By William V. Beasley
As far as your eternal soul is concerned, are you ready to die and stand before God in judgment? If you say “No” or “I don’t know,” then you do not “know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Your soul’s salvation may indeed depend upon your knowing concerning “eternal life.” This is, according to 1 John 5:13, something we can know.
Begotten of God (1 John 5:1)
The statement, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God” (5:1) is not speaking of a speculative, wavering belief, but of a firm persuasion that causes one to obey Jesus Christ completely. The gospel of John, written by this same John, shows that to truly believe is to obey: “He that believes on the Son has life eternal; and he that is not subject to the Son shall not see life . . .” (John 3:36, Berry’s Greek-English Interlinear, pp. 248-249). A genuine belief that “Jesus is the Christ” will cause one to turn from sins in repentance (Luke 24:47), confess the name of Jesus (Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:10), be buried with Him in baptism (Rom. 6:4) and to present his body “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God” (Rom. 12: l; see also Rev. 2:10).
Love Of God And Brethren (1 John 5:1-3)
If we love God (“him that begat” – 5:Ib), we will also love His children (“him . . . that is begotten” – 5:1b), our brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you love the children of God? John tells us how to know: “Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments” (5:2), Many of God’s commandments to us involve His other children (Matt. 18:15; Gal. 6:1, 2; Eph. 4:25). We are commanded to love one another (John 13:34; I John 3:23) and to live as an example to others (Matt. 5:13-16; Rom. 14:21). Love for God is always shown by obedience (5:3). It is not possible to love God while living in disobedience. We can test our love for God: “How much do I love God?” and “How much do I obey God?” is really one question. This, brethren, is not a subjective test.
Faith Is The Victory (1 John 3-5)
If obedience to God is a heavy burden, a cause of grief, our faith is weak. Through faith we can overcome the world, temptation, trials and afflictions. Through faith we can bear the otherwise unbearable (see Rom. 8:18).
Witnesses To Our Faith (1 John 5:6-9)
Jesus Christ came “by water and blood” (5:6). .Jesus vas first acknowledged to be the Son of God at His Baptism (Matt. 3:17), and while on the cross both blood and water flowed from His side (John 19:34). In each of those, the Holy Spirit bore witness to His Sonship. At His baptism the Spirit descended as a dove (Matt. 3:,16) and by His resurrection Jesus was shown to be the Son of God (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 3:8).
There are “three that bear record in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost” (5:7, KJV). The Father bore witness verbally twice (Matt, 3:17; 17:5) and also at the crucifixion (three hours of darkness, earthquake, rending of rocks, splitting of the veil of the temple). The Word, Jesus, bore witness to His Sonship (1 Tim. 6:13; Matt. 27:11). The Holy Spirit bore witness, as we have already noted, in the baptism and resurrection.
There are also “three that bear witness in earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood” (5:8, KJV). The Spirit continually witnesses through the word written at His direction by the apostles (John 16:13; 20:30f). The waters of baptism, not of Jesus but of penitent believers (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38) are a witness that Jesus is God’s Son. The blood, as commemorated by the fruit of the vine in the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26) is the third witness. The witness of God is greater than man’s witness (I John 5:9) and God’s witness in that Jesus is His Son.
“Witness In Him” (1 John 5:10-12)
When one truly obeys the gospel of Christ, changes are brought about in His life. These changes serve as a witness. Paul’s change in his manner of life was witness to the validity of his conversion. The change in our lives is such a witness. The lack of change or refusal to obey calls God a liar. Life is “in his Son” (5:11; see Gal. 3:27). If we do not have Jesus, we do not have life, but abide in death.
Do you know concerning eternal life? Do you believe that “Jesus is the Christ?” Do you love the brethren (i.e., love God and keep His commandments)? Is faith your victory over the world? Do you have the witness of a reformed life? Are you “in His Son” where there is life? If you do not know, you can, yea must, do something about it.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 5, p. 82
February 1, 1979