Scripture for Today: 1 John 5:1-12
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 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. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. 10 The one who believes 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. 11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”
John has spent this entire book articulating the intentions God has for a relationship with you and I. Intentions to help us live an incredible life with Him based around receiving and giving His love. This entire relationship has been made possible, according to John, by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, John recognizes that people may not believe him, and so he identifies three things that testify to the veracity of his claims about God and Jesus. He essentially is saying, “you don’t have to believe me, here is the proof!”
The evidence that John speaks of are the Spirit, the water and the blood. The Spirit of God testifies first in the heart and mind of every human who hears the plan that God has for us. As you have been reading through the book of 1 John, you have inevitably found words jumping off the page with profound truth and relevance. This, I would suggest, is one way the Spirit testifies to the message of Jesus Christ. He makes the truths of scripture come alive as we read them. The exact meaning of the second two things that testify to the truth of this message, the water and blood, have been debated by Christians for many years. Some suggest they are reference the humanity of Jesus, others suggest they refer to his birth and death. One scholar, William MacDonald, argues that they most likely refer to the baptism (water) and crucifixion (blood) of Jesus. This suggestion is powerful, as those events marked the beginning and ending bookends to the public ministry of Jesus. John may be saying that those two public acts were further proofs to the authenticity of the message of Jesus and support the idea that Gods plan for our salvation and life through Jesus is true. Either way, John is pointing out that there was tremendous physical and spiritual evidence to support what he was saying.
John goes on to suggest, that as powerful as these three testimonies are, there is a far more powerful proof to the plan God has for us. He says, “The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself” (vs. 10). Once we have accepted God’s plan, we are transformed by Him. In the previous passage we learned that as a result of abiding in God, the Christ follower actually has “God abide in him” (1 John 4:12). If God is living in us, we have the ultimate testimony to the truth of God’s plan. Our lives will begin to take on the very character and nature of God. In short, we will be characterized by love, the love of God. A changed life is the best proof of all.
My NEXT Step: Reflect on the evidence that your faith rests on. Why do you accept what you believe about God?
Questions to Catalyze Growth:
- What do we learn about love in this passage?
- What do we learn about the children of God in this passage?
- What evidence does John offer for the veracity of his message? Can you identify other evidence?
- Do other people see the evidence of God’s love in your life? Who sees it? What do they actually see?
- The word “life” shows up 4 times in the last two verses. What do we learn about life from these verses?