Having called upon three impeccable witnesses to verify and confirm his own testimony, John now described the trustworthiness of his teaching on these proofs of salvation and its permanency.
Those who are born anew, from above, live by faith in
- Willing cooperation with the Spirit of Christ.
- Holding onto the teaching of the apostles.
- Consecrating ourselves in God’s love, no longer a part of the world, but now being transformed into the heavenly.
- Genuinely loving the brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Trusting the Spirit’s discernment between truth and error.
- Loving with God’s love (agape) as begotten and beloved of God.
- The power of the Holy Spirit.
- Knowing God promises salvation to all who put their faith in Jesus.
- Victory over darkness.
The apostles, of whom John was the last living one, brought their unique and utterly reliable eyewitness accounts to the world. They stood together in their teaching, even though each of their narratives was singular and flavored by their personal experiences. All were brought forth by inspiration of the Spirit of Christ, God’s Own Holy Spirit.
Any teaching or testimony that does not harmonize with the apostles’ lacks veracity and should be rejected. In fact, any teaching or testimony that undermines the truths the apostles declare is actually making God out to be a liar—for it is God Who provides the ultimate testimony (the water, the blood, the Spirit).
The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in him, the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, for they have not believed in the testimony that God has testified concerning His Son.
And this is the testimony, that God gave eternal life to us, and this life is in His Son.
-The one who has the Son has life,
-The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life.1 John 5:10-12 (my translation)
If you and I have received the Son, we have Jesus’ life—the outward signs being the things John had been talking about in this letter: light, truth, love. If a person has not received the Son of God, no matter how earnest that person is, no matter how devoted that person has been, no matter how religious that person has been, trying to do everything they could think of to please God, if that person does not have the Son, that person does not have life.
That is the bottom line.
Either you and I have put our faith in Jesus and received Him into our lives, or we have not.
There is no middle ground.
It is one or the other.
But once you and I are God’s, we remain God’s forever.
God has provided objective truth to give believers assurance of salvation.
Notice that John never once used blessings as evidence of belonging to God.
God uses circumstances in our lives to grow our faith, to deepen us spiritually, to conform our characters to be more and more like God’s own. Sometimes that process feels like blessing, but often enough the circumstances of life are painful, difficult, and stressful. It does not always feel like blessing. But that is not a sign of being in God’s good graces or not.
Often, it is during the middle of a crisis that you and I experience spiritual breakthroughs.
In his concluding remarks John left his readers with six promises they could count on with certainty:
1) Gift of Life Everlasting
I write these things to you so that you would perceive that you have life forever, [you] ones who believe in the name of the Son of God.1 John 5:13 (my translation)
2) God’s Gracious Accessibility
And this is the confident intimacy that we have with Him, that whatever we would ask according to His will He listens to us.
And if we perceive that He hears whatever we would ask, we perceive that we have the requests that we have asked from Him.1 John 5:14-15 (my translation)
This is the outward evidence of the inward reality that the Lord has filled you and me with God’s life, light, and love, with God’s Spirit, and we are living in harmony with God’s character and person.
3) Granted Prayer
Whoever beholds their brother or sister sinning a sin not unto death, [that person] will ask, and He will deliver life to [that person], the sins not unto death. [There] is sin unto death—I do not speak concerning this—so that [that person] would pray. (Every unrighteousness is sin, but [there] is sin not unto death.)1 John 5:16-17 (my translation)
Every believer will be able to have a powerful affect through prayer in others’ lives.
4) Goodness Recreated
We perceive that everyone who is begotten of God would not sin . . .1 John 5:18a (my translation)
New birth defines the believer, born more of flesh but also of spirit, a begotten-of-God person. Every believer is profoundly changed from abiding in sin (flaws, frailties, and fragilities) to abiding in God.
5) Guarded by God
. . . but rather the One Who has been begotten of God, He guards them, and the evil one does not fasten on them.1 John 5:18b (my translation)
We know that we are protected by God. Those who are born anew, from above, are overcoming the world, overcoming darkness, and even overcoming Satan through faith in Jesus.
6) Genuine Hope
We perceive that we are of God, and the whole world is outstretched [under] the evil one.
And we perceive that the Son of the God is present, and He has given to us understanding so that
– we may know the true One, and
– we are in the true One, in His Son Jesus Christ.
This is the true God and life eternal.
Little children, guard yourselves from the idols.1 John 5:19-21 (my translation)
Who is the real Jesus? The only way to get to know Him is through the teaching of the apostles and the Holy Spirit’s help.
Fellowship with God and assurance of eternal life is guaranteed only through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the hope we have of being God’s child. Any other hope is false, therefore keep away from those things that will gut your hope and leave you in a gilded cage, rather than experiencing the vibrant freedom of life in the Spirit.