As we are nearing the end of this letter John revisits the truths that were placed upon his heart by the Holy Spirit. The point of the letter was to convey the greatest event that can happen upon any individual in life….that they can enter through New Birth a sphere by which they can enjoy “Fellowship with God”. Humanity was designed for this encounter but lost it at the fall. It is not reinstated by humanities quest through the means of education, environment, or effort. NO, a person becomes a Christian only by being BORN of GOD. This supernatural encounter is not invisible; instead, it is visible as they show up in our TRANSFORMATION! This is noticeable in what a person who is enjoying fellowship with God love’s as well as how they love. Another characteristic that the apostle John pointed out was a simple observation that the Christian just lives victoriously. Though not immune to the difficulties and adversities of life they nonetheless live a joy filled life. Furthermore, this isn’t necessitated upon avoidance to adversity neither is it accomplished through favorable outcomes. Instead, the victorious life comes about due to three truths:
- The understanding that NOTHING will ever be successful in separating us from the only PERSON we MUST have, our Lord Jesus, whom we are told will Never Leave Us nor forsake us!
- The victory also comes by the truth that these trials are not “Random Attacks” instead they are “Planed Acts” to which we CAN “rejoice in the beauty they will produce”!
- Lastly, the truth that the three things that hinder us: The Devil, the world system, and our fleshly old nature, will be defeat once for all.
The question that John addresses in the final verses of this letter is: “How can a person be confident in this conviction that they have fellowship with God?” Humanity has always strived after “certainty”. People are always looking for something or someone that will establish “confidence” that the course in life that they have chosen is the right one. Such a quest has produced numerous counterfeits like:
- Astrology, (confidence in the stars)
- Tarot Cards, (confidence in the cards)
- Palm Readers, (confidence in our hands)
- Fortune Tellers, (confidence in those who have died).
Unfortunately, these “counterfeits to confidence” have also found the same opportunity within the walls of the church in the form of “personal prophecies” these false prophets inevitably blame the person they offered their “false assurances” too when what they “named and claimed” that was to cause confidence, NOW only brings about calamity.
How wonderful it is that God understands our need for confident in our conviction and gives us His “Divine certainty”. His answer towards our FAITH is that our assurance is based upon a FACT! As we look out through the rest of the 5th chapter of 1st John we will see that our confidence….or “our faith” is based upon “a single fact”! Furthermore this “Fact” will produces “four assurances”! In other words, our “Confidence in this FACT will cause four consequences” in our life:
- THE FACT: Vs. 6-10 Jesus is God the Son
- The Consequences: Vs. 11-21
- Vs. 11-13 Confidence in this truth will change our destiny.. Assurance of “Eternal life”.
- Vs. 14-15 Confidence in this truth will change our communication. Assurance of “Answered prayer”.
- Vs. 16-19 Confidence in this truth will change our direction. Assurance of “Continued transformation.”
- Vs. 20-21 Confidence in this truth will change our confidence. Assurance of the “Completion of our race.”
Those blessed assurances are all built upon the ONE FACT, the “Divine Certainty” that is wrapped up NOT in a principal but in a “Person” Jesus Christ who is in FACT the Son of God. It is “this fact” that will examine this morning before we look at the assurances that our confidence in this fact produces.
- Vs. 6 The Spirt is truth
Vs. 6 This verse starts with the words “This is He” and that must cause the reader to ask, “Who is He”? And the answer to that is to be found in verse 5 where the Apostle John tied the victorious Christian life is dependent upon our faith being only in the Son of God! And as I said this is only as secure as the truth that it is dependent upon. The Christian’s confidence is NOT based upon a person’s opinion or testimony as John will point out in verse 9. People will believe what others tell them all the time. So, what John offers the Christian is Someone far more reliable to establish our confidence as he reminds his readers of “Three Witness” that testified to the Deity of Jesus at his incarnation. This is why John will contrast this testimony to the testimony of the false teachers in verse 9. In this verse John uses words that were designed to counter the Cerinthian Gnostic heresy that was popular at this time. These false teachers taught that was “Only a person, only human and not God the Son. Their teaching was that the divine element the CHRIST came upon a normal human at his baptism and this divine element left Jesus before his death upon the cross.” To counter this false teaching John presents THESE truths. There are three words used here that state the truth that we need to be aware of in this verse: “This is HE WHO CAME by water and blood—-JESUS CHRIST.” Most people would focus upon the statement “by water and blood” and miss what John says in the words “HE WHO CAME—-JESUS CHRIST”. The words HE WHO CAME identify Jesus as the same person who John calls the Son of God in verse 5 and says that This “Jesus, the Son of God CAME INTO TIME AND SPACE THAT WAY!” This is further strengthened by the use of the words “Jesus Christ” which as you know is not His first and last name and instead link together the person with His purpose and having said that Jesus came into His purpose already being God the Son and it was NOT bestowed upon Him at His baptism as these false teachers claimed.
Now we examine the words “by water and blood” as we now understand the context of this passage being to bring in the truth to the Cerinthian Gnostic heresy of the divine element the CHRIST came upon a normal human at his baptism and this divine element left Jesus before his death upon the cross makes the interpretation a bit more obvious as John goes right after their false claim by mentioning “WATER” which these false teachers claimed that the divine element came upon him at “baptism”. Thus the “BLOOD” refers to Jesus bloody “death upon the cross”, where the false teachers claimed the divine element left Jesus. What John points out in verse 9 was that there were many professing Christians who were quick to trust the testimony of false teachers with regards to the identity of Jesus while not believing the God’s own testimony! We only need to read the gospel accounts to find out what the truth: There are three times that God the Father gave His testimony of His Son’s identity, and they are at the beginning of Jesus earthly ministry at His baptism, then in the middle of His ministry at Jesus transfiguration and lastly on the cross. For purpose of the text, we will look at the one that isn’t referenced in this passage first:
- Matthew 17: 5 God the Father spoke up on behalf of His Son saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” As you go back to this passage you are at once taken back by the simplicity BUT profound words Matthew writes with when he tells what transpired, “He was transfigured before them..” The word “transfigured” is the word metamorphosized in the Greek and is the same word that describes what happens to caterpillar inside a cocoon. This word describes a change on the outside that comes from the inside. What this means is extremely important as it relates to the text in 1st John and that is that Jesus’ glory was NOT reflective it was radiant. We are further told that His face shown like the sun. Again, Matthew is NOT describing something that was like a spotlight on Him; instead, Matthew proclaims that the light was not shining upon HIM it was come from within HIM! In verse 3 we are told that Moses also appeared to the three and you bible students will remember that Moses had prayed in Ex. 33:18 “Please, show me Your glory.” To Which in the 20 verse God replies, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” Well here Moses’ request is granted to these three. The miracle of the transfiguration was not this moment rather it was that He did not radiate this glory all the time. John spoke of this moment in his life in John 1:14 where he wrote, “And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” It is interesting whom God brought along to witness to the three: Moses who represented the law and Elijah who represented the prophets. In other words, the sum of O.T. revelation comes to meet Jesus as He was transfigured. That is the testimony given us in Heb. 1:1-3 where we are told that, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Moses is seen as a guy that dies and goes to glory.” I’m sure that Peter did not mean to say that all three of these guys were on the same level but that is what he said and because of this with have God the Father’s correction in verse 5 “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, Hear Him!” The God the Father breaks through everything and reaffirms the truth of His Son. You cannot put anything or any anyone on the same plain as Jesus. Peter would some time latter say that there is no other name under heaven whereby men might be saved. Jesus is the final authority; He is the Alpha and Omega of revelation. It is not Jesus plus the law or works. It is not Jesus plus my experience. It is Jesus as seen in the word of God.
Next week we will jump back into this passage and examine more in detail the other two testimonies of God concerning His Son and why this fact produces confidence that will have great consequences in our lives!