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The Letters of John

BC Weekly Digest
Sunday, October 18 1998

In this issue:

	1 John 5:1
	1 John 5:2
	1 John 5:3
	1 John 5:4,5
	1 John 5:1-7
	1 John 5:4-7

1 John 5:1

1 John 5:1 (OPV)
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ, is born of 
God, and whoever loves Him who gives birth, loves him also 
who is born of Him.
5:1 "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ, is born of 
  As mentioned before, John uses simple words but never 
superficially. Superficial believers often misunderstand 
John. They mistakenly conclude, for example, that one can 
be born of God by nothing more than a superficial faith.
  For John, however, believing in Jesus as the Christ is 
not simply mental ascent, but a genuine, dedicated, living 
faith with all it entails.
  In verse four he adds: "whatever is born of God 
overcomes the world, and this is the victory that has 
overcome the world, our faith!" So believing that Jesus is 
the Christ involves overcoming the world! 
  In verse 18 he clarifies what it means to overcome the 
world: "We know that anyone having been born of God does 
not continue sinning, but He who is born of God watches 
over him, and the evil one does not have a hold on him." 
So being born of God involves NOT continuing in sin.
  Of course, this rebirth by the power and grace of God is 
only accessible to those who believe.
  For John believing that Jesus is the Christ involves 
being "in Christ" as he clarifies in verses 11 and 12: 
"And the testimony is this, that God gives us eternal 
life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son, has 
life. He who does not have the Son of God, does not have 
  When John says "born of God" these simple words involve 
a rebirth that completely corresponds with all the Spirit 
teaches through the word about the rebirth.
  Superficial believers sometimes think they can be saved 
by their own will, on their own terms, without submitting 
to the will of God.
  But they who have the word of God abiding in them, the 
word which followers of Christ have had from the beginning 
(1 John 2:7 and 14), understand what John means by "born 
of God."
  They know this birth is possible only by submitting to 
the will of God as expressed in His word: "He came unto 
his own, and they that were his own received him not. But 
as many as received him, to them gave he the right to 
become children of God, [even] to them that believe on his 
name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the 
flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" 
(John 1:11 ASV).
  They know Jesus told Nicodemus: "Except one be born of 
water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of 
God!" (John 3:5 ASV).
  They know this new life begins at baptism: "Or are ye 
ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus 
were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore 
with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ 
was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, 
so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have 
become united with [him] in the likeness of his death, we 
shall be also [in the likeness] of his resurrection" 
(Rom 6:3-5 ASV).
  They know this birth occurs by the mercy of God through 
the washing of regeneration: "But when the kindness of God 
our Savior, and his love toward man, appeared, not by 
works [done] in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but 
according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of 
regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he 
poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our 
Savior; that, being justified by his grace, we might be 
made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" 
(Titus 3:4-7 ASV).

5:1 "And whoever loves Him who gives birth, loves him also 
who is born of Him"
  This is a continuation and further verification of the 
idea expressed at the close of chapter 4, "that he who 
loves God should love his brother also" (verse 21).
  The rebirth requires faithful obedience to the truth, 
not just superficial mental ascent, and it places one in 
the loving relationship of the family of God: "Seeing ye 
have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth 
unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from 
the heart fervently: having been begotten again, not of 
corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word 
of God, which liveth and abideth" (1 Peter 1:22,23 ASV).
Roy Davison


1 John 5:2

1 John 5:2 (OPV)
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when 
we love God and do His commandments. 
5:2 "We know"
  As mentioned before, one of John's purposes is to 
emphasize how much we know and to explain how we know it. 
This is part of his refutation of the false teachers who 
claimed to have some special, hidden knowledge, 
unavailable to others.
  "And by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His 
commandments" (1 John 2:3). "But whoever keeps His word, 
in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this 
we know that we are in Him. He who says he remains in Him 
ought himself also to walk as He walked" (1 John 2:5,6). 
"Little children, it is the final hour. And as you heard 
that antichrist was coming, even now many antichrists have 
arisen, by which we know that it is the final hour" 
(1 John 2:18). "We know that we have passed from death 
into life because we love the brethren. He who does not 
love, remains in death" (1 John 3:14). "We know love 
because He laid down His life for us" (1 John 3:16). "And 
by this we know that He remains in us, by the Spirit whom 
He gave us" (1 John 3:24). "We are of God. He who knows 
God listens to us. He who is not of God, does not listen 
to us. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit 
of error" (1 John 4:6). "By this we know that we abide in 
Him, and He in us, because He has given us [a portion] of 
His Spirit" (1 John 4:13). "I have written these things to 
you so you may know that you have eternal life -- to the 
ones who believe in the name of the Son of God" (1 John 
5:13)."And if we know that He hears us when we ask, we 
know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him" 
(1 John 5:15). "We know that anyone having been born of 
God does not continue sinning" (1 John 5:18). "We know 
that we are of God, and the whole world is found in the 
evil one" (1 John 5:19). "And we know that the Son of God 
has come, and has given us understanding that we might 
know the True One, and we are in the True One, in His Son 
Jesus Christ. This is the True God, and eternal life" 
(1 John 5:20). 
5:2 "By this we know that we love the children of God, 
when we love God and do His commandments" 
  Among all these things we know, we can also know that we 
love the children of God.
  There is much misunderstanding about what constitutes 
  Some people think they love their children because they 
give them everything they want and let them have their way 
in everything. A quick reading of Proverbs would let them 
know that such is not a sign of love but of hate! They are 
doing something that is bad for their children.
  Many other things that people think are expressions of 
love, are revealed by Scripture to be expressions of 
selfishness, because they harm others.
  If we love God and obey His commands, we will also have 
it right in our love for others because His commands are 
for our good and for the good of all mankind. 
Roy Davison 


1 John 5:3

1 John 5:3 (OPV)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His 
commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
  John says in his second letter: "And this is love: that 
we walk according to His commandments" (2 John 6 OPV).
  Jesus emphasized love as the basis of true obedience: 
"If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments" (John 14:15 
ASV). "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he 
it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved 
of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest 
myself unto him" (John 14:21 ASV).
  Jesus related obedience to joy! "If ye keep my 
commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have 
kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may be in 
you, and [that] your joy may be made full" (John 15:10,11 
 His commands are a source of joy when obeyed in love.
  A sister once told me that she did not understand this 
verse: "And His commandments are not burdensome." To her 
they were very burdensome! But she also insisted on having 
a 'command' for everything! She would ask me questions 
about every detail of life, wanting me to tell her exactly 
what to do. I explained that God has given us principles 
to live by. In many cases we must decide ourselves what to 
do from day to day on the basis of God-given principles. 
She never liked that reply, she wanted a specific command 
for everything. Eventually she left the faith and joined a 
sect with an abundant supply of man-made commands.
  Jesus said this about certain religious leaders of His 
time: "Yea, they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be 
borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they 
themselves will not move them with their finger" (Matt 
23:4 ASV). 
  Christ's commands are given in love. What He tells us to 
do is good for us. And His loving commands are obeyed in 
love and joy by those who accept His invitation: "Come 
unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for 
I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto 
your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" 
(Matt 11:28-30 ASV).
  Burdens are also lifted because Christians love each 
other: "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the 
law of Christ" (Gal 6:2 ASV).
Roy Davison


1 John 5:4,5

1 John 5:4,5 (OPV)
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and 
this is the victory that has overcome the world, our 
5 And who is he who overcomes the world, but he who 
believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
  The "young men" to whom John wrote had "overcome the 
evil one" (1 John 2:13). He says they are strong and the 
word of God abides in them (verse 14).
  Our victory over the world results from our relationship 
with God: "You are of God, little children, and have 
overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he 
who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
  We place our trust in Christ who Himself has overcome 
the world, and will help us in our struggle: "These things 
have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In 
the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I 
have overcome the world" (John 16:33 ASV). We have 
tribulation in the world. This refers to afflictions and 
trials, which annoy and frustrate. But we need not be 
discouraged. Victory is assured through Christ.
  Following Christ's example, and by the strength that 
comes from Him, His followers are not overcome by evil, 
but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21).
  Victory through faith in Christ is also a prominent 
theme in the Revelation, which was written in a time of 
persecution. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of 
David, has overcome (Rev 5:5).
  This does not mean there will be no struggle. Victory 
only comes after battle! In Revelation 'overcoming' has 
the meaning in context of remaining faithful until death.
  But hear the great promises Christ gives those who 
overcome through faith in Him!
"To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the 
tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God" (Rev 2:7 
"He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death" 
(Rev 2:11 ASV).
"To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden 
manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the 
stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that 
receiveth it" (Rev 2:17 ASV).
"And he that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto 
the end, to him will I give authority over the nations: 
and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels 
of the potter are broken to shivers; as I also have 
received of my Father: and I will give him the morning 
star" (Rev 2:26-28 ASV).
"He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white 
garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the 
book of life, and I will confess his name before my 
Father, and before his angels" (Rev 3:5 ASV).
"He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the 
temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more: and 
I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of 
the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down 
out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name" (Rev 
3:12 ASV).
"He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with 
me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my 
Father in his throne" (Rev 3:21 ASV).
"He that overcometh shall inherit these things; and I will 
be his God, and he shall be my son" (Rev 21:7 ASV).
Roy Davison


1 John 5:1-7

1 John 5:1-7
  In his epistle John weaves together three essentials by 
which the true Christian is recognized: belief in Christ, 
in His deity and humanity, the practice of genuine godly 
love, and heartfelt obedience to the Father's will.
  The Messiah's yoke is easy, and obedience to a loving 
Father is not irksome, as His will is 'good, acceptable 
and perfect'(Romans 12:2). The desire of our all-wise and 
all-loving Father is our highest good. In joy we seek to 
follow the will of the One who first loved us.
  Enjoying the new birth we are delivered out of this 
world of darkness where Satan rules, into the light of 
God's family an kingdom (Col. 1:13).
  Through the influence of His truth and His indwelling 
Spirit we can overcome the attractions and participate in 
His victory! This conquest continues as we walk in His 
light (1 John 1:7).
  Trusting, loving and obedient believers are God's 
children, born from above and, as they continue to follow 
their Savior's example, they too overcome this world.
  Belief, love and obedience weave the clothe we wear as 
we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ!
J. Lee Roberts


1 John 5:4-7

1 John 5:4-7

5:4 "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and 
this is the victory that has overcome the world, our 
  It is plain here that we are witnessing the fulfillment 
of the prophecy of Isaiah 2:1-4 where he prophesied the 
coming of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. It was to be a 
spiritual kingdom, not an earthly one. In it there would 
be no more need for carnal warfare but rather the warfare 
of the soul. In Eph 6:12, the apostle Paul noted: "For our 
wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the 
principalities, against the powers, against the world-
rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual [hosts] of 
wickedness in the heavenly [places]"(ASV).
  In John 18:36, Jesus answered Pilate: "My kingdom is not 
of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then 
would my servants fight, that I should  not be delivered 
to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" (ASV). 
No one understood Him but He was talking about the kingdom 
that would come in the power of the Holy Spirit some 
fifty-three days in the future through the establishment 
of the church on the day of Pentecost, the wonderful 
collection of all the precious souls who overcame sin 
through baptism into the body of the redeemed (Galatians 
3:26-27; see also Acts 2:47).

5:5 "And who is he who overcomes the world, but he who 
believes that Jesus is the son of God?"(OPV).
  Indeed, the answer is self-evident, that those who 
overcome sin (through the washing of regeneration through 
the blood of Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5), are those who have 
obeyed from the heart and submitted their will to the will 
of God in baptism. Some pedobaptists argue that baptism is 
a work and that works cannot save a person. No, baptism is 
a demonstration of faith, for the writer of Hebrews 
states, "But without faith [it is] impossible to please 
[him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, 
and [that] he is a  rewarder of them that diligently seek 
him"(KJV). Obeying God is required of all men. Being 
baptized for the remission of sin is no more of a work 
than having someone pray for forgiveness. Both require 
effort on the part of the sinner. But, baptism is ordered 
by God and the prayer that our denominational friends try 
to impose to "qualify" someone for salvation is not 
ordered by God. Nowhere is it to be found as a 
prerequisite for salvation. See also Romans 2:6-7.

5:6 "He is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus 
Christ, not in the water only, but in the water and in the 
  It is as if Jesus realized that there would be latter-
day detractors toward baptism.
  Here John makes special emphasis that Jesus Himself was 
baptized in accord with God's will at the beginning of His 
ministry under the Mosaic dispensation and later provided 
a lasting absolution from sin through the shedding of His 
blood. He was the unspotted lamb because He did no sin nor 
did He pollute His soul as we do today. Because of this, 
we now have the perfect sacrifice in Jesus Christ. This is 
why His blood can cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

5:7 "And it is the Spirit who is testifying, because the 
Spirit is the truth"(OPV).
  In Romans 8:16-17, Paul writes, "The Spirit itself 
beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children 
of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and 
joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with 
[him], that we may be also glorified together."(KJV) 
  The Holy Spirit seals us through our obedience to God in 
that we have done exactly what God, in His revealed word, 
requires. In Ephesians 1:13-14, Paul writes, "In whom ye 
also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the 
gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye 
believed, ye were sealed  with that holy Spirit of 
promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the 
redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of 
his glory"(KJV).
  I believe that this promise, this earnest of our 
inheritance, is the "gift of the Holy Spirit" referred to 
in Acts 2:38 because Luke refers to the promise being made 
to both the Jew as well as the Gentile. He states that the 
promise was to "you (the Jews) and to those who were afar 
off (the Gentiles), even as many as the Lord, our God, 
shall call unto Him."
Howard Justice