25/04/21 – 1 John 5:6-13
1 John 5:6 – 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 (martyreo), because the Spirit is truth.
he that came – erchomai (to come – from one place to another, both of persons arriving and returning; make one’s appearance; come into being; to go; to follow one)
It has the idea of going from one place or situation to another, an active coming. It differs from heko (to have come; to have arrived; to be present) which has the idea of being in attendance, of being there as opposed to not being there. Both Greek words are used in John 6:37 – All that the Father giveth me shall come (heko) to me; and him that cometh (erchomai) to me I will in no wise cast out. The first group will be present as opposed to absent, while the second group will arrive having “travelled” from somewhere else.
Thus erchomai defines “he that came” as an active coming to arrive at some point or place.
by blood and water – There are various ways of looking at this. The actual interpretation is likely to cover all these following aspects as far as I am concerned.
1/. Keep in mind that John has already taught that Jesus came in the flesh (1 John 4:2-3). Thus it is important that this be consistent with the rest of the Bible. When Jesus was pierced with a spear on the cross, both water and blood came out. Some have stated that this is what happens when a person of flesh and blood dies and therefore it demonstrated that He was indeed dead and didn’t have to have His legs broken like the other two.
John 19:34 – But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
But it also can make it clear that Jesus was truly flesh and blood, dying the death that only flesh and blood could die.
Heretic groups such as the Docetists taught that Jesus Himself was only a spirit, lacking any physical flesh of His own. But a spirit-only being could not die as only flesh and blood could die. And, if Jesus were spirit-only, then He could not have died as the Passover Lamb of God. And the only way He could take away the sins of the world was to die as a sacrificial lamb on the altar.
John 1:29 – The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
And the only way to die the death of a man was to be born and to live as a man in the flesh until His death in the flesh.
2/. Note the context of 1 John 5:6, that it follows on from 1 John 5:5 (Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?). John states that it is those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God who will overcome the world. This is that same Jesus (Vs 6) who has come by water and blood, and not just by water. This is testified to by the Spirit of God Himself whose testimony cannot be ignored because He is truth itself. The Christ had to be the one who would redeem His people. But how would He redeem His people? By cleansing us from sin.
There are two processes for our cleansing: purification through “the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26) and the purging of our sin through the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22).
Hebrews 9:22 – And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Ephesians 5:26-27 – 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Thus the water and the blood would signify purification by water and redemption through the blood.
3/. Another way of looking at this would be to note that that which commenced Christ’s ministry was His baptism in water by John the Baptist, and that which concluded His ministry was the shedding of His blood for the sins of mankind; thus He could say, “It is finished!” His complete ministry for the redemption of mankind could only rest upon both the water and the blood. Each of these (water and blood) represent the two main sacraments: baptism and communion.
not by water only, but by water and blood – Without the blood there can be no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Thus to be cleansed by the water of the word (Ephesians 5:26) would not deal with our problem of sin and therefore, even if cleansed, we could still not approach God in all His sinless holiness. And, if the water represents the commencement of Christ’s ministry, it could never be fulfilled without the shedding of blood to finalise His ministry.
beareth witness – martyreo (to be a witness, to bear witness, i.e. to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that he knows it because taught by divine revelation or inspiration) To testify as one would in a court of law. martyreo is derived from martys from which we get our word “martyr”: a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion. (merriam-webster.com)
And it is the Spirit who bears witness to this and it is the Spirit who leads us into all truth (John 16:13). It is interesting to note that other religions claim to have the truth but it is only the God of the Bible who lays claim to being the truth itself. His word is truth (John 17:17). What God says must be true; thus any prophet who claimed to speak God’s word had to demonstrate its truth before he could be accepted as God’s prophet.
Deuteronomy 18:22 – When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
Thus God is defined by His word and His word is defined by being the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. God Himself is truth and thus all His works must be truth; thus the testimony of the Spirit of God must be truth and can never ever be anything else but the truth. And we may only fear the one who is truth – Matthew 10:28.
1 John 5:7 – For there are three that bear record (martyreo) in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
bear record – to bear witness (see Vs 6 above)
For it is not just the Spirit who bears witness to Jesus being the Son of God (see 1 John 5:6; also see Vss 8-13 below). It is the full Godhead, the Trinity of Father, Son (the Word) and the Holy Spirit; all are one in their agreement on this matter: that Jesus is the Son of God. Note that while many claim that “For there are three that bear record” is the only genuine or original text here, biblical consistency permits agreement that this can only refer to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are one (see John 17:21-22; John 16:13).
Thus this may be seen as heaven’s three-pronged testimony to the Sonhood of Christ.
1 John 5:8 – And there are three that bear witness (martyreo) in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
While it is the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit who agree as one in heaven, and while God’s will will be done on earth as in heaven (Matthew 6:10), it is the practical application of this on earth (through the Spirit, water and the blood) that testifies to Jesus being the Son of God; and the testimonies of all three agree as one.
The Spirit of God testifies with our spirits that we are His children.
Romans 8:14-16 – 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness (symmartyreo – to bear joint witness together) with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
(Note that symmartyreo is not just an isolated testimony but a joint testimony by more than one where all are in total agreement with each other.)
The Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13). By the one Spirit we are all baptised into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). It is by that same Spirit that we declare Jesus to be Lord, while not one who is led by the Spirit is able to declare Jesus accursed.
1 Corinthians 12:3 – Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
And, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)
The Spirit of truth will testify of Jesus the Son of God to God’s children.
John 15:26 – But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify (martyreo) of me:
The water and the blood are as described in the previous 2 verses and in conjunction with the witness of the Spirit must agree as one or else. As this is a disputed verse for original manuscripts, there are many differing opinions as to what it means. However, I believe that this is the witness of men (Vs 9 below) that we should receive: that we as God’s children testify to others of the truth of Jesus being the Son of God with our lives as evidence, especially relating to our baptism (water and/or being baptised into one body as per 1 Corinthians 12:13) and being cleansed from all our sin (which we should be able to testify of if indeed we have experienced it).
Therefore, biblical consistency can only agree that these disputed verses should read in their entirety (as presented in the KJV).
Revelation 12:11 (And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony (martyria); and they loved not their lives unto the death.) says that testimonies are a weapon that can be used to overcome the enemy. Our testimony should be based upon our cleansing by the water (sanctification) and our remission for sins (redemption through the blood of the Lamb).
1 John 5:9 – If we receive the witness (martyria) of men, the witness (martyria) of God is greater: for this is the witness (martyria) of God which he hath testified (martureo) of his Son.
the witness – martyria (a witness; testimony; what one testifies before a judge) Both martyria and martyreo are derived from the same word (martys – a witness; martyr; record)
And if our testimonies as to what God has done for us are effective ……
Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses (martys) unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
….. then the witness (testimony) of God is greater (including Matthew 17:5 – God’s testimony regarding Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration).
Man may be able to tell lies, and even 2 or 3 witnesses may all lie, but God’s word is truth and can never lie.
The testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses in Moses’ day was sufficient to convict (Deuteronomy 19:15; Deuteronomy 17:6).
Jesus taught that two witnesses could establish the truth.
John 8:17-18 – 17It is also written in your law, that the testimony (martyria) of two men is true. 18I am one that bear witness (martyreo) of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness (martyreo) of me.
God’s testimony is greater than any other testimony because God can swear by none greater than Himself (Hebrews 6:13).
And this is God’s witness concerning His Son Jesus of whom
He has borne witness. Or, this is God’s witness which consists of having borne
witness (perfect tense, therefore an action fully completed in the past)
concerning His Son.
John recorded the incident of the water and blood at the crucifixion in order that we might know that what was said was true in order to cause us to believe.
John 19:34-35 – 34But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35And he that saw [it] bare record (martyreo), and his record (martyria) is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
It is clear that this issue of water and blood is a pivotal incident in demonstrating the truth that Jesus is the Son of God and that believing in Him will ultimately gain us eternal life (see Vss 11-13). This is why I believe that the witness of the water and the blood somehow has to refer back to John 19:34. That incident is that which demonstrates (testifies to the fact) that Jesus is the Son of God. This must be especially noted when we see that the same writer presented both John and 1 John. So much of 1 John rests upon the same teachings presented in John such that one ends up complementing the other, like a consistency that cannot be denied.
1 John 5:10 – He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness (martyria) in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record (martyria) that God gave (martyreo) of his Son.
In Vs 13 below, John explains that he has written these things in order that we might have confidence in our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; that it is not just a bit of wishful or hopeful thinking, but is backed up by the witness of the water and the blood and also of God Himself.
He who believes on the Son of God for salvation has this witness in himself (through the Spirit – see Vs 6 above).
Romans 8:14-16 – 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness (symmartyreo) with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Belief is made in Jesus for salvation – see Romans 10:9-10 – 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
believeth – pisteuo (to believe) Derived from pistis (faith).
It is by faith that we believe God’s word concerning the truth of the gospel (Romans 10:17), and it is only by faith that we are able to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Any who hear the gospel (which is God’s witness concerning the salvation in His Son Jesus), yet do not believe it to be true, have declared God’s word to be lies and not the truth, because they do not believe the witness and therefore are declaring God to be a liar.
1 John 2:4 – He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
that God gave – or that God has given as a completed action in the past (perfect tense). Thus it is referring to for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son (Vs 9 above). God gave witness which is true of His Son yet there are those who do not believe God’s witness.
1 John 5:11 – And this is the record (martyria), that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
eternal life – aionios + zoe
The witness that God bears to us (that John has been discussing already in this passage) is that He has given us access to eternal life through His Son Jesus. The law required 2 or 3 witnesses to establish a fact, and Jesus taught that just 2 witnesses could do so (John 8:17). Therefore, if God has provided 3 witnesses from heaven (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and if God’s witness is greater than man’s, then this has more than established the truth according to the law. Even if witnesses from earth were required to establish the truth, then Vs 8 above names those witnesses (the Spirit who indwells God’s people; the water of cleansing by the word; the blood of the Lamb that has given us remission for our sins) who all agree as one. This in itself is sufficient for the requirements of the law, but the witness of the 3 from heaven (Vs 9 above) is even greater and more sufficient again. (Compare with the “greater witness” in John 5:36 below.)
The truth to which all these witnesses are testifying is that God has given to us eternal life which may be found only in His Son.
John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 5:36-40 – 36But I have greater witness (martyria) than [that] of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness (martyreo) of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness (martyreo) of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify (martyreo) of me. 40And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
In fact, Vs 12 below spells it out even more clearly: you cannot have eternal life without the Son! This is a major point that John is making here: that it is literally impossible to have eternal life in any shape or form or sense unless you also have the Son of God in your life. The two must go together or else! They must both exist together or else they both cannot exist. At no time can you have one without the other.
1 John 5:12 – He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Spurgeon, that allegedly great teacher, said, “There never was a man who came to Christ for eternal life, for legal life, for spiritual life, who had not already received it, in some sense” (“Free will – a slave” Sermon No.52) But how can anyone have eternal life in some sense before he comes to Christ? In fact, how can you have just some sense of eternal life without having it in every sense? Effectively Spurgeon is saying that we already have some sense of eternal life before we come to Christ to get it in every sense. You see, being born again must include the gift of eternal life, or else you would be spiritually still-born! Therefore, according to the Bible, anyone who is born again before coming to the Son of God must yet remain dead until he comes to Christ. No Son = no eternal life! It must be one of the greatest mysteries of calvinism just how someone can be regenerated (= be born again) yet still be condemned to hell until he believes on the Son of God for eternal life.
John 3:18 – He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Boettner said that “A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.” But how can anyone be saved without eternal life? Yet according to Boettner you have to be saved without eternal life. However, Jesus said: And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:40)
1 John 5:13 – 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
John is emphasising why he has laboured this point so much. He has to make it absolutely crystal clear that if you believe on the name of the Son of God (as per the biblical gospel), then you are assured of having eternal life, and, the fact that you have eternal life then assures you that you may have confidence in having believed on the name of the Son of God. One goes with the other; each truth guarantees the other truth: that he that has the Son has life (Vs 12 above). Any gospel which allows a person to have eternal life for any time at all without the Son also has to teach that a person regenerated with eternal life can be condemned to hell until he believes in the Son. Calvinists have to explain how a born-again person can still be sent to hell! “he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”, even if he is regenerated!
Finally, in any court of law (where witness statements are heard), if two separate witness statements conflict with each other, then one must be a lie (note Vs 10 above), a false statement. And any person making a witness statement in a court of law knowing that it is false has committed perjury, which is “The crime of willfully and knowingly making a false statement about a material fact while under oath.” (thefreedictionary.com) If a false teacher knowingly makes false witness statements using carefully sculpted words (verbal gymnastics), then their judgment is coming without delay.
2 Peter 2:3 – And through covetousness shall they with feigned (plastos – carefully sculpted) words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
However, God who cannot lie because He is truth itself has testified to the truth here and therefore anything else is by logical definition a lie.