Victory & Life - by Jeff Byerley
Bible Study from 1 John 5:1-12- Victory and Life
5:1-5 Victory over the world.
1. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Verses 1-2 seem to be the key message of the study passage and of the whole chapter. Right from verse 1, John is also repelling the false claims of the Gnostics that Jesus was an ordinary man born naturally to Joseph and Mary and was not the divine Christ. Yet many people today would also argue this. The difference is God elects to put it in the heart of his followers to receive this revelation. It is not something attained by other means whether by great intellect or wisdom. When we see what God has done through Jesus, we see the love, care, grace, mercy, power and wisdom of God. It changes our whole attitude towards God, the family of God and the whole meaning of life. What command of God is too burdensome in the light of this? What can Satan possibly throw at us to take away what God himself has sovereignly provided us? In Christ, we are more than conquerors over the world (Rom 8:37).
5:6-12 The Testimony of Truth Leading to Eternal Life
6 This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify:8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given 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.
It is a powerful passage for all Christians to take to heart in that the truth of who Christ is is testified by “the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement” (verse 8). Yet it was constructed to oppose the Gnostics. They argued that God was too pure to mix with tainted earthly mortals. Accordingly they claimed there was no incarnation. The spirit of the Christ descended on the man Jesus at his baptism but left him before the mere man Jesus was crucified. But this takes away any sense of God accepting an unblemished sacrifice to take away our sins. The gospel made null and void!
John attacks these false notions by the testimony of the Spirit, the water and the blood.” It is generally agreed that the water refers to Jesus' baptism, where: (1) John the Baptist testified that Jesus was the Chosen one, the “Lamb of God”; (2) the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove (John 1:35-41) and (3) God called out“This is My beloved Son” (Matt 3:17). Of course the Gnostics would not dispute this event. But John emphasises the testimony “He did not come by water only, but by water and blood.” (V.6b). John vehemently affirms that Jesus, the Christ, also came by blood being his death on the cross. This was prophesied numerous times with also the Roman centurion acclaiming “Surely this was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39) followed by Jesus' resurrection. John solemnly warns that whoever does not have the Son does not have life (v.12).