1 John 5:1-12 ESV, “1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. [2] By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. [3] For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. [4] For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. [5] Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  [6] This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. [7] For there are three that testify: [8] the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. [9] If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. [10] Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. [11] And this is the testimony that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [12] Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”   

I will openly admit, there is a lot going on in these twelve verses. There are many textual questions that, if this were a full sermon or lecture, would have to be addressed. However, for the the purpose of this article, we do not need to get bogged down with every textual question. Instead we need to really look into the general idea that the Apostle John is trying to convey to these first century believers. Why do we need to do this? Because in these twelve verses, as complicated as they can be, contains one of the most wonderful promises in the Scriptures!

It is here that the Apostle John reminds us of one glorious truth, that as believers we need grasp onto, and that is everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world (1 John 5:4)!  So, let’s give some thought to these verses, and be encouraged.

Born of Him

One thing that we must remember as we read this text is that John was not writing with a 2016 audience in mind. Yes, that was our Sovereign God’s intention, but as John was writing, he was not giving thought to this. Therefore, we have to give a little attention to the context surrounding this text. During the first century, the audience of John’s first epistle proved God to be true to His word by successfully resisting false teaching (1 John 2:19). This battle had not left his intended audience without any uncertainties. The anxiety they faced caused many to question whether or not they were truly born of God.

John, showing his pastoral heart, wrote to his audience giving them three tests by which they could measure the authenticity of their faith. Now, we have to go out of our selected text and into chapter one to grasp this, but we must ask the question of why did he do this? He wrote these things so that they could be assured that they were truly born of God!

The first test was the holiness of their life (1 John 1:5-7). John was not writing this to bring even more anxiety about living a perfect life because that is not even possible. Instead he was testing their heart of obedience and their willingness to repent. In our repentance, we pursue Christ-likeness, fleeing from sin – dying to sin – and turning to Christ. And John said, seeing this true heart of repentance, seeing this desire to live in obedience, is the first sign that you are a true disciple.

The second was love for other believers (1 John 1:3). John writes to us that no one can hate his brother and confess Christ. In fact, if we read the entire first epistle of John, he proclaims that if we hate our brother, we are revealing ourselves as murderers who claim falsely to love God! (1 John 3:11-24)

The third and final test that John gives is confessing the incarnation (of Christ 1 John 1:1-3). See, John is underlining that only those who affirm the divinity of the Son are truly in Him. Only those who affirm the divine Son of God is the Lord Jesus Christ are the only one’s that have the Father! (1 John 2:18-27)

To give a little practical application before moving on, we too can be assured of our salvation with these three tests. As we are assured of our salvation, we can be confident in the fact that we will overcome the world!

Three That Testify

Now, if you will bear with me for just a few minutes, I do want to handle one textual question with some precision. John clearly proclaims to believers that confessing the incarnation of Christ is essential for overcoming the world. John defends the incarnation in one of the more perplexing passages in the New Testament (1 John 5:6-8).

John writes that Jesus came by the water and the blood and the Spirit testifies with them concerning the person of Jesus. Now, there are many scholars who try to unfold this text in many different ways; however, the majority believes that John’s reference here is a pointing back to Christ’s baptism and death. These two events, which prove to be historically true, were surrounding by the Spirit, as He testified to the true identity of Christ. John is proclaiming to his readers that Christ remained fully God and fully man even in His death, thus being the true incarnation of the Lord.

It is clear in this complex section of this text that John is boldly defending the incarnation. Today, those who claim to be a Christian but deny Jesus as being fully God and fully man likewise deny the Savior. A denial of a true incarnation leads to eternal death – the complete opposite of overcoming the world.

Whoever Has the Son

Let’s be honest for a minute, it would be extremely hard to find someone who did not want eternal life – to overcome the world. As John is telling us that there is only one way to receive this promise, and that is through faith. This true faith brings about community, this true faith brings about a heart of obedience, and this true faith brings about an acceptance of Jesus Christ – the Son of God.

In 1 John 5:11-12, John brings his discussion concerning the incarnation of Jesus to a close with a reminder of what comes to us when we believe in the Biblical Christ – we have the Son and He ushers in eternal life. Because of Christ we overcome the world!

Closing Thoughts

What an awesome joy we have in knowing that we will one day overcome the world! In Christ, we have the promise of eternal life, and as we are truly in Christ, we will never be cast out (Jn. 15:1-11). All those that have true saving faith will never be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:38-39). How we long for the Day of the Lord, where we will be glorified!

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