1 John 5
by Philip Layton
Obedience to God demonstrates our love for him
- In what way is Christianity both inclusive and exclusive (v 12)?
- ‘All wrongdoing is sin’ (v 17) – is this the best definition of sin for the modern world?
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Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
John boldly states that our faith in Jesus as the Son of God conquers the world. Those who believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah have this perpetual victory. Why is this faith so dynamic? It stems from the belief in the Incarnation. Such a faith says that we believe God cares for humanity enough to miraculously enter it and take part in it. He knows us and he is with us. That heartens us.
Faith in Jesus as the Christ acknowledges that he endured the worst the world could deal out, even death on the cross, and did it for us. Faith in Jesus as the Christ says that we believe he rose again as victor over death. If we believe in him and what he has done for us, he can keep us victorious as well.
What does John mean when he says that Jesus came by water and blood (v.6)? Some commentators think that John refers to the water and blood that poured from Jesus’ side on the cross (John 19:34). But most concur that the reference points to Christ’s baptism and crucifixion.
Here John may be countering a Gnostic heresy. An educated contemporary of John’s, Cerinthus, taught that Jesus was only a man until his baptism when ‘the Christ’ descended on him as a dove. After his ministry of preaching and miracles, ‘the Christ’ part – incapable of suffering – left Jesus to suffer and die alone. John corrects this view as he makes it clear that Jesus Christ’s death is essential to our redemption and that Jesus is ever the Christ.
The many miracles Jesus performs attest to who he is; the Scripture witnesses to him; God testifies to Jesus’ Messiahship on several pivotal occasion in his life. The Holy Spirit is visually present at Jesus’ baptism when God verbally declares approval of his Son. Disciples hear God’s voice at Christ’s transfiguration. Bystanders hear God’s voice in reply to Jesus’ prayer that God would glorify his name. Even at his death, unique wonders testify to who Jesus is (Matthew 27:45-54). What a Saviour!