Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within him; whoever does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given about His Son.
I. THE TESTIMONY OF HIS BAPTISM. "This is he that came by water,... even Jesus Christ." The coming here meant is not that of his incarnation, his entrance into this world; but his coming forth from the retirement of Nazareth to enter upon his great redemptive mission. His coming "by water" we regard as referring to his baptism by John. That baptism was:
1. The inauguration of his great mission. When Jesus went to John for baptism he had finally left his private life, and was just about to enter upon his public ministry, and his baptism was a fitting introduction to that ministry.
2. An inauguration characterized by supernatural and Divine attestation. Probably it is for this reason that St. John here refers to our Lord's baptism: "Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him," etc. (Matthew 3:16, 17). And John the Baptist testified, "This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a Man which is become before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not; but that he should be made manifest to Israel," etc. (John 1:30-34).
II. THE TESTIMONY OF HIS CRUCIFIXION. "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood." The reference is to the blood which he shed upon the cross for the redemption of mankind. But how did his death witness to the truth that he was the Son of God?
1. By the extraordinary phenomena associated with his death. "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.... And Jesus yielded up the ghost. And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom," etc. (Matthew 27:45, 50-54; Luke 23:47, 48).
2. By the transcendent moral grandeur expressed in his death. He voluntarily submitted himself to death for the salvation of the lost world. Our Lord said, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one taketh it away from me," etc. (John 10:17, 18); "He gave himself for our sins," etc. (Galatians 1:4); "He gave himself a Ransom for us," etc. (1 Timothy 2:6); "He gave himself for us," etc. (Titus 2:14); "Christ also suffered for sins once, the Righteous for the unrighteous," etc. (1 Peter 3:18). He freely surrendered himself to the most painful and shameful death, not for himself, or for his friends, but for sinners and rebels against him and his Father, and in order that they might have eternal life. Such self-sacrifice was more than human, more than angelic, - it was strictly and properly Divine.
"This was compassion like a God,
III. THE TESTIMONY OF HIS SPIRIT. "And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth, For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one." Notice:
1. The nature of the testimony of the Holy Spirit. At our Lord's baptism the Spirit bore witness that he was the Son of God (Matthew 3:16, 17). Our Lord said, "The Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me" (John 15:26). Again he said, "The Spirit of truth... he shall glorify me; for he shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you." He bore witness to the Messiahship of Jesus by coming down, according to his promise, upon the apostles, and by making the gospel of Christ which they preached a saving power to thousands of souls (Acts 2; Acts 4:31). And he bears witness for Christ in the hearts of Christians (chapter 3:24; 1 Corinthians 12:3).
2. The value of the testimony of the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit, is the truth;" "The Spirit of truth" (John 14:17; John 15:26); "When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth." His testimony is of the utmost value and importance, because it is perfectly free from error or fraud; proceeding from the Spirit of truth, the Spirit who is the truth, it is light without any darkness, truth without any error. And his testimony is that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God.
IV. THE TESTIMONY OF HIS BELIEVING PEOPLE. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in him.... And the witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." "The object of the Divine testimony being," says Alford, "to produce faith in Christ, the apostle takes him in whom it has wrought this its effect, one who habitually believes in the Son of God, and says of such a one that he possesses the testimony in himself." All genuine believers in Jesus Christ have the witness of their own consciousness "that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." They are conscious that the life of love - love to God and. to man - is theirs. "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren." And we know that this life was quickened within us through the exercise of faith in Christ. To us individually this is the most convincing of all witnesses. "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see."
V. THE TESTIMONY OF ALL THE BEFORE-MENTIONED COMBINED. All the foregoing witnesses are united and concurrent in their evidence. "The three agree in one." We may say that the four agree in one. Their testimony is unanimous. There is no contradiction, no discrepancy in their evidence. With one voice they declare, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel." "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Notice two points in conclusion:
1. The claim which this testimony has upon, our acceptance. "if we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater," etc. We receive human testimony, notwithstanding that
(1) The witness may unintentionally be untrue. Human observations and impressions and recollections are not always accurate; hence the witness of men is sometimes undesignedly incorrect. But in the manifold and Divine testimony to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God there cannot be any inaccuracy or imperfection.
(2) The human witness may intentionally be untrue. Man may endeavour to deceive; he may willfully bear false witness. But "the witness of God is greater." The Spirit of truth cannot lie. Therefore this testimony has the most commanding claims upon our acceptance.
2. The issue involved in type non-acceptance of this testimony. "He that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he hath not believed in the witness that God hath borne concerning his Son." Is any one prepared to discredit God? Will any one implicitly charge him with falsehood? Be it ours to receive his testimony with larger, fuller confidence, and to rest in his Son with deeper, more loving, and more reverent trust. - W.J.
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God1 John 4:2, 15). Now in the apostles' days every Christian as such believed that Jesus was the Christ. By this belief and its confession he was distinguished from a Jew on the one side and a heathen on the other; and the same might be said of the confession that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, for this in the apostle's eyes would be the same as that Jesus is the Christ, for if He was the Christ, His assertion of Himself as being the true and only begotten of God, who came down from heaven, must be true, for God would never send into the world one who would so misrepresent His truth as to say that He was His special anointed messenger and representative when He was not; and so with Jesus being the Son of God of 1 John 4:14.
1. The believing here intended is that which our Lord and His apostles exhorted men to exercise, and to which the promise of salvation is always appended in the Word of God.
2. The faith here intended is the duty of all men. Jesus Christ is worthy of the confidence of all men; it is therefore the duty of men to confide in Him.
3. At the same time this faith, wherever it exists, is in every case, without exception, the gift of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. He has wrought all our works in us, and our faith too.
4. The faith intended in the text evidently rests upon a person — upon Jesus. "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." What is meant by "Jesus is the Christ," or Jesus is the Anointed? First, that He is the Prophet; secondly, that He is the Priest; thirdly, that He is the King of the Church, for in all these three senses He is the Anointed.
5. True faith is reliance. Have you confidence as well as credence? A creed will not save you, but reliance upon the anointed Saviour is the way of salvation. Moreover, true faith is not a flattering presumption, by which a man says, "I believe I am saved, for I have such delightful feelings, I have had a marvellous dream, I have felt very wonderful sensations;" for all such confidence may be nothing but sheer assumption. Faith, again, is not the assurance that Jesus died for me. On such a theory every believer in a universal atonement would necessarily be born of God, which is very far from being the case. Neither is it faith for me to be confident that I am saved, for it may be the case that I am not saved, and it can never be faith to believe a lie.
II. We must now pass on to show that WHEREVER IT EXISTS IT IS THE PROOF OF REGENERATION. "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." "Ah!" I hear thee say, poor soul, "the new birth is a great mystery; I am afraid I am not a partaker in it." You are born again if you are relying upon a crucified Saviour. Mystery or no mystery, the new birth is yours if you are a believer. Electricity is a great mystery, and you cannot see it; but the operator tells you that the electric current is moving along the wire. How does he know? "I know it by the needle." How is that? I could move your needles easily. "Yes; but do not you see the needle has made two motions to the right, one to the left, and two to the right again? I am reading a message." "But," say you, "I can see nothing in it; I could imitate that clicking and moving very easily." Yet he who is taught the art sees before him in those needles, not only electric action, but a deeper mystery still; he perceives that a mind is directing the invisible force, and speaking by means of it. Not to all, but to the initiated is it given to see the mystery hidden within the simplicity. The believer sees in the faith, which is simple as the movements of the needle, an indication that God is operating on the human mind, and the spiritual man discerns that there is an inner secret intimated thereby, which the carnal eye cannot decipher. To believe in Jesus is a better indicator of regeneration than anything else, and in no case did it ever mislead. Now let me reply to certain questions. Must not a man repent as well as believe? Reply: No man ever believed but what he repented at the same time. Faith and repentance go together. They must. If I trust Christ to save me from sin, I am at the same time repenting of sin, and my mind is changed in relation to sin, and everything else that has to do with its state. All the fruits meet for repentance are contained in faith itself.
III. NOW WHAT FLOWS OUT OF THIS? Love is the legitimate issue I We must love if we are begotten of God all those who are also born of God. First, I love God, and therefore I desire to promote God's truth, and to keep God's gospel free from taint. But then I am to love all those whom God has begotten, despite the infirmities and errors I see in them, being also myself compassed about with infirmities. Life is the reason for love, the common life which is indicated by the common faith in the dear Redeemer is to bind us to each other.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. FAITH — "whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ." Jesus is found to be all that the Scripture predictions declared the Messiah should be. They who discover this harmony can say, "we have found the Messiahs, which is, being interpreted, the Christ." Even in this state of mind there are the elements of rich promise, but there is far more in the reception of Jesus as the Christ. He is acknowledged, not merely in general terms, as a Divine Saviour; but He is appreciated in the special offices which He bears for the redemption of men.
II. THE REGENERATION CONNECTED WITH IT — "is born of God." Faith and regeneration are united. This view is brought out still more fully in John 1:12, 13. We ask what must be the moral effect produced by accepting Christ in His gracious offices? It is plain it. must be vital and saving. We see at once how just and reasonable is the representation of the text — that faith and regeneration are united.
III. IN EVERY MIND THUS INFLUENCED THE LOVE OF GOD OBTAINS A PROMINENT PLACE. "Everyone that loveth Him that begat." It must be so, considering the change that has been produced. It is a new birth. God is seen to be the only Master who can claim unreserved obedience. A mind thus enlightened must love God. Especially must it be so when it is considered that He is the Author of this change. In His gracious love He has been pleased to put forth His power, and create the soul anew in righteousness. How calculated is such a contemplation to call forth the warmest exercise of love! Add to this, that when such a change is effected in the soul by God, it brings us into a new relation to Him, and one that eminently calls forth our love. It is that of a child. It is natural to a child to love his parent. Nor let it be overlooked how God is continually increasing His claims on His own children. They are constrained to say (Ephesians 1:3).
IV. THE LOVE OF GOD IS ACCOMPANIED BY THE LOVE OF MAN. "Everyone that loveth Him that begat, loveth Him also that is begotten of Him."
(J. Morgan, D. D.)
(H. W. Beecher.)
TopicsFALSE, Anyone, Believe, Believed, Believes, Believeth, Believing, Borne, Doesn't, Faith, Heart, Liar, Makes, Record, Refused, Testified, Testimony, Witness, Witnessed
Outline1. He who loves God loves his children, and keeps his commandments;
3. which to the faithful are not grievous.
9. Jesus is the Son of God;
14. and able to hear our prayers.
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 John 5:10
5017 heart, renewal
LibraryThe World Our Enemy.
"We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness."--1 John v. 19. Few words are of more frequent occurrence in the language of religion than "the world;" Holy Scripture makes continual mention of it, in the way of censure and caution; in the Service for Baptism it is described as one of three great enemies of our souls, and in the ordinary writings and conversation of Christians, I need hardly say, mention is made of it continually. Yet most of us, it would appear, have very …
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII
A Call to Backsliders
On the Trinity
The Witness of the Spirit
The victory of Faith.
The victory of Faith
Alive or Dead --Which?
Faith and Regeneration
The Three Witnesses
The Blessing of Full Assurance
1 John 5:4-5. victory
"Wash You, Make You Clean; Put Away the Evil of Your Doings from Before Mine Eyes; Cease to do Evil,"
The Unity of the Divine Essence, and the Trinity of Persons.
Of the Unity of the Godhead and the Trinity of Persons
The victory of Faith
But if Our Sense is not Able Till after Long Expectation to Perceive what The...
The Apostolic Experience
The Ordinances of the New Testament.
Assurance of Salvation.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
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