon these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets!

God’s command to love as He loves is not optional for a born again, blood redeemed, blood washed child of the Living God. When a fellowship of the Body of Messiah lives this kind of relationship the world will sit up and take notice (John 13:34-35). Love is the royal law of heaven, it is at the very core of God’s being, it is commanded in His Word and incumbent on every born again blood purchased child of the living God and that without exception. To abide in love is to abide in the light but to abide in hate is to abide in the darkness and light and darkness have nothing in common. We are either walking in the light of God’s love and that by faith, or we are walking in the darkness in companionship with the devil. There is no middle ground in this matter. Now we come to 1 John Chapter 5.

Exposition 1 John 5:1-11

(Vs.1) “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.

This can be rendered whosoever is believing continuously that Jesus is God’s Messiah sent into the world to be its Saviour has been spiritually reborn from above and that by the blessed Spirit of God (John 3:3). When the Lord Jesus asked His disciples the following question; “who do men say that I am, Peter exclaimed enthusiastically “you are Messiah the Son of the living God!” Jesus replied; “blessed are you Simon son of Jonah because flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but My father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).

If you are believing in the Son of God and exercising saving faith in Him every day and moment by moment then the revelation of this truth has been supernaturally infused into your inner spirit enabling you to cry Abba father, literally “daddy” or “Abba” being the first word uttered by a newly born baby. The fact that we are trusting in Him to save us and to lead us through life and with the desire to serve Him springs out of this childlike response to Him as a heavenly father. The capacity to do this is the inner witness of the Holy Spirit that we are a child of the Living God having been spiritually reborn in our inner spirit by the Spirit of God (Galatians 4:6). If we really love God then we will love His children being our fellow brothers and sisters in the Messiah our Lord Jesus. And then we read…

(Vs.2) “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.

Once again the Greek word to know is the word “Ginosko”, not just an intellectual knowledge but an inner knowledge of the heart, a revelation by the Spirit of God and not by the will of man. It is a supernatural work of the blessed Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12-16). If we have received this inner knowledge, this inward revelation given by the Spirit of God then we will love our brothers and sisters in Messiah, we will love God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit and desire to keep His Commandments with the help of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15).

(Vs.3) “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”

One of Satan’s strategies is to get us to think that seeking to obey God’s commandments will mean living a life with restrictions and not having any fun or joy in life. He will make it appear to be burdensome and restricting us from indulging our natural appetites and desires to enjoy the lifestyle offered by the world. He will also tell us that keeping God’s commandments will be a burden we should not have to bear.

Many today within wider Christendom are chasing and thirsting after prosperity, miracles, signs and wonders, manifestations and prophecies and having things good in this world, but very few are in fact hungering and thirsting after righteousness and that holiness without which no one shall see God (Hebrews 12:14). The Bible says that the pleasure of sin lasts for a season but at the end of it is an eternal hell without reprieve. Many within and without Christendom today are merrily joining arms while singing and waltzing down the yellow brick road of comfort, ease and compromise, hyper faith prosperity, ecumenism and interfaith but at the end of it all will find someone far more sinister, deadly and terrifying than the Wizard of Oz!

Having said this, a submission of one’s will to the will of God without conditions will yoke us to the Triune God to do His bidding. At first when we commit ourselves unreservedly to do God’s will it will be a difficult thing to do because of our sinful flesh which has had its way in our life. We still have to deal with the desires of our fallen sinful nature that is constantly at war with the Spirit of God living within us (Galatians 5:16-18). However, when we are yoked together with the Messiah our Lord Jesus we will find that it is in fact not a burden but a delight to do God’s will even when it is difficult due to adverse circumstances, trials, affliction and a sense of heaviness through manifold temptations.

Because His law is in our hearts our first and foremost inward desire will be to please Him in all things. Did not the Lord Jesus say; “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). In the end God’s ‘burden’ will prove to be the best and sweetest burden to carry in all the world. On the other hand living a sinful life may have its seasons of pleasure but in the end the world’s ‘burden’ will be magnified and bring one yoked to this world to a terrifying end in the lake of fire from which there will be no reprieve! (Revelation 21:8). If God’s laws and commandments are written on the tablet of our inner spirit then doing them will be a delight and not a burden (Psalm 40:8). Now let’s continue…

(Vs.4-5) “For whatever (whosever) is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

It is faith that pleases God and that He rewards (Hebrews 11:6). The word ‘faith” in both Testaments is not just believing but also implies “faithfulness.” If we really possess saving faith then we will be seeking to be faithful to what we believe and confess. Confession is part and parcel of saving faith and it is also a faith of obedience (Romans 10:9-13) (Romans 1:5; 16:26) (John 3:36 NASB). All of the devil’s fiery arrows are aimed at the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16). Every arrow of Satan is extinguished in that shield.

A Roman soldier in the first century had a shied that covered his whole body from his head to his feet and had thick leather covering the entire shield which would extinguish the fire arrows of the enemy. One soldier with that shield was a force to be reckoned with, however when his shield was locked with the other shields of his comrades it provided an impenetrable wall of steel and leather which the enemies arrows could not penetrate.

As the Body of Messiah we are in a continuous spiritual battle with powers and principalities too strong for us to handle alone. This is why we need the whole armour of God and it is the shield of faith that protects us. We must lock our shields together as the Body of Messiah through Spirit-filled fellowship and in doing this we will have a solid shield wall by which we can extinguish every fiery dart he sends our way. This is why fellowship around the Word of God imbued with prayer and meeting around the Lord’s Table and exercising the gifts of the Spirit our spiritual armour and weapons by which we can wage our war against Satan and his minions and demolish spiritual strongholds in our own lives and in the lives of others (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). It is our faith confessed and exercised in obedience to God’s Word that will give us the victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. He (the life of the Lord Jesus) that is in us is greater than he (Satan) that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Did not the Lord Jesus also say; “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

To believe that Jesus is the Son of God is also to believe that He can do everything that He says He can do and to count on Him to do it in us, for us and through us! By the power of his blood, His Word and His Spirit and by the power of our confession and by praying in the continuously in the Holy Spirit we can overcome all that Satan launches against us even to the point of laying down our lives and that only by the enabling grace of God and not by our own will power or human strength (Revelation 12:11). Let’s continue…

(Vs.6-8) “This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”

The water refers to Jesus’ baptism and the blood to His atoning death for the sins of the world (John 1:29) (1 John 2:2). At His baptism the voice of His Father was heard from heaven endorsing and attesting to the ministry of His Son and the Holy Spirit was seen by John descending from heaven and resting upon the Lord Jesus as a dove denoting purity because the Lord Jesus was without sin (John 1:32). The pure untainted blood of the Lord Jesus was the means by which salvation would be procured for the world and by which sin would be fully atoned for. The Spirit of God was the person who testified to these two truths and here we see a revelation of the Tri-Unity within the Godhead (The Trinity). The witness of the water, the blood and the Spirit was completely unified being together the Triune God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit never operate independently from each other and their will is one in perfect eternal unity. The three together all point to the one act of salvation for the whole world. And then we read…

(Vs.9) “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, which He has testified concerning His Son.”

Men may well testify to revealed facts that are true in nature, but God’s testimony to His Son is far greater in that God Himself affirms the deity of His Son without any blemish or spot or sin, and that by His pure untainted blood, offered through the power of the eternal Spirit of God, is able to purge the heart and consciences of men and women from dead works to serve the Living Triune God (Hebrews 9:14). God’s testimony to His Son is with us today in the Word of God! The Lord Jesus is the Eternal Word of God made flesh and the Bible is all about Him from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible itself is Jesus in print! While it is written by men its truth is Spirit-breathed! (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Let’s continue…

(Vs.10) “The one who believes (is believing) in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.”

The man or woman who have been spiritually reborn from above by the Spirit have the witness in their inner spirit deep down on the inside that the Lord Jesus is who He claims to be and that in Him alone is found salvation and in no one else. They know deep down on the inside that He is the way, the truth and the life and have made Him their personal Saviour and Lord (Acts 4:12) (John 14:6). They have believed what God has said about His Son in the Word of God and their faith in Him has been ratified within them through the same Word (Romans 10:17). Those who do not believe make God to be a liar in their thinking, which He is not of course, and those who reject the truth remain alienated from the life of God and under the sentence of death and eternal hellfire! And so we read…

(Vs.11-12) “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”

Eternal life begins the moment a person repents and believes in the Lord Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world and who shed His pure untainted blood to atone for their sins and offences against God and violations of His commandments. This eternal life is the very same divine and eternal nature and life of God Himself and both He and the Son, because they are One God and having the exact same divine nature and attributes, have the source of that eternal life within themselves, and it is the Spirit of God who imparts that eternal life into the undegenerated spiritually dead inner spirit making it alive to God.

If we have the Son dwelling in us through the resident Holy Spirit then we have the life of the Triune God dwelling in us who have come to make their home within us through the Spirit. As the Lord Jesus said; “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling place with him” (John 14:23). The question is not do you attend Church, partake of Communion, attend the prayer meeting, sit on the church council, do good and charitable works and sing the hymns and choruses every Sunday? But do you have the eternal life of the Son of God dwelling in your spirit man?

Have you been born again by the Spirit? Have you been made a new creation in the Messiah? Have you the assurance that all of your sins have been cleansed, forgiven and forgotten by God? Do you have the inner witness of the Spirit that you are a child of God? Do you lean upon the blood of Jesus, the Word of God and the Spirit of God for your sanctification? Do you totally lean on that righteousness that comes from God through faith in the Lord Jesus and not upon those works of humanly produced righteousness by which no one can be justified in God’s sight? As the Lord Jesus Himself said; “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 6:63).

Go to Study 14