About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapters 5
verse 1 we read that “everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is
born of God …” A number of
times John has made such a comment in his short letter.
For example, he’s told us that if we love our brothers, we are
born of God. But what he says
here is the bottom line to our salvation.
It is the foundation to the reasons why we are born of God.
is “believing” that Jesus is in fact the Christ, meaning, the “sent
one from God”. This speaks
to the Deity of Christ that Cerinthus and his followers denied.
need to understand that “believe” is more than agreeing with the
truth. It is giving yourself
to the truth. John is saying
that one who gives himself to the truth
that Jesus is truly the Christ, is born of God.
Mentally accepting the fact of an historical Jesus, is not
believing as defined in New Testament terms.
anyone “who loves the
father, loves the child as well”, John says.
It appears that “the father’ here is a generic father, and not
Father God. The NIV does not
capitalize the word father, so in the translators minds they must have
felt this verse was not applying to God
the Father. In prior verses
they did capitalize “Father” when John spoke of God.
is also no word for father in the Greek text. The KJV may be more specific
in their translation when they use the word “beget”.
what John is probably saying here is that anyone who loves a father loves
that father’s son as well. If
this is the case in a generic sense, it should be the case when it comes
to God the Father and Jesus His Son. The
relationship between God and Jesus is what really is in question here,
that is, in light of the false teaching that states the Jesus is not
verse 2 John says that “this is how we know we love the children of God,
by loving God and carrying out
his commands. You’d think we
would know if we love our brothers by our actions, and I’m sure John
would agree with that statement. He’s
already told us if we love in action and truth, we are of the truth.
But here he says that we know if we love our brothers, we obey
God’s commands. Part of obeying God is to love our brothers.
Also part of obeying God is to love our brothers in the way in
which He wants us to love our brothers, not merely the way we want to love
verse 3 John says that “this is love”, that we obey his commands,
“and His commands are not burdensome”.
If we truly do love God, what He tells us to do should not be a
problem to us. It is only when
we rebel and want to do our own thing that His commands become bothersome
and a burden to us. When John
says this, he is saying that there is real concrete proof that one
actually loves God. Thus love
demands action. In this case,
loving God demands obedience.
4 says that everyone “born of God, overcomes the world”.
By using the word “overcome” John is telling us that there is a
struggle and a process to overcome the effects of the world in our lives.
This is the process of sanctification.
Such overcoming is thus possible.
today's church, I don't see much thought given to overcoming the world.
The reason why John speaks of overcoming the world is that the
early church saw the world system and its ways as being corrupt and
something to be rescued from. I
don't believe many Christians view the world in this way.
We like the world more than we should, and I believe that shows in
the way we live.
in verse 5 he says, “this is the victory that overcomes the world, even
our faith”. It is our faith that enables us to overcome the world.
But even a better way of saying it is that our trust in Jesus helps
us overcome the world in our lives. And
really, it is not our trust or faith, it is Jesus Himself that helps us
overcome. Our trust only
allows Him access into our lives to give us the ability to overcome.
5 also says, “only he who
believes that Jesus is the Son of God…”
It is only through giving your life to Jesus as God’s Son, can
one really overcome the world. Cerinthus
and his followers were thus trying to overcome the world through other
means. John says that this
6 says that Jesus came by water and blood, not by water alone.
This is how I view this verse, and its not my thinking alone, but
is generally accepted thinking among many
scholars, yet not all. Water
refers to Jesus’ baptism, and blood refers to the cross.
believed that Jesus was born of Mary and Joseph and at His baptism became
the eternal Son, the eternal Word entered Jesus, and at that point Jesus
the human became Jesus the Son of God.
Cerinthus also believed that once Jesus hung on the cross the
eternal Word left the body of Jesus and He became an ordinary man and died
as a man.
John is saying here is that Jesus came by water and blood.
When Jesus came to His baptism, He was God.
His baptism did not make Him the Son of God.
It was the initiation into His ministry.
Also when Jesus died, He died as the Son of God to forgive the sins
of the world. Jesus died as
the Son. He was more than a
says that the Holy Spirit gives witness to what he is saying is the truth.
John, in one sense of the word
is telling his readers that what he is writing is the inspired Word of
God, as Christians believe today.
verses 7 and 8 John talks about 3 witnesses, the Spirit the water, and the
blood. The Law of Moses
required there to be 3 witnesses to settle any dispute.
Here John says that there are 3 witnesses that support the truth
that Jesus is the Son of God. The
Spirit is a person The water
and blood are obviously not a real person but real events that point to
the Messiahship of Jesus. The voice that came from Heaven at Jesus’
baptism announcing to those watching that Jesus was in fact God’s Son
and that God loved Him gives proof that Jesus was the Christ.
The miracles of the cross also prove the same.
Those who felt the earthquake, saw the darkness and stood by the
cross, even the soldiers acknowledged the divinity of Jesus.
verse 9 John says that “we accept man’s testimony”.
He’s saying that in any court procedures the testimony of a man
is valid in a court of law. If
this is the case, the testimony of God Himself, as seen through the Holy
Spirit, Jesus baptism and His death should be even more convincing.
At this point John sounds a bit like Paul in using a logical
approach to defend the deity of Christ.
verse 10 Johns says that ‘anyone who believes has this testimony in his
heart”. If you have really given your life to Jesus, then the testimony
that Jesus is God is a deeply held conviction within you.
You are thus capable of spreading this news to others.
You in fact also become a witness to this truth.
goes on to call non-believers liars once again, because they are not
believing what God has said. They
are thus promoting something that is not true.
Their gospel is a lie and they are liars. I
think John, who is seen as one of the more gentle of the apostles, would
not last long in our present world using such language as he does here.
11 says that “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His
Son”. John makes it very
clear. eternal life is only
found in Jesus, nowhere else. He’s also made it clear that it is through
believing, through giving one’s life to the Son that we can have eternal
life. If we don’t give ourselves to Him, then it is clear we don’t
have eternal life.
section ends with the simple statement that says, “they that have the
Son have life, and they that don’t have the Son don’t have life”.
You can’t get any clearer than that.
it comes to eternal life and the way in which John uses it hear, he is
speaking about life after physical death with Jesus.
Those without Jesus have eternal life too,
but it is in the
gives another reason why he is writing this letter.
In verse 13 he says, “I write these things to you who believe in
the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal
people believe in “the name of the Son of God”, that means, “in the
name of Jesus”. This means
that these people realize that they are representatives of Jesus.
As Jesus represented His Father, so John’s readers, and us,
represent Jesus. Believing in His name means to give yourself to Jesus as
His representatives. Christians
represent Jesus to the world. We
should then live as the representatives that we in fact are.
seems to me that John was writing to remind these people, to assure these
people, that they in fact had eternal life because they gave themselves to
Jesus. As he said earlier, they had passed from death to life.
must note that the reason why they had eternal life according to John is
because they “believed”. Trusting
in Jesus is what brings us into life eternal.
There is no other way.
13 speaks of "the name of Jesus".
This is one misunderstood term in our day.
The name of Jesus is not simply the way we end a prayer.
We bear Jesus' name. We
go out into the world as representatives of Jesus because He is no longer
here in a physical body to represent Himself.
As one works for a company that has a name, so one works and lives
for Jesus. This is what the
name of Jesus means.
verse 14 John speaks of being confident in approaching God and asking
anything “according to His will”.
Here the plain and simple truth about asking anything of God is
seen. We ask according to His
says that if we ask according to His will, which means, we ask in His
name, which means, we ask anything as His representatives, God will hear
us. Then once He hears us, He
answers us. If we don’t
receive what we ask for, then we ask outside of His will. There are things
that hinder our prayers from being answered.
need to note here that the things we ask for are the things that helps us
represent Jesus to the world. They
are not personal things. The
reason why I say this is because we are to ask in the name of Jesus as His
representatives. Asking is in
direct relation to representing Jesus and the work that needs to be done
in that representation. If
you are a carpenter and work for a particular person, you represent that
person. If you need a hammer
to help you do your work, you ask your employer for a hammer and he gives
it to you. If you want a
hammer for personal use at home, he is not obligated to give it to you.
The same is so with Jesus. This
is one thing that is clearly not understood
in Christian circles.
verse 16 John tells his readers to pray for the brother that is committing
a sin that does not lead to death so God will give this person life.
Then John says that there is a sin that does lead to death and he
suggests that you shouldn’t pray for the person in this case.
a couple things to note concerning verses 16 and 17.
One thing to consider are the two types of sin.
There is a sin that leads to death and there are sins that don’t
lead to death. According to
Paul, all sins cause death, that is, “the wages of sin is death”.
is only one sin that brings complete death and that is the sin of
unbelief, or denying Jesus. Cerinthus
was in the process of trying to make John’s readers commit this sin.
If they laid aside their faith and did not believe anymore,
they’d experience spiritual death. They
would lose their salvation. Unbelief, or out and out denial of Jesus is
the sin that leads to death.
other sin produce some kind of death in one’s relationship to Jesus, but
these sins don’t cause you to lose your salvation.
Forgiveness can be found for these sins.
Forgiveness can be found for all sin except the sin of unbelief.
It makes no logical sense that God forgives someone who denies
Jesus. If this were so, then
Jesus coming to earth, His death and resurrection is in vain.
God could have simply proclaimed everyone saved, whether they
believe or don’t believe.
says we can pray for the one who sins a sin not unto death.
We should be praying for all of us then, because we all sin daily.
John says that we shouldn’t necessarily pray for the one who is laying
aside his faith is unknown to me the
verse 17 John says that “all
wrong doing is sin and there is a sin that does not lead to death”.
This is John’s definition of sin.
“All wrong doing is sin”. Anything
that goes against the very nature of our Holy God is sin. This means that
we sin more than we think. God’s
mercy and grace, and the cross of Jesus has covered these sins over so
that God can no longer see them in one sense of the word.
18 says that “we know that anyone born of God does not continue to
sin”. We’ve talked about
this earlier. Christians do
sin, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly, but we do sin. What I
believe John is saying here is that we no longer live a lifestyle of sin,
where sin and selfishness is our God.
A real Christian will sin, but deep in his heart he wants to follow
Jesus. A non-Christian has no
underlying will to follow Jesus.
John says, “the one who is born of God keeps him safe and the evil one
cannot harm him”. “The
one born of God’ refers to Jesus, who keeps the Christian safe from the
devil. God protects us from
the devil. If the devil harms
us, it is because we have allowed him to harm us, or else God has given
satan permission to harm us, which sometimes is the case.
see John’s view of the world in verse 19.
He confirms that he and his readers are children of God.
He also says that “the whole world is under the control of the
evil one”. I believe this
was the thinking of the early Christian church, that is, the world
belonged to the devil. You
were either on God’s side, or the devil’s side.
There is no middle ground. This
is what I believe John is saying here.
Peter in Acts 3 tells his listeners to rescue themselves from the
world by giving themselves to Jesus. The
first century Christian believed that the world was controlled by the
devil and that people needed to be rescued from the devil and the world. We
should believe the same today.
20 says that Jesus has come to give us understanding. The understanding
spoken of here is the things we can understand pertaining to the things of
God. John goes on to say that
this understanding leads us to actually knowing God, which for the most
part, is the inner desire of mankind.
Both knowledge and understanding are important.
They go hand in hand. First
comes the knowledge, and then comes the understanding to how to
appropriate the knowledge. One
thing that is lacking in Christians today is a desire for Biblical
knowledge. This means that
there is no understanding in such people.
last part of verse 20 is important. It
shows the Deity of Christ. “We
are in Him, meaning God, who is true, - even His Son, Jesus Christ.
He (meaning Jesus) is the true God and eternal life”.
Jesus is God. Jesus was
God in human flesh when upon this earth.
closes this letter by saying “keep yourselves from idols”.
Anything we give ourselves to is an idol. The word “believe”
means to give yourself to. Anything
we give our lives to is an idol. Does
this mean that if one gives himself to his business and becomes a great
success is idolizing his business? It
can mean that. It doesn't mean
a Christian can’t be a successful businessman.
A Christian business man should operate his business as a
representative of Jesus. You
might say, that the business man is not his own boss, that Jesus Himself
is the boss of his business.
simply ends this letter by reminding his readers that they need to avoid
idolatry and stay focused on Jesus, as we do today.
Idolatry is simply putting something or someone ahead of Jesus in