1-John - 5:1-21

Christ is Life

      1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. Whoever loves the Father also loves the child who is born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. His commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world: your faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three who testify: 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and the three agree as one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is God's testimony which he has testified concerning his Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who doesn't believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. 11 The testimony is this, that God gave to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life. He who doesn't have God's Son doesn't have the life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. 14 This is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he listens to us. 15 And if we know that he listens to us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of him. 16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life for those who sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death. I don't say that he should make a request concerning this. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death. 18 We know that whoever is born of God doesn't sin, but he who was born of God keeps himself, and the evil one doesn't touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding, that we know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Chapter In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of 1-John 5.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

This chapter embraces the following subjects:
I. A continuance of the discussion about "love," 1-John 5:1-3. These verses should have been attached to the previous chapter.
II. The victory which is achieved over the world by those who are born of God. The grand instrumentality by which this is done, is by the belief that Jesus is the Son of God, 1-John 5:4-5.
III. The evidence that Jesus "is" the Son of God; or the means by which that truth is so believed as to secure a victory over the world, 1-John 5:6-12. In this part of the chapter the apostle goes fully into the nature of this evidence, or the ways in which the Christian becomes so thoroughly convinced of it as to give to faith this power. He refers to these sources of evidence:
(a) The witness of the Spirit, 1-John 5:6.
(b) The record borne in heaven, 1-John 5:7 - if that verse is genuine.
(c) The evidence borne on earth, by the Spirit, the water, and the blood - all bearing witness to that one truth.
(d) The credit which is due to the testimony of God, or which the soul pays to it, 1-John 5:8.
(e) The fact that he who believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself, 1-John 5:10,
(f) The amount of the record, that has given to us eternal life through his Son, 1-John 5:11-12.
IV. The reason why all this was written by the apostle, 1-John 5:13. It was that they might know that they had eternal life, and might believe on the name of the Saviour.
V. The effect of this in leading us to the throne of grace, with the assurance that God will hear us, and will grant our requests, 1-John 5:14-15.
VI. The power of prayer, and the duty of praying for those who have sinned. The encouragement to this is, that there are many sins which are not unto death, and that we may hope that God will be merciful to those who have not committed the unpardonable offence, 1-John 5:16-17.
VII. A summary of all that the apostle had said to them, or of the points of which they were sure in the matter of salvation, 1-John 5:18-20. They knew that those who are born of God do not sin; that the wicked one cannot permanently injure them; that they were of God, while all the world lay in wickedness; that the Son of God had come, and that they were truly united to that Saviour who is the true God, and who is eternal life.
VIII. An exhortation to keep themselves from all idolatry, 1-John 5:21.

He that believeth is born of God; loves God and his children; and keeps his commandments, which are not grievous, 1-John 5:1-3. Faith in Christ overcomes the world, 1-John 5:4, 1-John 5:5. The three earthly and heavenly witnesses, 1-John 5:6-9. He that believeth hath the witness in himself, 1-John 5:10. God has given unto us eternal life in his Son, 1-John 5:11, 1-John 5:12. The end for which St. John writes these things, 1-John 5:13-16. The sin unto death, and the sin not unto death, 1-John 5:16, 1-John 5:17. He that is born of God sinneth not, 1-John 5:18. The whole world lieth in the wicked one, 1-John 5:19. Jesus is come to give us understanding, that we may know the true God, 1-John 5:20. All idolatry to be avoided, 1-John 5:21.

In this chapter the apostle treats of the nature of faith and love; of Christ the object of both, and of the witness that is bore to him; of the necessity of believing the testimony concerning him; of the confidence of prayer being heard, and concerning whom it should be made; of the happiness of regenerate persons, and of their duty to keep themselves from idols. Faith in Christ is the evidence of regeneration, and where that is, there will be love to the author of regeneration, and to them that are regenerated; and love to them is known by love to God, and keeping his commandments; and keeping the commandments of God, and which are not grievous, is a proof of love to God, 1-John 5:1; and whereas every regenerate man overcomes the world, it is by his faith, the evidence of his regeneration, that this victory is obtained; nor can any other man be pointed out that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God, 1-John 5:4; and Christ, the Son of God, the object of this victorious faith, is described by his coming by water and blood, of which the spirit is witness, who is a true one; and six witnesses of the truth of this and his divine sonship are produced, three in heaven, the Father, Word, and Spirit, who are the one God, and three on earth, the Spirit, water, and blood, who agree in their testimony, 1-John 5:6; wherefore this testimony concerning the Son of God ought to be received, since it is the testimony of God, which is greater than that of men; besides, he that believes in Christ has a witness of this in himself, and honours God, whereas he that believes not makes God a liar, not giving credit to his record concerning his Son; the sum of which is, that God has made a grant of eternal life to some persons, which is in his Son, which those that believe in the Son of God have, but those that do not believe in him have it not: all which show the necessity of receiving the above testimony; and the ends proposed in writing these things were, to believe in Christ, and that it might be known they had eternal life in him, 1-John 5:9, and from faith in Christ the apostle passes to confidence in prayer, as a particular effect and fruit of it: as, that whatever is asked according to the will of God is heard; and that such who are satisfied of this, that they are heard, may be assured that they have the petitions they desire to have, 1-John 5:14, and whereas it is one branch of prayer to pray for others as well as for ourselves, the apostle directs who we should pray for; for the brethren in general, and in particular for such who have sinned, but not unto death, and life shall be given to such: but as for those who have sinned unto death, he does not say prayer should be made for them, for though all unrighteousness in general is sin, yet there is a particular sin which is unto death, and is not to be prayed for, 1-John 5:16; but happy are those who are born of God, for they do not sin this sin; and through the use of the armour of God, and the power of divine grace, they keep themselves from the evil one, and he cannot come at them, to draw them into this sin; also they know that they are of God, and are distinguished from the world, which lies in wickedness; yea, they know that the Son of God is come in the flesh, and hath given them an understanding of the true God, by which they know that they are in him, and in his Son Jesus Christ, who is with him, and the divine Spirit, the one true God, and the author and giver of eternal life, 1-John 5:18; and the chapter, and with it the epistle, is concluded with an exhortation to these regenerate ones, as they had kept themselves from Satan, that they would also keep themselves from idols of all sorts, 1-John 5:21.

(1-John 5:1-5) Brotherly love is the effect of the new birth, which makes obedience to all God's commandments pleasant.
(1-John 5:6-8) Reference to witnesses agreeing to prove that Jesus, the Son of God, is the true Messiah.
(1-John 5:9-12) The satisfaction the believer has about Christ, and eternal life through him.
(1-John 5:13-17) The assurance of God's hearing and answering prayer.
(1-John 5:18-21) The happy condition of true believers, and a charge to renounce all idolatry.

SUMMARY.--How We Show that We Love God. Overcoming the World. The Three Witnesses. The Witness in Ourselves. Prayer. Praying for a Brother Who Sins Not unto Death.

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