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1 John Chapter Five


1 John 5

But a danger exists on the other side. It may be, that we love the brethren because they are pleasant to us; they furnish us with agreeable society, in which our conscience is not wounded. A counter-proof is therefore given us. "Hereby we know that we love the children of God, if we love God and keep his commandments." It is not as children of God that I love the brethren, unless I love God of whom they are born. I may love them individually as companions, or I may love some among them, but not as the children of God, if I do not love God Himself. If God Himself has not His true place in my heart, that which bears the name of love to the brethren shuts out God; and that in so much the more complete and subtle manner, because our link with them bears the sacred name of brotherly love.

Now there is a touchstone even for this love of God namely, obedience to His commands. If I walk with the brethren themselves in disobedience to their Father, it is certainly not because they are His children that I love them. If it were because I loved the Father and because they were His children, I should assuredly like them to obey Him. To walk then in disobedience with the children of God, under the pretext of brotherly love, is not to love them as the children of God. If I loved them as such, I should love their Father and my Father, and I could not walk in disobedience to Him and call it a proof that I loved them because they were His.

If I also loved them because they were His children, I should love all who are such, because the same motive engages me to love them all.

The universality of this love with regard to all the children of God; its exercise in practical obedience to His will: these are the marks of true brotherly love. That which has not these marks is a mere carnal party spirit, clothing itself with the name and the form of brotherly love. Most certainly I do not love the Father if I encourage His children in disobedience to Him.

Now there is an obstacle to this obedience, and that is the world. The world has its forms, which are very far from obedience to God When we are occupied only with Him and His will, the world's enmity soon breaks out. It also acts, by its comforts and its delights, on the heart of man as walking after the flesh. In short, the world and the commandments of God are in opposition to each other; but the commandments of God are not grievous to those who are born of Him, for he who is born of God overcomes the world. He possesses a nature and a principle that surmount the difficulties that the world opposes to his walk. His nature is the divine nature, for he is born of God; his principle is that of faith. His nature is insensible to the attractions which this world offers to the flesh, and that because it has, altogether apart from this world, a spirit independent of it, and an object of its own which governs it. Faith directs its steps, but faith does not see the world, nor that which is present. Faith believes that Jesus, whom the world rejected, is the Son of God. The world therefore has lost its power over it. Its affections and its trust are fixed on Jesus, who was crucified, owning Him as the Son of God. Thus the believer, detached from the world, has the boldness of obedience, and does the will of God which abides for ever.

The apostle sums up, in a few words, the testimony of God respecting the life eternal which He has given us.

This life is not in the first Adam, it is in the Second-in the Son of God. Man, as born of Adam, does not possess it, does not acquire it. He ought indeed to have gained life under the law. This characterised it, "Do this and live." But man did not and could not.

God gives him eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life, and he who has not the Son has not life.

Now what is the testimony rendered to this gift of life eternal? The witnesses are three: the Spirit, the water, and the blood. This Jesus, the Son of God, is He who came by water and by blood; not by water only, but by water and by blood. The Spirit also bears witness because He is truth. That to which they bear witness is that God has given us eternal life, and that this life is in His Son. But whence did this water and the blood flow? It was from the pierced side of Jesus. It is the judgment of death pronounced and executed (compare Rom. 8:3) on the flesh, on all that is of the old man, on the first Adam. Not that the sin of the first Adam was in the flesh of Christ, but that Jesus died in it as a sacrifice for sin. "In that he died he died unto sin once." Sin in the flesh was condemned in the death of Christ in the flesh. There was no other remedy. The flesh could not be modified nor subjected to the law. The life of the first Adam was nothing but sin in the principle of its will; it could not be subject to the law. Our purification as to the old man is its death. He who is dead is justified from sin. We are therefore baptised to have part in the death of Jesus. We are crucified with Christ; nevertheless we live, but not we it is Christ who lives in us. Participating in the life of Christ risen, we reckon ourselves as dead with Him; for why live of this new life, this life of the second Adam, if we could live before God in the life of the first Adam? No; by living in Christ we have accepted by faith the sentence of death, passed by God on the first Adam. This is christian purification: even the death of the old man, because we are made partakers of life in Christ Jesus. "We are dead "-crucified with Him We need a perfect purification before God; we have it; for that which was impure no longer exists: what exists, as born of God, is perfectly pure.

He came by water-a powerful testimony, as flowing from the side of a dead Christ, that life is not to be sought for in the first Adam; for Christ, as coming for man, taking up his cause, the Christ come in the flesh, had to die: else He had remained alone in His own purity. Life is to be sought for in the Son of God risen from among the dead. Purification is by death.

But it was not by water only that He came; it was also by blood. The expiation of our sins was as necessary as the moral purification of our soul. We possess it in the blood of a slain Christ. Death alone could expiate them and blot them out. And Jesus died for us. The guilt of the believer no longer exists before God; Christ has put Himself in his place. The life is on high, and we are raised up together with Him, God having forgiven us all our trespasses. Expiation is by death.

The third witness is the Spirit: put first in the order of their testimony on earth, as He alone gives witness in power so that we know the other two; last, in their historic order, for such in fact was that order, death first and only thereafter the Holy Ghost. [1] In effect it is the testimony of the Spirit, His presence in us, which enables us to appreciate the value of the water and the blood. We should never have understood the practical bearing of the death of Christ, if the Holy Ghost were not to the new man a revealing power of its import and its efficacy. Now the Holy Ghost came down from a risen and ascended Christ; and thus we know that eternal life is given us in the Son of God.

The testimony of these three witnesses meets together in this same truth, namely, that grace-that God Himself-has given us eternal life; and that this life is in the Son. Man had nothing to do in it, except by his sins. It is the gift of God. And the life that He gives is in the Son. The testimony is the testimony of God. How blessed to have such a testimony, and that from God Himself, and in perfect grace!

We have then the three things: the cleansing, the expiation, and the presence of the Holy Ghost as the witness that eternal life is given us in the Son, who was slain for man when in relationship with man here below. He could but die for man s he is. Life is elsewhere, namely, in Himself.

Here the doctrine of the epistle ends. The apostle wrote these things in order that they who believed in the Son might know that they had eternal life. He does not give means of examination to make the faithful doubt whether they had eternal life; but--seeing that there were seducers who endeavoured to turn them aside as deficient in something important, and who presented themselves as possessing some superior light-he points out to them the marks of life, in order to re-assure them; developing the excellence of that life, and of their position as enjoying it; and in order that they might understand that God had given it to them, and that they might be in no wise shaken in mind.

He then speaks of the practical confidence in God which flows from all this-confidence exercised with a view to all our wants here below, all that our hearts desire to ask of God. We know that He always listens to everything that we ask in accordance with His will. Precious privilege! The Christian himself would not desire anything to be granted him that was contrary to the will of God. But for everything that is according to His will, His ear is ever open to us, ever attentive. He always hearkens; He is not like man, often occupied so that he cannot listen, or careless so that he will not. God always hears us, and assuredly He does not fail in power: the attention He pays us is a proof of His good-will. We receive therefore the things that we ask of Him. He grants our requests. What a sweet relationship! What a high privilege! And it is one also of which we may avail ourselves in charity for others.

If a brother sins and God chastises him, we may petition for that brother, and life shall be restored him. Chastisement tends to the death of the body (compare Job 33, 34; James 5:14, 16); we pray for the offender and he is healed. Otherwise the sickness takes its course. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is such sin as is unto death. This does not seem to me to be some particular sin, but all sin which has such a character that, instead of awakening christian charity, it awakens christian indignation. Thus Ananias and Sapphira committed a sin unto death. It was a lie, but a lie under such circumstances that it excited horror rather than compassion. We can easily understand this in other cases.

Thus far as to sin and its chastisement. But the positive side is also brought before us. As born of God, we do not commit sin at all, we keep ourselves, and "the wicked one toucheth us not." He has nothing wherewith to entice the new man. The enemy has no objects of attraction to the divine nature in us, which is occupied, by the action of the Holy Ghost, with divine and heavenly things, or with the will of God. Our part therefore is so to live-the new man occupied with the things of God and of the Spirit.

The apostle ends his epistle by specifying these two things: our nature, our mode of being, as Christians; and the object that has been communicated to us in order to produce and nourish faith.

We know that we are of God; and that not in a vague way, but in contrast with all that is not us-a principle of immense importance, which makes christian position exclusive by.its very nature. It is not merely good, or bad, or better; but it is of God. And nothing which is not of God (that is to say, which has not its origin in Him) could have this character and this place. The whole world lies in the wicked one.

The Christian has the certainty of these two things by virtue of his nature. which discerns and knows that which is of God, and thereby judges all that is opposed to it. The two are not merely good and bad, but of God and of the enemy. This as to the nature.

With regard to the object of this nature, we know that the Son of God is come-a truth of immense importance also. It is not merely that there is good and that there is evil; but the Son of God has Himself come into this scene of misery, to present an object to our hearts. But there is more than this. He has given us an understanding that in the midst of all the falsehood of this world, of which Satan is the prince, we may know Him that is true-the true One. Immense privilege which alters our whole position! The power of the world by which Satan blinded us is completely broken, and we are brought into the true light; and in that light we see and know Him who is true, who is in Himself perfection; that by which all things can be perfectly discerned and judged according to truth. But this is not all. We are in this true One, partakers of His nature, and abiding in Him, and in order that we may enjoy the source of truth. [2] Now it is in Jesus that we are. It is thus, it is in Him, that we are in connection with the perfections of God.

We may again remark here-that which gives a character to the whole Epistle-the manner in which God and Christ are united in the apostle's mind. It is on account of this that he so frequently says, "He," when we must understand "Christ," although he had previously spoken of God: for instance, chapter 5:20. And here, "We are in him that is true [that is to say], in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."

Behold then the divine links of our position! We are in Him who is true; this is the nature of Him in whom we are. Now, in reality as to the nature, it is God Himself; as to the Person, and as to the manner of being in Him, it is His Son Jesus Christ. It is in the Son, in the Son as man, that we are in fact as to His Person; but He is the true God, the veritable God. Nor is this all; but we have life in Him. He is also the eternal life, so that we possess it in Him. We know the true God, we have eternal life.

All that is outside this is an idol. May God preserve us from it, and teach us by His grace to preserve ourselves from it! This gives occasion to the Spirit of God to speak of "the truth" in the two short Epistles that -follow.


[1] Even the orderly reception of the Holy Ghost was so. (see Acts 2:38)

[2] I have already noticed this passage as being a kind of key to the way we really know God, and dwell in Him. It speaks of God as Him we know, in whom we are, explaining it by saying, that it is in His Son Jesus Christ our Lord; only here, as follows in the text, it is truth and not love.

── John DarbySynopsis of 1 John


1 John 5

Chapter Contents

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

Commentary on 1 John 5:1-5

(Read 1 John 5:1-5)

True love for the people of God, may be distinguished from natural kindness or party attachments, by its being united with the love of God, and obedience to his commands. The same Holy Spirit that taught the love, will have taught obedience also; and that man cannot truly love the children of God, who, by habit, commits sin or neglects known duty. As God's commands are holy, just, and good rules of liberty and happiness, so those who are born of God and love him, do not count them grievous, but lament that they cannot serve him more perfectly. Self-denial is required, but true Christians have a principle which carries them above all hinderances. Though the conflict often is sharp, and the regenerate may be cast down, yet he will rise up and renew his combat with resolution. But all, except believers in Christ, are enslaved in some respect or other, to the customs, opinions, or interests of the world. Faith is the cause of victory, the means, the instrument, the spiritual armour by which we overcome. In and by faith we cleave to Christ, in contempt of, and in opposition to the world. Faith sanctifies the heart, and purifies it from those sensual lusts by which the world obtains sway and dominion over souls. It has the indwelling Spirit of grace, which is greater than he who dwells in the world. The real Christian overcomes the world by faith; he sees, in and by the life and conduct of the Lord Jesus on earth, that this world is to be renounced and overcome. He cannot be satisfied with this world, but looks beyond it, and is still tending, striving, and pressing toward heaven. We must all, after Christ's example, overcome the world, or it will overcome us to our ruin.

Commentary on 1 John 5:6-8

(Read 1 John 5:6-8)

We are inwardly and outwardly defiled; inwardly, by the power and pollution of sin in our nature. For our cleansing there is in and by Christ Jesus, the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Some think that the two sacraments are here meant: baptism with water, as the outward sign of regeneration, and purifying from the pollution of sin by the Holy Spirit; and the Lord's supper, as the outward sign of the shedding Christ's blood, and the receiving him by faith for pardon and justification. Both these ways of cleansing were represented in the old ceremonial sacrifices and cleansings. This water and blood include all that is necessary to our salvation. By the water, our souls are washed and purified for heaven and the habitation of saints in light. By the blood, we are justified, reconciled, and presented righteous to God. By the blood, the curse of the law being satisfied, the purifying Spirit is obtained for the internal cleansing of our natures. The water, as well as the blood, came out of the side of the sacrificed Redeemer. He loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, Ephesians 5:25-27. This was done in and by the Spirit of God, according to the Saviour's declaration. He is the Spirit of God, and cannot lie. Three had borne witness to these doctrines concerning the person and the salvation of Christ. The Father, repeatedly, by a voice from heaven declared that Jesus was his beloved Son. The Word declared that He and the Father were One, and that whoever had seen him had seen the Father. And the Holy Ghost, who descended from heaven and rested on Christ at his baptism; who had borne witness to Him by all the prophets; and gave testimony to his resurrection and mediatorial office, by the gift of miraculous powers to the apostles. But whether this passage be cited or not, the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity stands equally firm and certain. To the doctrine taught by the apostles, respecting the person and salvation of Christ, there were three testimonies. 1. The Holy Spirit. We come into the world with a corrupt, carnal disposition, which is enmity to God. This being done away by the regeneration and new-creating of souls by the Holy Spirit, is a testimony to the Saviour. 2. The water: this sets forth the Saviour's purity and purifying power. The actual and active purity and holiness of his disciples are represented by baptism. 3. The blood which he shed: and this was our ransom, this testifies for Jesus Christ; it sealed up and finished the sacrifices of the Old Testament. The benefits procured by his blood, prove that he is the Saviour of the world. No wonder if he that rejects this evidence is judged a blasphemer of the Spirit of God. These three witnesses are for one and the same purpose; they agree in one and the same thing.

Commentary on 1 John 5:9-12

(Read 1 John 5:9-12)

Nothing can be more absurd than the conduct of those who doubt as to the truth of Christianity, while in the common affairs of life they do not hesitate to proceed on human testimony, and would deem any one out of his senses who declined to do so. The real Christian has seen his guilt and misery, and his need of such a Saviour. He has seen the suitableness of such a Saviour to all his spiritual wants and circumstances. He has found and felt the power of the word and doctrine of Christ, humbling, healing, quickening, and comforting his soul. He has a new disposition, and new delights, and is not the man that he formerly was. Yet he finds still a conflict with himself, with sin, with the flesh, the world, and wicked powers. But he finds such strength from faith in Christ, that he can overcome the world, and travel on towards a better. Such assurance has the gospel believer: he has a witness in himself, which puts the matter out of doubt with him, except in hours of darkness or conflict; but he cannot be argued out of his belief in the leading truths of the gospel. Here is what makes the unbeliever's sin so awful; the sin of unbelief. He gives God the lie; because he believes not the record that God gave of his Son. It is in vain for a man to plead that he believes the testimony of God in other things, while he rejects it in this. He that refuses to trust and honour Christ as the Son of God, who disdains to submit to his teaching as Prophet, to rely on his atonement and intercession as High Priest, or to obey him as King, is dead in sin, under condemnation; nor will any outward morality, learning, forms, notions, or confidences avail him.

Commentary on 1 John 5:13-17

(Read 1 John 5:13-17)

Upon all this evidence, it is but right that we believe on the name of the Son of God. Believers have eternal life in the covenant of the gospel. Then let us thankfully receive the record of Scripture. Always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labour is not in vain in the Lord. The Lord Christ invites us to come to him in all circumstances, with our supplications and requests, notwithstanding the sin that besets us. Our prayers must always be offered in submission to the will of God. In some things they are speedily answered; in others they are granted in the best manner, though not as requested. We ought to pray for others, as well as for ourselves. There are sins that war against spiritual life in the soul, and the life above. We cannot pray that the sins of the impenitent and unbelieving should, while they are such, be forgiven them; or that mercy, which supposes the forgiveness of sins, should be granted to them, while they wilfully continue such. But we may pray for their repentance, for their being enriched with faith in Christ, and thereupon for all other saving mercies. We should pray for others, as well as for ourselves, beseeching the Lord to pardon and recover the fallen, as well as to relieve the tempted and afflicted. And let us be truly thankful that no sin, of which any one truly repents, is unto death.

Commentary on 1 John 5:18-21

(Read 1 John 5:18-21)

All mankind are divided into two parties or dominions; that which belongs to God, and that which belongs to the wicked one. True believers belong to God: they are of God, and from him, and to him, and for him; while the rest, by far the greater number, are in the power of the wicked one; they do his works, and support his cause. This general declaration includes all unbelievers, whatever their profession, station, or situation, or by whatever name they may be called. The Son leads believers to the Father, and they are in the love and favour of both; in union with both, by the indwelling and working of the Holy Spirit. Happy are those to whom it is given to know that the Son of God is come, and to have a heart to trust in and rely on him that is true! May this be our privilege; we shall thus be kept from all idols and false doctrines, and from the idolatrous love of worldly objects, and be kept by the power of God, through faith, unto eternal salvation. To this living and true God, be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 1 John


1 John 5

Verse 1

[1] Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

The scope and sum of this whole paragraph appears from the conclusion of it, 1 John 5:13: "These things have I written to you who believe, that ye may know that ye who believe have eternal life." So faith is the first and last point with St. John also.

Every one who loveth — God that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him - Hath a natural affection to all his brethren.

Verse 2

[2] By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

Hereby we know — This is a plain proof.

That we love the children of God — As his children.

Verse 3

[3] For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

For this is the love of God — The only sure proof of it.

That we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous — To any that are born of God.

Verse 4

[4] For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

For whatsoever — This expression implies the most unlimited universality.

Is born of God overcometh the world — Conquers whatever it can lay in the way, either to allure or fright the children of God from keeping his commandments.

And this is the victory — The grand means of overcoming.

Even our faith — Seeing all things are possible to him that believeth.

Verse 5

[5] Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Who is he that overcometh the world — That is superior to all worldly care, desire, fear? Every believer, and none else. The seventh verse 1 John 5:7 (usually so reckoned) is a brief recapitulation of all which has been before advanced concerning the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. It is cited, in conjunction with the sixth and eighth, 1 John 5:6,8 by Tertullian, Cyprian, and an uninterrupted train of Fathers. And, indeed, what the sun is in the world, what the heart is in a man, what the needle is in the mariner's compass, this verse is in the epistle. By this the sixth, eighth, and ninth verses 1 John 5:6,8,9 are indissolubly connected; as will be evident, beyond all contradiction, when they are accurately considered.

Verse 6

[6] This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

This is he — St. John here shows the immovable foundation of that faith that Jesus is the Son of God; not only the testimony of man, but the firm, indubitable testimony of God.

Who came — Jesus is he of whom it was promised that he should come; and who accordingly, is come. And this the Spirit, and the water, and the blood testify.

Even Jesus — Who, coming by water and blood, is by this very thing demonstrated to be the Christ.

Not by the water only — Wherein he was baptized.

But by the water and the blood — Which he shed when he had finished the work his Father had given him to do. He not only undertook at his baptism "to fulfil all righteousness," but on the cross accomplished what he had undertaken; in token whereof, when all was finished, blood and water came out of his side. And it is the Spirit who likewise testifieth - Of Jesus Christ, namely, by Moses and all the prophets, by John the Baptist, by all the apostles, and in all the writings of the New Testament. And against his testimony there can be no exception, because the Spirit is truth - The very God of truth.

Verse 7

[7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

What Bengelius has advanced, both concerning the transposition of these two verses, and the authority of the controverted verse, partly in his "Gnomon," and partly in his "Apparatus Criticus," will abundantly satisfy any impartial person.

For there are three that testify — Literally, testifying, or bearing witness. The participle is put for the noun witnesses, to intimate that the act of testifying, and the effect of it, are continually present. Properly, persons only can testify; and that three are described testifying on earth, as if they were persons, is elegantly subservient to the three persons testifying in heaven.

The Spirit — In the word, confirmed by miracles.

The water — Of baptism, wherein we are dedicated to the Son, (with the Father and Spirit,) typifying his spotless purity, and the inward purifying of our nature.

And the blood — Represented in the Lord's supper, and applied to the consciences of believer. And these three harmoniously agree in one - In bearing the same testimony,-that Jesus Christ is the divine, the complete, the only Saviour of the world.

Verse 8

[8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

And there are three that testify in heaven — The testimony of the Spirit, the water, and the blood, is by an eminent gradation corroborated by three, who give a still greater testimony.

The Father — Who clearly testified of the Son, both at his baptism and at his transfiguration.

The Word — Who testified of himself on many occasions, while he was on earth; and again, with still greater solemnity, after his ascension into heaven, Revelation 1:5; Revelation 19:13.

And the Spirit — Whose testimony was added chiefly after his glorification, 1 John 2:27; John 15:26; Acts 5:32; Romans 8:16.

And these three are one — Even as those two, the Father and the Son, are one, John 10:30. Nothing can separate the Spirit from the Father and the Son. If he were not one with the Father and the Son, the apostle ought to have said, The Father and the Word, who are one, and the Spirit, are two. But this is contrary to the whole tenor of revelation. It remains that these three are one. They are one in essence, in knowledge, in will, and in their testimony. It is observable, the three in the one verse are opposed, not conjointly, but severally, to the three in the other: as if he had said, Not only the Spirit testifies, but also the Father, John 5:37; not only the water, but also the Word, John 3:11; John 10:41; not only the blood, but also the Holy Ghost, John 15:26, etc. It must now appear, to every reasonable man, how absolutely necessary the eighth verse is 1 John 5:8. St. John could not think of the testimony of the Spirit, and water, and blood, and subjoin, "The testimony of God is greater," without thinking also of the testimony of the Son and Holy Ghost; yea, and mentioning it in so solemn an enumeration. Nor can any possible reason be devised, why, without three testifying in heaven, he should enumerate three, and no more, who testify on earth. The testimony of all is given on earth, not in heaven; but they who testify are part on earth, part in heaven. The witnesses who are on earth testify chiefly concerning his abode on earth, though not excluding his state of exaltation: the witnesses who are in heaven testify chiefly concerning his glory at God's right hand, though not excluding his state of humiliation. The seventh verse, therefore, with the sixth, 1 John 5:7,6 contains a recapitulation of the whole economy of Christ, from his baptism to pentecost; the eighth, 1 John 5:8 the sum of the divine economy, from the time of his exaltation. Hence it farther appears, that this position of the seventh 1 John 5:7,8 and eighth verses, which places those who testify on earth before those who testify in heaven, is abundantly preferable to the other, and affords a gradation admirably suited to the subject.

Verse 9

[9] If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

If we receive the testimony of men — As we do continually, and must do in a thousand instances.

The testimony of God is greater — Of higher authority, and much more worthy to be received; namely, this very testimony which God the Father, together with the Word and the Spirit, hath testified of the Son, as the Saviour of the world.

Verse 10

[10] He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the testimony — The dear evidence of this, in himself: he that believeth not God, in this, hath made him a liar; because he supposes that to be false which God has expressly testified.

Verse 11

[11] And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

And this is the sum of that testimony, that God hath given us a title to, and the real beginning of, eternal life; and that this is purchased by, and treasured up in, his Son, who has all the springs and the fulness of it in himself, to communicate to his body, the church, first in grace and then in glory.

Verse 12

[12] He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

It plainly follows, he that hath the Son - Living and reigning in him by faith. Hath this life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not this life - Hath no part or lot therein. In the former clause, the apostle says simply, the Son; because believers know him: in the latter, the Son of God; that unbelievers may know how great a blessing they fall short of.

Verse 13

[13] These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

These things have I written — In the introduction, 1 John 1:4, he said, I write: now, in the close, I have written. That ye may know - With a fuller and stronger assurance, that ye have eternal life.

Verse 14

[14] And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

And we — Who believe. Have this farther confidence in him, that he heareth - That is, favourably regards, whatever prayer we offer in faith, according to his revealed will.

Verse 15

[15] And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

We have — Faith anticipates the blessings.

The petitions which we asked of him — Even before the event. And when the event comes, we know it comes in answer to our prayer.

Verse 16

[16] If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

This extends to things of the greatest importance.

If any one see his brother — That is. any man.

Sin a sin which is not unto death — That is, any sin but total apostasy from both the power and form of godliness.

Let him ask, and God will give him life — Pardon and spiritual life, for that sinner.

There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for that — That is, let him not pray for it. A sin unto death may likewise mean, one which God has determined to punish with death.

Verse 17

[17] All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

All deviation from perfect holiness is sin; but all sin is not unpardonable.

Verse 18

[18] We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

Yet this gives us no encouragement to sin: on the contrary, it is an indisputable truth, he that is born of God - That sees and loves God.

Sinneth not — So long as that loving faith abides in him, he neither speaks nor does anything which God hath forbidden.

He keepeth himself — Watching unto prayer. And, while he does this, the wicked one toucheth him not - So as to hurt him.

Verse 19

[19] And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

We know that we are children of God — By the witness and the fruit of his Spirit, 1 John 3:24.

But the whole world — All who have not his Spirit, not only is "touched" by him, but by idolatry, fraud, violence lasciviousness, impiety, all manner of wickedness.

Lieth in the wicked one — Void of life, void of sense. In this short expression the horrible state of the world is painted in the most lively colours; a comment on which we have in the actions, conversations, contracts, quarrels, and friendships of worldly men.

Verse 20

[20] And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

And we know — By all these infallible proofs.

That the Son of God is come — Into the world. And he hath given us a spiritual understanding, that we may know him, the true one - "The faithful and true witness." And we are in the true one - As branches in the vine, even in Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. This Jesus is the only living and true God, together with the father and the Spirit, and the original fountain of eternal life. So the beginning and the end of the epistle agree.

Verse 21

[21] Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Keep yourselves from idols — From all worship of false gods, from all worship of images or of any creature, and from every inward idol; from loving, desiring, fearing anything more than God. Seek all help and defence from evil, all happiness in the true God alone.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 1 John


Chapter 5. The Victory of spiritual Fellowship

Keep Yourselves
Away from Idols

I. Life through Faith

  1. Born of God
  2. Love Everyone Born of God
  3. Overcome the World

II. Accept Testimony by Faith

  1. The Spirit, the Water and the Blood
  2. God's Testimony
  3. Eternal Life

III. Convinced by Faith

  1. Knowing that We have Eternal Life
  2. Having Whatever We Asked
  3. Overcome the Evil

── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament

Three Tests Of Authentic Christianity (5:1-5)
1. As we began our study of First John, it was noted that it had a 
   different objective than the Gospel of John...
   a. John wrote his gospel in order that one might "have" eternal life
      - Jn 20:30-31
   b. His epistle was written so that one might "know" they have 
      eternal life - 1 Jn 5:13
2. Throughout his epistle, then, John has mentioned the kind of things
   that provide evidence that one is truly a child of God, possessing 
   fellowship with the Father and the Son - e.g., 1 Jn 3:10
3. There are actually several tests that John has been applying by 
   which we can know that we have eternal life, and in the text for our
   study (1 Jn 5:1-5), they are mentioned together (READ)
[In these verses there are "Three Tests Of Authentic Christianity",
and the first one is...]
      1. As the Christ - 1 Jn 5:1a
      2. As the Son of God - 1 Jn 5:5b
      3. Who has come in the flesh - cf. 1 Jn 4:2
      1. Makes one a liar and antichrist - cf. 1 Jn 2:22
      2. Makes fellowship with the Father and the Son impossible - cf. 
         1 Jn 2:22-23; 2 Jn 7-9
      1. Necessary for one to be "born of God" - 1 Jn 5:1a
         a. Just as faith in God is necessary to please Him - He 11:6
         b. So faith in Jesus is necessary to experience eternal life -
            cf. Jn 8:24; Ac 8:36-37
      2. Necessary for one to "overcome the world" - 1 Jn 5:4-5
         a. We can overcome the world only through the One who lives in
            us - cf. 1 Jn 4:4
         b. But with such strength, we can do anything God desires of 
            us - cf. Ph 4:13
[Without faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God who came in the 
flesh, we cannot be born of God and so live so as to overcome the 
But is "belief in Jesus" the only test of authentic Christianity?  
Not according to Jesus, as found in Jn 8:30-31.  As taught by both 
Jesus and His beloved disciple John, there is also...]
      1. A mark of discipleship - Jn 13:34-35
      2. A commandment to prove we are His friends - Jn 15:12-14,17
      1. As evidence of abiding in the light - 1 Jn 2:10
      2. As evidence of being a child of God - 1 Jn 3:10
      3. As evidence of having passed from death to live - 1 Jn 3:14
      4. As evidence of knowing God and being born of God - 1 Jn 4:7-8
      1. John describes it as a necessary corollary to loving God - 
         1 Jn 5:1a
         a. If you love God who brings forth children...
         b. ...then you must love those children who have come from 
      2. John reveals how we can be sure that we love God's children 
         (i.e., have brotherly love):  by loving God and keeping His 
         commandments - 1 Jn 5:2
         a. I may claim to love my brethren...
         b. But if I do not love God and keep His commandments, my 
            claim is a shallow one!
[One who is truly "born of God" not only believes in Jesus, then, but 
also loves the children of God.
In discussing the necessity of loving the children of God, John 
mentioned keeping the commandments of God.  This leads to the third 
test of authentic Christianity, that of...]
      1. As essential to having fellowship with the Father - 1 Jn 1:6-7
      2. As essential to knowing Jesus - 1 Jn 2:3-4
      3. As essential to loving God - 1 Jn 2:5
      4. As essential to abiding in Jesus - 1 Jn 2:6
      5. As essential to being a child of God - 1 Jn 3:10
      6. As essential to having our prayers answered - 1 Jn 3:22
      1. Loving the children of God - 1 Jn 5:2
      2. Loving God Himself - 1 Jn 5:3a
      1. The commandments of God are not "burdensome" - 1 Jn 5:3b
      2. Though he had served the Lord for many years (possibly 50 or 
         more), he had not found the commandments "grievous" (KJV)
      3. His attitude toward "commandment-keeping" was like that of 
         David's - Ps 19:7-11
1. In these three areas, then, we find the proof of authentic 
   a. Belief in Jesus as the Son of God who came in the flesh
   b. Love for the brethren
   c. Obedience in keeping the commandments of God
2. It is interesting that today...
   a. Many people do not have any problem with the first two (belief 
      and love)
   b. But will often balk when told they need to be obedient to the 
      commands of Jesus Christ ("Oh, you are just being legalistic!")
3. But if we really love God and His children, if we really believe in 
   Jesus as the Son of God who came in the flesh and died for our sins,
   then the commandments of the Lord will not be grievous...
           "If you love Me, keep My commandments." - Jn 14:15
Are we passing the tests of authentic Christianity?


Witnesses For Jesus Christ (5:6-10)
1. Earlier in his epistle, John stressed two important things...
   a. That Jesus Christ has come in the flesh - 1 Jn 4:2
   b. That those who believe Jesus Christ has come in the flesh are "of
      God"; indeed, they have been "born of God" - 1 Jn 4:2; 5:1a
2. In the text for our study (1 Jn 5:6-10), John offers several 
   "witnesses" in support of these claims made about Jesus...
   a. The key word is "witness", and in various forms is found eight 
      times in our text (nine, if you count verse 8)
   b. The word in Greek  is "martureo" {mar-too-reh'-o}, and it means:
      1) "to be a witness, i.e. testify"
      2) "to give evidence for, to bear record:
[In our lesson we shall briefly list these "Witnesses For Jesus Christ"
and see how each of them has their part in providing evidence about 
We begin with two witnesses, actually, who together tell us something 
about Jesus coming in the flesh...]
      1. Evidently there was a doctrine that denied Jesus Christ as 
         coming in the flesh - 1 Jn 4:1-3; cf. 2 Jn 7
      2. A heretical movement later known as Gnosticism was developing
         at this time
      3. One representative of Gnosticism, a man named Cerinthus, 
         a. That the divine Christ descended upon Jesus at the time of
            his baptism
         b. And then left him before he died on the cross
      4. Thus the Gnostics claimed that the "Christ" did not experience
      1. The "water" likely refers to Jesus' baptism, and the "blood" 
         to His death on the cross
      2. John's emphasis is that Jesus Christ came by both water and 
         blood, and not by water only - cf. 1 Jn 5:6a
      3. Thus emphasizing that not only was the Christ present at the 
         baptism, but that He also suffered in the flesh on the cross
[Like the stones set up by Jacob and Laban served as a "witness" (cf. 
Gen 31:43-52), so the waters of Jesus' baptism and the blood that 
flowed from His side offer testimony concerning who Jesus Christ truly
But these two "witnesses" (water and blood) are not alone, they are 
joined by another...]
      1. Because of His involvement in the earthly life of Jesus, the 
         Spirit can testify to...
         a. The conception of Jesus - cf. Mt 1:20
         b. The baptism of Jesus - cf. Mt 3:16
         c. The temptation of Jesus - cf. Lk 4:1
         d. The ministry of Jesus - cf. Lk 4:18
      2. According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit was to testify about Jesus
         - Jn 15:26
      3. The Holy Spirit did this by inspiring the apostles and 
         confirming their word with spiritual gifts - cf. Jn 16:13-14;
         He 2:3-4
      1. The Spirit, the water, and the blood, all three bear witness,
         and agree as one
      2. That is, they all testify that Jesus Christ has come in the 
      3. The significance of having three witnesses agreeing may be 
         taken from the requirement found in Deu 19:15, "by the mouth
         of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established."
[At this point we might simply note that most translations omit the 
words from "in heaven" (vs. 7) through "on earth" (vs. 8).  Apparently
there is good reason for doing so, since these words are found only in
four or five manuscripts, and none dating earlier than the 14th century
A.D.  They are not found in literally thousands of manuscripts dating 
much earlier.  They are likely a gloss.
As we continue, John mentions yet another witness...]
      1. "If we receive the witness of men..."
         a. This is a simple conditional sentence that is true to fact
         b. It means "Since we receive the witness of men..." (which we
            do in courts of law, don't we?)
      2. Any witness of God would naturally be greater than that of man
      1. Certainly God has born witness to Jesus on several occasions
         a. At His baptism - Mt 3:17
         b. At the mount of transfiguration - Mt 17:5
      2. It is probable, though, that John has reference to the witness
         of the blood, the water, and the Spirit, that together they 
         form the witness of God
[So we have three witnesses who in agreement speak for the fourth 
witness (God).
When a person believes the testimony given about Jesus as the Son of 
God, there is even a "fifth witness", that such faith will result in 
one being "born of God"...]
      1. This statement is reminiscent of Jesus' words in Jn 7:16-17
         a. Those who do the will of God (as taught by Jesus)...
         b. ...shall know that the doctrine of Christ is truly from God
      2. Likewise the one who believes in the Son, receives 
         confirmation "in himself"...
         a. About who Jesus truly is
         b. How one who believes in Him is "born of God"
      1. As such, one must be very careful with it
      2. Many people can easily deceive themselves into thinking that 
         some feeling is an indication that they are saved, or that God
         has confirmed something to them - cf. Pro 14:12; 16:25
      3. But if we believe (and act upon) the witness of God concerning
         His Son...
         a. Revealed in His Spirit-inspired Word
         b. Which agrees with the witness of the water and the blood
         ...then we will have confirmation in ourselves that Jesus is 
         truly the Son of God!
      4. One way we have confirmation is the change that takes place in
         our lives as we grow in Christ
         a. Just as our love for one another is an indication of 
            passing from death to life - cf. 1 Jn 3:14
         b. Just as our unity with one another is evidence that Jesus
            was truly was sent from God - cf. Jn 17:20-23
1. These are the "witnesses", then, that John offers in support of 
   Jesus Christ...
   a. That He came in the flesh
   b. That those who believe Jesus is the Christ are "born of God"
2. The first four (water, blood, Spirit, God) provide their evidence 
   whether you believe them or not; but if you will believe them, then
   you will receive the fifth (the witness in yourself)!
3. But suppose you do not believe the four witnesses?  John says you 
   then make God a liar! - cf. 1 Jn 5:11b
Do you wish to stand before God on the day of judgment and answer why 
you believed Him to be a liar?  How much better to believe on the Son,
and through obedient faith become His child! - cf. Ga 3:26-27


Life In The Son (5:11-13)
1. We saw in the previous lesson that the word "witness" was used eight
   times in one form or another - cf. 1 Jn 5:6-10
2. A form of the word is used again in verses 11-13, translated as 
   "testimony" in the NKJV ("record" in the KJV)
3. In these verses, John reviews the "testimony" that God has given 
   about His Son...
   a. In this case, it does not appear to be the "evidence" God has 
      offered (that was covered in verses 6-10)
   b. Rather, it is the "content" of the testimony which the evidence 
[What is the "content" of God's testimony concerning His Son?  What has
God declared?  And what does John say about these things?
In this lesson, entitled "Life In The Son", we shall examine verses
11-13 to see what we can learn.  For example, we are first told
      1. John writes of "eternal life" as a present possession...
         a. "God has given us (not will give us) eternal life" - 1 Jn
         b. "He who has the Son has (not will have) eternal life" -
            1 Jn 5:12
         c. "...that you may know that you have (not will have) eternal
            life"- 1 Jn 5:13
      2. Yet Paul wrote of "eternal life" as a future hope...
         a. "who will render to each one according to his deeds:
            eternal life to those..." - Ro 2:6-7
         b. "...you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, 
            everlasting life" - Ro 6:22
         c. "in hope of eternal life..." - Ti 1:2
      --Which then is it?  A present possession, or a future hope?
      1. I believe it is "both", not one or the other
      2. This is a case where the same term (eternal life) is used by 
         different authors to describe different concepts
         a. Paul normally uses the term to describe that which begins 
            after the judgment...
            1) The same way Jesus uses it in Mt 25:46
            2) And again in Jn 12:25
         b. Whereas John uses the term to describe the life we now have
            in Christ because of the fellowship we enjoy with the 
            Father and the Son...
            1) Jesus defined "eternal life" as knowing the Father and 
               His Son - Jn 17:1-3
            2) John defines it similarly in 1 Jn 5:20
      3. We must be careful, therefore, and allow the immediate context
         to determine the proper meaning by a particular author
      1. John began his epistle by referring to Jesus as "that eternal
         life" - 1 Jn 1:2
      2. He ends his epistle by describing eternal life as knowing Him 
         who is true and being in Him who is true (i.e., in Jesus) - 
         1 Jn 5:20
      3. This leads me to conclude that John uses "eternal life" in the
         same way Jesus did in Jn 17:3
      4. I.e., a quality of life that comes from having true fellowship
         with Deity...
         a. Which begins upon our conversion from "death" to "life" - 
            cf. 1 Jn 3:14-15
         b. Which comes from knowing God and Jesus (the term "knowing"
            suggesting a close and personal relationship, not a casual
         c. Because God and Jesus are "eternal life" (cf. 1 Jn 1:2),
            those in fellowship with them have life that is best 
            described as "eternal" (in quality, though potentially in
[So the testimony of God is first this:  He has given us "eternal 
life", a quality of life based upon fellowship with Deity!
But where does one find this "eternal life"?  The testimony of God 
      1. We saw where Jesus defined "eternal life" as knowing God and 
         Himself - cf. Jn 17:3
      2. Jesus also taught that He came that we might have "abundant 
         life" - Jn 10:10
      3. As confessed by Peter, only Jesus truly has "the words of 
         eternal life" - Jn 6:68
      4. Paul wrote that all spiritual blessings (of which eternal life
         is one) are found in Jesus Christ - Ep 1:3
      -- The conclusion should be fairly obvious:  it is only in Jesus
         that eternal life can be found, and if we wish to have eternal
         life, we must be in Jesus!
      1. This sounds rather exclusive, but no more so than Jesus' own
         words in Jn 14:6
      2. Peter also made it clear that salvation (life) is found only
         in Jesus - Ac 4:12
      -- Therefore, one who remains outside of Christ has no hope for
         eternal life (in either sense of term)
[Of course, it is not the will of God than any perish (cf. 2 Pe 3:9; 
1 Ti 2:3-4).  Therefore, through His Spirit He inspired John to write
so we might know whether or not we have the Son.
Or in other words...]
      1. That has been the purpose of this particular epistle
      2. His desire is that we "know" we are saved, not just hope that
         we are...
         a. "Now by this we know that we know Him..." - 1 Jn 2:3
         b. "By this we know that we are in Him." - 1 Jn 2:5b
         c. "We know we have passed from death to life..." - 1 Jn 3:14a
         d. "And by this we know that we are of the truth..." - 1 Jn 
         e. "And by this we know that He abides in us..." - 1 Jn 3:24b
         f. "By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us..." - 
            1 Jn 4:13a
      3. Thus, throughout his epistle he has been giving us 
         "benchmarks" by which we can know whether we have eternal life
         in us
      1. When they keep the commandments of Jesus - 1 Jn 2:3-4
      2. Whey they keep His words - 1 Jn 2:5
      3. When they love the brethren - 1 Jn 3:14
      4. When they believe what the Spirit has revealed about such 
         things - 1 Jn 3:24; 4:13
      5. When they confess Jesus to be the Son of God - 1 Jn 4:15
      6. When they believe that Jesus is the Christ - 1 Jn 5:1
      -- Taken together, these "benchmarks" reveal that one truly 
         "knows" the Lord, and thereby has "eternal life" - cf. 1 Jn 
1. John's desire was that his readers would continue to believe in the
   name of the Son of God - 1 Jn 5:13c
   a. That is my desire also, and I pray that in some small way that I
      have encouraged you to remain strong in your faith in Jesus 
   b. If you do not yet believe, or your faith is weak, I commend to 
      you the Gospel of John - cf. Jn 20:30-31
2. Dear friend, do you truly have "eternal life"?
   a. Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who came
      in the flesh and died for our sins? - cf. Jn 8:24
   b. Are you keeping the commands of Jesus?
      1) Such as His command to be baptized? - cf. Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:
      2) Which we learn from His apostles is the means by which we 
         receive Christ? - cf. Ga 3:26-27
   c. Do you love the brethren? - cf. Jn 13:34-35
May this First Epistle of John encourage you to examine whether you 
really "know" Jesus Christ, and thereby have "eternal life" in Him!


Praying With Confidence And Compassion (5:14-17)
1. Rapidly approaching the end of his epistle, John has a few words on
   the subject of prayer - 1 Jn 5:14-17
2. This is not the first time he has broached this subject, for he has 
   already mentioned...
   a. The value of confessing our sins, which is done in prayer - 1 Jn
   b. Our Advocate in prayer, Jesus Christ the righteous - 1 Jn 2:1
   c. One reason why we receive what we ask in prayer - 1 Jn 3:22
3. In his final words on this subject, John does two things:
   a. Expands upon a theme in prayer already introduced (praying with 
   b. Brings in another theme in prayer that is harmony with the tone 
      throughout his epistle (praying with compassion, consistent with
      his teachings on brotherly love)
[As we examine his words in verses 14-17, we shall endeavor to take 
note of what else John has written, and use this as the basis for this
study which we call "Praying With Confidence And Compassion".
First, let's consider how we can pray with confidence our prayers will
be answered...]
      1. This is the point emphasized in 1 Jn 5:14-15
      2. Confidence in prayer is not based upon some assumption that we
         have "carte blanche" in regards to prayer...
         a. Some may improperly conclude that we do from Jesus'
            statements in Jn 14:13-14
         b. But even Jesus' own example illustrates that answer to
            prayer depends upon whether or not it is in harmony with
            God's will - e.g., Mt 26:39,42
         c. Paul learned this same lesson when he prayed about his
            "thorn in the flesh" - cf. 2 Co 12:7-9
      3. However, the more we learn God's revealed will (i.e., the Word
         of God)...
         a. The more likely we will pray according to His will
         b. The greater confidence we can have that our prayers will be
            answered accordingly
      1. This was stressed in 1 Jn 3:22
      2. Even if we are asking something that would normally be within
         God's will for us...
         a. If we are not keeping His commandments...
         b. ...can we really expect God to favorably answer our 
      3. As Peter quoted from the Proverbs:  "For the eyes of the LORD 
         are on the righteous,  And his ears are open to their 
         prayers..." - 1 Pe 3:12
      4. The righteous, of course, are those who "do those things that 
         are pleasing in His sight" - cf. 1 Jn 3:22b
      5. Especially in regard to believing in Jesus and loving the 
         brethren, two commandments given to us - 1 Jn 3:23
      1. This was taught by Jesus Himself, and recorded by John in 
         Jn 15:7
      2. This should also help to clarify any misunderstanding from 
         taking Jn 14:13-14 in isolation from its context
      3. These words of Jesus actually summarize what we have already 
         seen John to say...
         a. Confidence in prayer depends upon keeping the commandments,
            but keeping the commandments is the key to abiding in 
            Jesus! - cf. 1 Jn 3:24a
         b. Confidence in prayer depends upon asking according to God's
            Will, but if Jesus' words abide in us, won't that help us 
            know what God's will is, and what is proper to ask of Him?
[Therefore, if we learn the words of Jesus, keep His commandments and 
thereby abide in Him, we will know what is in harmony with God's will 
and pray accordingly.  In this way we can have the "confidence in 
prayer" of which John writes!
But from an apostle to whom the command to "love the brethren" was a 
recurring theme, we should not be surprised to find him teaching also 
      1. This epistle of John has been one in which John has stressed 
         "brotherly love"
      2. He has told us that we "ought to lay down our lives for the 
         brethren" - 1 Jn 3:16
      3. He has said that if "one sees his brother in need, and shuts 
         up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?"
         - 1 Jn 3:17
      4. Certainly, then, we should be willing and ready to pray for 
         our brethren, especially when we see them...
      1. This is a difficult passage, one that raises several 
         a. Does the present tense of the verb "sinning" necessarily 
            imply that the brother is still engaged in the sin when we
            are to pray for him?
         b. What is the "sin not unto death" versus the "sin unto 
         c. What is meant that "He will give him life"?
         -- Whatever conclusions we draw should be in harmony with the 
            rest of the scriptures, and with other principles revealed
            therein, just as we do not draw conclusions about praying 
            with confidence based upon Jn 14:13-14 alone
      2. While open to further consideration, my present understanding
         of this passage is this:
         a. The present tense of the verb does not demand that the 
            brother is still engaged in the sin when we are to pray for
            1) Present tense in the Greek can describe action that is 
               either linear or punctiliar
            2) That is, John could just as easily be saying "If anyone 
               sees his brother SIN (not SINNING) a sin..."
            3) And thus the asking in his behalf is after the fact, 
               i.e., in the future after the sin has been committed 
               (note, "he WILL ask", suggesting in the future)
         b. The difference between "a sin which does not lead to death"
            and "a sin leading to death"...
            1) John says in 1 Jn 5:17a, "all unrighteousness is sin",
               therefore any sin is not to be taken lightly
            2) But there is sin "not leading to death"
               a) That is, sin which does not progress to the point in
                  which one experiences spiritual death, or separation 
                  from God
               b) As indicated by James, sin does not produce "death" 
                  until it is "full grown" - Ja 1:15
               c) Sin which does not produce (lead to) death would 
                  therefore be sin "repented of"
            3) Sin "leading to death", producing spiritual death and 
               separation from God would be sin "unrepented of"
               a) We cannot expect God to forgive one who refuses to 
               b) As John writes with some understatement:  "I do not 
                  say that he should pray about that" - 1 Jn 5:16d
      1. If the "death" in this passage is "spiritual death", it is 
         natural to assume the life is "spiritual life"
         a. The "life" which God will grant our penitent brother in 
            answer to our prayers could also be described as 
         b. Which is a crucial element of the "eternal life" to which 
            John has referred throughout this epistle
      2. Thus the promise offered in 1 Jn 1:9 to the child of God who
         penitently confesses his own sin in prayer is offered in 1 Jn
         5:16 to the penitent brother when prayer is made on his 
         behalf by another member of the family of God
         a. One might ask, "Why bother to pray for a penitent brother 
            if his sins will be forgiven anyway as taught in 1 Jn 1:9?
         b. One answer might be found in Ja 5:16, where we are taught
            to pray for one another:  "The effective, fervent prayer of
            a righteous man avails much."
1. The privilege of prayer is a wonderful blessing, especially when we
   do so with...
   a. Confidence
   b. Compassion
2. Are we fulfilling the requirements to be able to pray with 
   a. Abiding in Jesus, and letting His words abide in us?
   b. Keeping His commandments and doing the things pleasing in His 
   c. Asking according to God's Will?
3. Are we praying with compassion?
   a. Praying not only for ourselves, but for our brethren in need?
   b. Praying for brethren overtaken by sin, but who have demonstrated 
      that their sin is not one leading to death?
As we all need the fullness of God's blessings in our lives, let's 
encourage one another to do whatever we can to be able to pray with 
both confidence and compassion!


Certainties Of The Christian Faith (5:18-21)
1. In this last section of John's epistle, we find him summarizing
   three facts or "certainties" that his readers should have learned 
   - 1 Jn 5:18-21
2. These "Certainties of the Christian Faith" relate to sin, the evil
   one, and the truth concerning fellowship with God and Jesus Christ
3. Each of these "certainties" is introduced by the words "we know", 
   and as we consider these three facts we shall begin each section in 
   the same way
[First of all, then, "we know"...]
      1. This statement, like the one in 1 Jn 3:9, can be somewhat 
         troubling to the English reader
      2. But as we noticed in the lesson on that portion of 
         a. John has already affirmed that Christians sin - cf. 1 Jn 1:
         b. To say we have no sin is to lie, and to make God a liar
         c. So John is talking about one who does not "continuously 
            practice sin" (in light of the present tense of the verb, 
            this is an acceptable translation)
      3. As stated by Plummer, "A child of God may sin; but his normal
         condition is one of resistance to sin." (The Epistles of St.
         John, p.125)
      1. John explains why the one born of God does not continuously 
         practice sin, but it is difficult to know exactly what he 
         a. Some translations have "keeps him" instead of "keeps 
         b. This is because most translators believe "he who has been 
            born of God" is a reference to Jesus
         c. And yet in his epistle, the phrase "born of God" always has
            reference to the child of Christ, i.e., the Christian
      2. Assuming that "himself" is the correct wording...
         a. It becomes clear that the individual bears some 
            responsibility in keeping oneself from sinning
         b. While it is true that we have help from God (cf. 1 Jn 3:9,
            "for His seed remains in him"), our faith must cooperate
            with God's power - e.g., 1 Pe 1:5
         c. Thus the charge to "keep yourselves..." - cf. 1 Jn 5:21; 
            Ju 21
      1. When we cooperate with God, Satan has no chance...
         a. When we submit to God, and resist the devil, the devil 
            flees! - cf. Ja 4:7
         b. For God who is in us is certainly greater than the devil! 
            - 1 Jn 4:4
      2. Instrumental in our cooperation with God is allowing His word
         to abide in us - 1 Jn 2:14
      3. Even as the Word was instrumental in helping Jesus overcome 
         the temptations of Satan - cf. "it is written..." Mt 4:4,7,10
[So the first "certainty" of the Christian faith is that one born of 
God does not treat sin lightly, and with God's help is able to win the
conflict with "the wicked one".
Now for the second "certainty" summarized by John:  "We know"...]
      1. The Christian has been "born of God" - 1 Jn 5:1
      2. The Christian is privileged to be called the "child of God" 
         - 1 Jn 3:1,2a
      -- Thus we are blessed to be "of God"!
      1. Sadly, those in the world are not "of God"
      2. For when one rejects Jesus Christ, they demonstrate who their
         "father" truly is - cf. Jn 8:42-47
      3. While they remain in their sins, they remain under the sway of
         Satan - cf. 1 Jn 3:8,10
[Whose "child" are we?  Those who are in Christ have the assurance that
God is their father.  Those not in Christ are still under the 
influences of Satan who has blinded them! - cf. 2 Co 4:3-4
Finally, "we know"...]
      1. Jesus has come to give us true insight concerning God
      2. As John declared in his gospel:  "No one has seen God at any 
         time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the 
         Father, He has declared Him." - Jn 1:18
      1. "...Him who is true"
         a. Or as expressed in other translations: "He is the true God"
         b. "By true God [John] does not mean one who tells the truth,
            but him who is really God." (Calvin, The First Epistle of 
            John, p. 273)
         c. By coming in the flesh, Jesus has manifested the true God 
            to us - cf. Jn 14:7-9
      2. "...and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ"
         a. Jesus has also given us understanding about how we can be 
            in God
         b. It is through His Son, as we keep His words and His
            commandments, that we can abide in God - Jn 14:21,23
      1. Again, the expression "true God" is saying He who is "the real
      2. With this declaration, John is also defining what "eternal 
         life" truly is...
         a. It is to "know" Him who is true
         b. It is to be "in Him" who is true, and "in His Son Jesus 
      3. I.e., eternal life (as defined by John) is that abundant 
         a. Which comes from "knowing" the Father and the Son 
         b. Which comes by having "fellowship" with the Father and the
      4. So John intimated at the beginning of his epistle - 1 Jn 1:2-3
      5. And so Jesus declared in His prayer in Jn 17:1-3
1. Here then are the "Certainties Of The Christian Faith" as summarized
   by John...
   a. "We know" the relationship between those born of God and sin
   b. "We know" the difference between us and those of the world
   c. "We know" the basis of fellowship with God and eternal life
2. May the First Epistle of John always serve to remind of these 
   certainties, and may the last verse always remind us of the need for
          "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen."
3. With his favorite term of endearment, John admonishes us to stay 
   away from anything that would replace our devotion to the One True 
   a. We may think that we are too sophisticated to succumb to idolatry
   b. But as Paul pointed out time and again, anything that replaces 
      God in our hearts is an idol - Ep 5:5; Co 3:5
NOTE WELL:  If there was no danger of being led astray, there would be
            no need for a warning!


--《Executable Outlines


The Victory of Spiritual Fellowship

Keep Yourselves; Away from Idols

I. Life through Faith

   1. Born of God

   2. Love Everyone Born of God

   3. Overcome the World

II. Accept Testimony by Faith

   1. The Spirit, the Water and the Blood

   2. God’s Testimony

   3. Eternal Life

III. Convinced by Faith

   1. Knowing that We have Eternal Life

   2. Having Whatever We Asked

   3. Overcome the Evil

── Chih-Hsin Chang An Outline of The New Testament


The Resources of God’s Children in 1 John 5

I. Faith in the Son that Achieves (vs.1~5)

II. Witness of God that Affirms (vs.6~9)

III. Witness within that Agrees (v.10)

IV. Record of God that Assures (v.11)

V. Life of the Son that Aspires (v.12)

VI. Prayer of faith that Appropriates (vs. 14~17)

VII. Knowledge of Truth that Apprehends (vs. 18~20)

── Archibald NaismithOutlines for Sermons


The Triumph of Faith (5.4~5)

I. The Triumph of Faith

   1. The Enemy—the Devil that Overturns (5.19)

   2. The Enemy—the World that Overpowers (5. 4~5)

   3. The Equipment—the Faith that Overcomes (5. 4~5)

II. The Ground of Faith—the witness of God (5. 9)

III. The Sphere of Faith—God has given us eternal life (5. 11)

IV. The Activity of Faith—whatsoever we ask (5. 15)

V. The Assurance of Faith—we know (5. 18)

── Archibald NaismithOutlines for Sermons