21/04/11 – 1 John 5:1-5
John now relates this love of God to the keeping of His commandments and the overcoming (or victory) that is ours when we are obedient by faith to God’s requirements, and the tying together of the victory back to our belief in Christ which has made us children of God.
1 John 5:1 – 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.
Whosoever – pas (all) – pas here (being masculine singular) would refer to all individuals of mankind, thus “each and every individual without exception” or “everyone”, thus “Whosoever”.
The same form of pas is translated “Whosoever” in Romans 10:13 (For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.); that is, “each and every individual of mankind without exception who calls upon the name of the Lord ……”.
pas may be translated as “some of all kinds/manner of” in cases where “all without exception” cannot be logically applied, such as in “all manner of precious stones” (Revelation 21:19).
pas is used as a masculine plural in John 12:32 (And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.) referring not so much to individuals but the totality of all mankind.
believeth – pisteuo (believe) This verb form is derived from the noun pistis (faith).
While John uses pisteuo (to believe) 10 times in 1 John, 7 of these are in 1 John 5:1-13. On the other hand, pistis (faith) is used only once in 1 John, in 1 John 5:4.
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ – Whosoever who believes that Jesus is the promised Christ, the Saviour, the Messiah, the Son of God, in fact, believes the claims made by the Old Testament concerning the coming Christ and Messiah.
every one – pas. Same as used for “Whosoever” above.
is born; begat; is begotten – gennao (to be born) We get our word “generate” from this term.
Thus each and every individual (everyone – this includes every single individual member of the human race without exception; no-one is excluded) who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (has been born of God); therefore it may be assumed that anyone who does not believe that Jesus is the Christ is not born of God. (Note that he who does not have the Son of God does not have life – 1 John 5:12) John also taught that this belief in Jesus was the Christ also had to include that He was born in the flesh as a man and died as a man in the flesh.
1 John 4:1-3 – 1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
And, every single person who loves (agape) Him (God the Father) who begot Jesus the Christ also loves (agape) the others whom the Father has begotten in Christ: the Christian brethren. This follows on from the last two verses of the previous chapter.
1 John 4:20-21 – 21If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Thus you cannot love God if you hate your brother.
Once again John is pushing this point very hard: that agape love originates from God alone, and only those who are born of God can have this agape love which, if they love God for loving them first (1 John 4:19), then they must also love all their Christian brethren. This love cannot be manufactured on our own without God.
1 John 4:7-8 – 7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
It is clear that this love can at no time act independently of God. Others will know that we are born of God because of His love which is demonstrated in us. This love is like a badge declaring us to be children of God.
John 13:35 – By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (that is, a mutual two-way love).
1 John 4:11 – Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
Loving our Christian brethren is a consequence of God loving us. If God loves us, then it is that same love of God (which) is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:5). Thus it is not a love generated by us as a consequence of God loving us, but instead it is that same love of God using us as a channel to reach out to our brethren (and the rest of the world as well).
It is interesting to note that over and over we get biblical statements (like Vs 1 above) that make Jesus Christ the only access to being born again. Thus any other gospel that requires being born again before one may believe in Jesus and be saved must be automatically non-biblical, a false gospel. Clearly one cannot be born again (or regenerated) without believing in Christ; the two must go together. It is only by distorting this through verbal gymnastics that calvinists claim that one must be born again (regenerated) before one may believe in Christ and be saved. Piper says: “Apart from the new birth, we are unable to accept the gospel. Apart from the new birth, we are unable to come to Christ or embrace him as Lord.”
The Bible says that we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved (Acts 16:31); thus salvation is the consequence of belief (which, according to Piper, is the consequence of being born again. As calvinist Boettner says: “A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.”
The biblical teaching, though, is that being born again is synonymous with being saved. A saved Christian is a born-again Christian. A saved Christian believes that Jesus is the Christ and is born of God. Being born of God (being born again; being saved) is a consequence of believing in Christ and not the cause of believing in Christ.
1 John 5:2 – By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
when – or “as long as”
If we love God we will keep His commandments. Just as loving one another declares us to be Christ’s disciples, our obedience to God likewise is a declaration of that love of God in us that demonstrates that we are His disciples.
John 14:15 – If ye love me, keep my commandments.
That includes loving one another (the brethren).
1 John 3:23-24 – 23And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
1 John 4:21 – And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
And it is our love and obedience toward God that demonstrates our love for the Christian brethren, rather than our love for our brethren demonstrating our love for God as in 1 John 4:21. If you love God you will love the brethren and if you love the brethren you will love God (and therefore will keep His commandments). You can’t have one without the other, in the same way that our love for the brethren must be mutual. Theoretically, with God’s love, you should not be able love your brethren if they don’t love you in return.
1 John 4:11 – Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another (mutually).
In practice, however, nothing is perfect, and it may be quite common at times to love your Christian brethren when they fail to reciprocate that love in any way.
Therefore it is our love for, and our obedience to, God that demonstrates that our love is agape love which can only come from God.
1 John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
grievous – barus (heavy in weight; burdensome; severe; stern; weighty; violent)
barus (adjective) is derived from the noun baros (weight; heaviness; burden; trouble).
We get our word “barometer” from baros (weight) + metron (to measure).
Thus “grievous” could be read as “burdensome” or weighing heavily upon us; therefore God’s commandments are not a heavy burden upon us.
Note that barus relates to weight while in the following another word is used to denote an actual burden being carried. Matthew 11:28-30 – 28Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.
where “heavy laden” is phortizo (heavy laden) and “burden” is phortion (burden; load).
For this is what demonstrates the genuine love of God: that we keep His commandments which are not unnecessarily burdensome upon us. Even in temptations and trials of suffering God will not overburden us or unnecessarily.
1 Corinthians 10:13 – There hath no temptation (temptation or trial) taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]. where “to bear” is hypophero which is derived from hypo + phero (= to carry a burden – from which phortizo and phortion are derived).
John 14:15 – If ye love me, keep my commandments.
1 John 5:4 – For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith.
victory – nike (victory)
overcometh – nikao (to conquer; carry off the victory; come off victorious) (Also used in Vs 5 below) It is derived from the noun nike (victory).
It is translated “have overcome” in 1 John 4:4 (Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater (or “stronger”) is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.) It has the idea of complete victory because God is more powerful than any that might oppose Him.
Note hypernikao (to be more than conqueror; to gain a surpassing victory) is translated “more than conquerors” in Romans 8:37 (Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.)
nikao is used 5 times in 1 John, and twice in today’s passage. nike is only used once in the NT, in 1 John 5:4. Overcoming the world (that opposes God’s people) by faith is an important theme in today’s passage.
faith – pistis. Note that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). It is clear from today’s passage that this is talking about believing or trusting by faith, rather than the faith (doctrine) that was once delivered to the saints (as per Jude 1:3). Here it is not faith as our doctrine that pleases God nor wins the victory, but faith as our belief that salvation (and being born again) is found in Christ alone.
pistis (faith) is the noun from which the verb pisteuo (to believe) is derived.
Here it is faith (pistis) that overcomes the world, and in Vs 5 below it is our belief (pisteuo) that overcomes the world. The verb form pisteuo is derived from the noun pistis; thus “believeth” is simply faith put into action.
our faith – Note that we are declared to be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) yet there is a condition to be fulfilled: our victory may only be “through him that loved us”. The Bible makes no promise at all that we can be more than conquerors on our own! We can’t!
I can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13) but the other side of the coin says that without Christ I can do nothing (John 15:5).
Thus “our faith” refers to our trust in the promises of God that ensure our victory, or rather, His victory which we may partake of if we are in living in obedience to Him at the time. These promises include the following:
Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
Ephesians 5:20 – Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
John 16:33 – These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Psalm 44:5 – Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.
Luke 10:19-20 – 19Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Romans 8:33-39 – 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth.34Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:57 – But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
the world – kosmos John uses this term throughout 1 John to refer to (a) the world of all mankind in general, or (b) the world of wickedness which is seen as satan’s world and opposed to God’s people who should not be of this world (1 John 2:15-17). Here it clearly refers to that world which is opposed to the genuine Christians that John is writing to.
Christians are to overcome the world (kosmos) by overcoming the wicked one (whose world it is) or the wickedness of the world because of the wicked one.
1 John 2:13-15 – 13I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome (nikao) the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. 14I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome (nikao) the wicked one. 15Love not the world (kosmos), neither the things [that are] in the world (kosmos). If any man love the world (kosmos), the love of the Father is not in him.
Those who overcame the wicked one were those in whom the word of God abided; that is, those who both knew and kept His commandmants, clearly because of their love for Him. (John 14:15)
It is interesting that “love” here is agape love which is the love of God, yet if anyone loves (agape) the world, God’s agape love is not in him. Compare this with John 3:16 where God so loved (agape) the world (kosmos). It is clear that we are not to bestow God’s agape love on a wicked world that is enmity to God. We may have a liking for some of the world, but we are not to love it in any way with a love that is entirely dependent upon God’s provision, for then we would be trying to force God to love that very thing which He hates.
1 John 5:5 – Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
And now we come full circle back to where this passage commenced: to those who believe that Jesus was the Christ who had been born again of God. It was those who believed that Jesus was the Christ who had been born of God who had overcome the world through their faith in God and now their faith which causes them to believe that Jesus is the Son of God demonstrates that group of people who will overcome the world.
believeth – pisteuo from pistis (faith)
In Vs 4 above it is faith (pistis) that overcomes the world, and here it is our belief (pisteuo) that overcomes the world.
It all comes down to believing that Jesus is the Christ and that there is no salvation in any other. It is belief that must precede our salvation and our spiritual new birth (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9) No-one can be saved without believing in Christ (1 John 5:12-13).
No-one may have eternal life without believing in Christ (John 5:40; John 3:16); no-one may therefore be born again with eternal life without believing in Christ. Therefore not one person may have eternal life to enter heaven before he/she is saved through believing in Christ; until a person believes in Christ for salvation, that person is condemned to eternity in hell (John 3:16-18). God is righteous which means He will never oppose any of His rules, ever. He will never give a person eternal life before that person is saved by believing in Christ. Any gospel that proclaims that one must be born again (regenerated) before one can believe in Christ and be saved must also teach that such a person who is born again does not have eternal life and is still heading for hell until he believes in Christ and is saved.
The gospel is very clear and straight-forward. The preaching of the gospel opens eyes to the truth of sin and redemption, prompting those who hear to decide this day whom they will serve. People must decide whether they can trust the gospel message; and because it is God’s word to them, then they must trust that God will deliver on His promises – this is termed “faith” which comes by hearing by the word of God (that is, the gospel) – Romans 10:17. If a person has faith that what God promises He will deliver, then he will demonstrate that faith by calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13). Put simply, if you believe the gospel, and then act upon that belief, then you are saved. Works will be the consequence of that salvation, not the cause.