The First Letter of the Apostle John : Study No.14

Study No. 14 (1 John 5:13-21)

Review: (1 John 5:1-12)

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). It is a supernatural revelation (Matthew 16:17). This truth enables us to cry “Abba father”, literally “daddy” or “Abba” being the first word uttered by a newly born baby. (Galatians 4:6).If we really love God then we will love our fellow brothers and sisters in the Messiah. We are to love God and show Him we love Him by keeping His commandment and by loving 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).

Our faith is a 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.

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! John also mentions that the Lord Jesus was the one who came by water and the blood. 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 nature and ministry of His Son and the Holy Spirit was seen by John descending from heaven and resting upon the Lord Jesus (John 1:32). The 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 it their testimony being together the Triune God.

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 is affirming 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 purge the heart and consciences of men and women from dead works to serve the Living and 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).

Those who do not believe make God out 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! 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 spiritually un-regenerated inner spirit making it alive to God.

Exposition: (1 John 5:13-21).

(Vs.13) “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Our faith in the Messiah our Lord Jesus as New Covenant believers is grounded upon the Word of God. To believe in the name of the Son of God is to believe without any doubt who He claims to be and to do and what He is going to do in the future as the resurrected and glorified Son of the Living God. John writes it down for our spiritual wellbeing. The assurance that we have eternal life, that all of our sins have been forgiven and atoned for and washed in the Messiah’s blood, and that we are now members of God’s eternal family is based on what God has said in His Word. Our feelings, our emotions are no barometer for our true spiritual standing before God.

Our feelings and our emotions are changeable whereas God’s Word is unchangeable as He is unchangeable and it will say the same thing tomorrow as it does today. His Word is settled forever in Heaven (Malachi 3:6) (Psalm 119:89). The Lord Jesus as God the Son is also unchangeable and His Word can be relied upon totally (Hebrews 13:8).

Also it needs to be said that our minds, what we think, our deep inner thoughts and desires must also be renewed by the Word of God. The more of His Word we know the more resistance we will be able to give against those thoughts that Satan bombards us with that go contrary to all the God is and says in His Word. We are to bring every thought into captivity to the Messiah our Lord Jesus and we can only do this when we, by faith and by confessing the promises of God’s Word gives the Spirit of God liberty to enable the Word of God to garrison our thought life because we are in the Messiah and part of His Body. Only in this way we will have the supernatural power to demolish spiritual strongholds in our own lives and in the lives of others (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Added to this, we have the great spiritual weapon of the blood of Jesus by which we can be protected from Satan and his demons and which will stabilise us spiritually even if we are enduring heaviness through manifold temptations and constant accusations from the accuser of the brethren who accuses us day and night before our God our heavenly Father.

It has been said that “Christians are walking battlefields!” If the Holy Spirit can get hold of our thought life then our feelings and emotions will fall into line with the will of God as revealed in His Word. His Word will spiritually strengthen us in all the differing circumstances of our lives without exception (Psalm 119:28). Through His Word the Lord will prove Himself time and time again to bless us with His strength and with His peace that transcend all human understanding.

This is why we must bring all of our requests and desires to Him in prayer with nothing held back. After all nothing is hidden from Him. He knows everything there is to know in the whole universe and even beyond that into infinity as the God who inhabits eternity and the one who has no beginning or end (Psalm 29:11) (Philippians 4:7) (Psalm 139:1-4) (Revelation 22:13). He is the everlasting God! (Isaiah 40:28-31).

If He sees a small sparrow when it falls to the ground and knows the number of hairs on our head then He most certainly knows all about us! So then our faith is rooted and grounded in the Word of God which does not change! God’s Word has been ratified and sealed forever by the blood of the Messiah our Lord Jesus, that New Covenant which is the everlasting covenant which cannot be and will never be annulled! And then John writes…

(Vs.14-15) “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”

God will always answer our prayers according to His good, acceptable and perfect will. While He does not always give us what we ask for He does give us what we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of the Messiah our Lord Jesus, through getting to know Him  through the Word of God and the one who is Himself the Living eternal Word of God (2 Peter 1:3). The way to know God’s will is to know His Word and to know it in its context. If we knew His Word better we would know better how to pray and to obtain the petitions we have presented to Him and requested. God will always honour His Word. He always remains faithful to His Word and cannot deny Himself! (2 Timothy 2:2:13).

In prayer sometimes He will say “yes” or “no” or “wait.” Often waiting is required to make us more earnest and expectant in our request and when He does answer us according to His infinitely good and wise and perfect will we will praise Him as befits His nature as our creator, redeemer, saviour and Lord, and as the one who always strengthens and carries and ultimately answers those who wait upon Him.

As the psalmist writes; “Yet those who wait for (upon) the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:31). Waiting on the LORD takes time but in the end saves time! Now John addresses another matter related to prayer.

(Vs.16-17) “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.”

Here we are not specifically told what the sin is that leads to death. We do know from the Word of God that the possibility is there that one can fall away from the faith and go back to living a lifestyle of sin after they had believed and become partakers of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 6:4-6). We do know that Demas in his love for the world abandoned the apostle Paul (2 Timothy 4:10). John himself writes in this letter; “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

We also know that there were some believers who were not only sick but had physically died at the Assembly at Corinth because of their careless behaviour at the breaking of bread where the local fellowship met for a meal and to remember the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice. Paul said that those who had died had “fallen asleep,” a term used for believers who had physically died denoting that they were saved and would be numbered among the resurrection of the righteous (1 Corinthians 11:30).

Another thing to consider is that there is the sin of blaspheming against the Spirit (Luke 12:10). To blaspheme is to speak evil things about the Holy Spirit, to shout in rage against Him and to wilfully oppose His work and to consistently reject His voice. It can also include calling the supernatural deeds He does as being the deeds of Satan such as the Pharisees accused the Lord Jesus of doing (Matthew 12:24).

This harboured attitude of heart and mind cannot be forgiven so long as the person doing this keeps on doing it. It is understandable among the unsaved, but when one who professes to be a believer is living a sinful lifestyle with an unrepentant heart then to all intent and purposes they most likely were never born again in the first place. Those who are the redeemed of the Lord will not be free from the sins of the flesh which we all must watch against because of our fallen nature, but we will no longer be living as slaves to a sinful lifestyle. As it has been said; “the nature we feed the most is the one that will control us!” We are either a slave to wickedness or a slave of righteousness. There is no middle ground. It is just black or white with no grey area.

As the apostle Paul writes; “But thanks be to God that, though you once were slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were committed. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to escalating wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness” (Romans 6:17-19).

All of us, even as new spiritual creations in the Messiah will at times commit sins especially in a minute of weakness or in circumstances when we are vulnerable physically or emotionally. Sometimes we will actually commit a sin wilfully because we have yielded to a fleshly desire that we have not submitted to the Holy Spirit and when this happens God has provided the opportunity for confession and cleansing by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:9).

However, the normal spiritual state is not to keep doing the same sin over and over again and repeatedly confessing it, but to confess it and by God’s help seek not to commit it again. All of us have an archeries heel, a weakness that is the target of Satan’s incessant attacks. This is why we need to hold high the shield of faith and wield the sword of the Spirit and claim the covering of the blood of Jesus constantly, moment by moment of every day 24/7. Having said this we are no longer slaves to a sinful lifestyle that displeases God but slaves to a righteous lifestyle that pleases God.

The normal Christian experience is to walk moment by moment by faith in step with the Holy Spirit and be continuously cleansed and kept by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7). When we do see a brother or sister fall into a sin we should pray for them, not condemn them, but help them to avail themselves of the fountain opened for uncleanliness and sin being the blood of Jesus (Zechariah 13:1).

At such times the weak brother or sister do not need condemnation but encouragement to seek forgiveness and cleansing and to be encouraged to keep on keeping on in their walk with the Lord. As the apostle Paul writes; “Brothers, if someone is caught in a trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him with a spirit of gentleness. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Messiah (Galatians 6:1-2). There are no big or little sins or grey areas in spiritual matters. There is just sin full stop. Either we are walking in the light or in the darkness. There is no neutral zone in spiritual matters. Now John seems to focus on the fact that if one who is truly born again by the Spirit of God will not be living a lifestyle of habitual sin which could be categorised the unpardonable sin so long as that person continues in it.

(Vs.18)  “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.”

Once again John stresses the point that one who has been made a new spiritual creation deep down on the inside of them will not continue to live a sinful lifestyle. Some have taught that one who has been spiritually born again can no longer commit a sin. However, we still have out sinful nature with its desires and fleshy passions and selfish tendencies that run contrary to the desires of the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us as born again blood redeemed children of God. The Spirit in us is constantly waging a war with the fleshly desires of our fallen sinful nature (Galatians 5:16-18).

John has already told us earlier in this letter that the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work which is sin in all its forms and that no one who is spiritually reborn by God from above will continue to live a sinful lifestyle because the seed of the Holy Spirit Himself, being the very nature of the Lord Jesus, is living on the inside of the one born again. They are no longer in a state of spiritual darkness but in a state of spiritual light having been sealed with the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption (1 John 3:8-9) See also (Ephesians 1:13).

He who was born of God, in that He was the living Word of God who left the eternal realm of heaven’s glory and at His incarnation to become a man, being fully human and fully divine in the one body, and to tabernacle among us, keeps all those who have believed in Him by the power of His resurrected immortal indestructible life and no man of devil will be able to pluck them out of His hand or His Father’s hand. As the Lord Jesus Himself said; “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).

Satan may trouble us, tempt us, harass and oppress us emotionally, mentally and physically. He may bring upon us seasons of heaviness through manifold temptations that linger for a long time. He may well afflict us with depression, anxiety, and physical weakness but in all of these things the one who was born of God, being born into this fallen world without sin, keeps all those He has redeemed by His blood. Consequently as far as their eternal status and eternal destiny is concerned, the wicked one cannot touch them because of the eternal life dwelling within them that will bring them safely through and out of this present evil age into their eternal dwelling if they physically die, or into the Messianic Millennial Kingdom should they still be living on earth when the Lord Jesus comes back. And then John continues…

(Vs. 19) “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

When one is spiritually reborn from above by the blessed Holy Spirit they have within them the witness of the Spirit being confident that they can trust God for everything they need for life and godliness in this fallen world. The Spirit of God dwelling in their human spiritually regenerated spirit constantly cries out “Abba father” or ‘Daddy” being the first words uttered by a newly born infant (Galatians 4:6). It is an expression of total trust as a baby being weaned on its mothers lap, totally reliant upon and sustained by its mother and entirely dependent on its mother for all of its needs David the psalmist put it this way when he said; “Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me” (Psalm 132:2).

Our citizenship is not in this present world because we have been translated spiritually out of it with its desires and appetites, having been rescued out of the kingdom of darkness of this world’s system and transferred into the kingdom of light being God’s eternal kingdom. As we read; “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13). As the apostle Peter also writes; “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

As for this world with its pleasures, its ambitions, its pursuits with its materialistic, hedonistic, immoral, wicked, perverse and depraved lifestyles these are all controlled by the evil one, the ‘god’ of this world who has blinded the eyes of those practicing these things to the light of God’s glory and salvation manifested in the person of Jesus the Messiah. As the apostle Paul writes; “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Messiah, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). It also needs to be said that while Satan is the god of this world He is not the God of this earth. God still has everything under control. As the Psalmist writes: “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas And established it upon the rivers” (Psalm 24:1-2). As the late David Wilkerson used to say “God still has everything under control” and He does you know!

(Vs.20) “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Messiah. This is the true God and eternal life.”

Once again John writes “we know” and it is again the Greek word “Ginosko” which john uses throughout his letter. It is not an intellectual knowledge which is “oida” in the Greek language, but a heart knowledge, an inner spiritual revelation not produced by the human will. The Gnostics who had left the fellowship that John presided over had a form of mystical “Ginosko” but it was one from a satanic spirit which denied the deity of the Lord Jesus and denied the Biblical truth that salvation is only found in the Lord Jesus alone (John 14:6) (Acts 4:12).

Gnosticism was an “inner form of spiritual knowledge” but its source was not from God. Those who have the Holy Spirit living on the inside have the anointing that remains and that teaches and leads them into all of the truth as God’s beloved children. As John wrote earlier in this letter; “And as for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But just as His true and genuine anointing teaches you about all things, so remain in Him as you have been taught” (1 John 2:27).

We who believe know deep down on the inside by divine revelation that the Son of God stepped out from His eternal heavenly home to tabernacle among us as fully man, yet fully God, in that He might redeem mankind as the Sacrificial Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:14, 29). Through the revelation of the blessed Holy Spirit we have an understanding of who God is as revealed in His Word and that He is absolute truth and that we are united with Him in that he who is joined to the LORD is one in spirit with Him.

Added to this, we are in Him who is truth itself being the Messiah our Lord Jesus. Through God the Holy Spirit we have been given the eternal unchanging truth that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are the one true God and as the one true God the source of eternal life, a life that begins the moment we are spiritually reborn from above and that will bring us to heaven when we fall asleep in Jesus or are still here when He comes back. Either way we know that we have eternal life and that this life is in God’s Son and that He or she who has the Son has the life of God in them and are partakers of the divine nature and that through believing what John has written that we may know (Ginosko) that we have eternal life!

(Vs.21) “Little children, guard yourselves from idols.”

Finally John as the father of the faithful and the only apostle remaining alive expresses his fatherly affection for those over whom the Lord Jesus had made him their shepherd. He most likely was around 90 years of age. Little children are prone to go astray are they not, and are easily led and influenced by others and are susceptible to being led in the wrong direction. Spiritual maturity has nothing to do with age. One can be well advanced in years yet not be strong in the Word of God while another much younger believer is strong in the Word of God and is actively defeating Satan at every turn. No matter what level of spiritual maturity we have achieved by God’s grace all of us are susceptible to spiritual seduction.

Our Lord Jesus told us that towards the end of this present age that even the very elect saints of God would be confronted with spiritual deception and that many would almost buy Satan’s bunch of goods as it were (Matthew 24:24). The Lord Jesus also said that because of the increase of wickedness that the love (agape) of most would grow cold (Matthew 24:12). The Greek word is not “many” but “most” will lose their first love because of the influence of the world’s wickedness.

We are living at the very end of the age and spiritual deception is rampant within the Body of Messiah today. Apostasy is already starting and will lead to the final apostasy which will see the words of the Lord Jesus come to pass. The only way to survive spiritually and not to succumb to spiritual seduction is to make sure we have received the anointing by the Spirit enabling us to discern truth from error, and to know everything that God wants us to know from His spiritual survival kit, being the Word of God, a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

John ends his letter with a reference to keeping ourselves from idols. The term “idols” means “false gods” and John it would seem is not speaking primarily about wooden idols as such but more so those things in this world that can become idols. For example idols can be such things as love for money, a love for the praises and adulation of man, one’s pride in their achievements or in their material possessions or love of entertainment especially over the internet. An idol is anything we erect to take centrality in our lives above God or our service for Him. It may not be harmless in itself, such as being a sports fan, but if this becomes the preoccupation over serving God then it is an idol.

Even in the Body of Messiah pastors, worship leaders, musicians and methods of worship styles can become idols where personalities prevail and spiritual discernment goes out of the window. As it has been said that today in many “happy clappy” euphoric assemblies those who come to worship leave their minds outside in the church carpark! One can even idolise their husband or wife, their boyfriend or girlfriend or a favourite hobby and if this overrides ones love for God then it is idolatry. It may even be an addiction to video or computer games of virtual reality in cyberspace. Whatever it is that turns us away from allowing the Lord Jesus to sit at the driving wheel of our lives is an idol.

Idolatry in the Bible especially in the Old Testament was breaking the first commandment of the Ten Commandments. This act of idolatry opens the way for the other nine commandments to be broken. Idolatry is like the key domino, which, when it collapses, causes all of the other dominos lining up after it also to collapse. So it is with idolatry.  Idolatry has more to do with the heart attitude than with the object itself. So John’s final admonition is to guard oneself from idols.