I John 5: 1-13

I John 5 1-13:  Blessed Assurance

I write these things to you who believe in the NAME of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal  life.” ( I John 5:13) {There is something about that NAME  isn’t there?}

As  we near the end of our study of John’s first epistle, one realizes that what John has written for believers for all times is a maintenance manual. A ‘how-to-maintain’ your Christian walk. Problems to look for- solutions to problems, etc.

Consider for instance that John has told us how to maintain fellowship, truth, love and now how to maintain assurance of our salvation. If you have been born again- John tells us we will have certain birth marks. We will practice truth and righteousness not a lifestyle of sin. We will love one another and in this last chapter we will see some important birth marks that assure us of our salvation.

Here is the first birth mark in the first verses:  “ Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God : by loving God  and carrying out His commands.” You become a child of God through simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You not only trust what He did at Calvary- you trust and believe Who He is. He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Listen to what John wrote in the Gospel of John: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the  power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe on His name.” You see- one believes who He is as well as what He did. For if He is not who says He is then what He did in dying for sins does not matter. It is this faith that produces the new birth.  By believing Jesus is the Son of God, The Christ you are ‘born of God.’

This expression- ‘born of God’  is very important . It has nothing to do with joining a church, (although joining a Bible-believing church is important). You are born again- born of God when you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. Here is the proof:  you now love God, who is your Heavenly Father, you love His Son and you love His children and you carry out His commandments.

Verses  4 &5 of this chapter make an amazing statement: “ For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Did you notice the sequence here ?  When we are born of God , born again of the Spirit, we love God, we love His Son, we love His children and we obey His commands. We overcome the  world of sin and sinful living by obeying God’s commandments.  Greater is He (the Holy Spirit) who is in us than he who is in the world. God has worked in us the desire and the power to do His good pleasure. Our faith in His ability, in His promises, our faith in Him allows us to overcome the world. It is not by fighting but by faith.  How did Joshua and the children of Israel take Jericho? Was it by attacking the city? No- Hebrews 11:30 tells us: “ by faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.” Jericho represents the world and Joshua and the people of Israel overcame the world by their faith in God’s command, for it was God who told them to march around the city.

Trying to overcome the world of sin through our own self efforts never works. I  know- I tried for years to quit drinking and could not quit and stay quit. Victory over alcohol and my craving for alcohol is a sign that I have the Lord Himself within me. It is my faith in Him that obtained the victory. As Paul said- ‘ the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” ( Galatians 2:20b)  This is the victory that overcomes the world one day at a time- sometimes one minute at a time.  We are conquerors, but we must be on guard and be vigilant for there is another enemy that we encounter besides the world of sin which is under the power of the evil one. It is the flesh.

If we look back at the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho- we see how Jericho symbolizes the world and it appeared to Joshua to be impossible for them to conquer this walled, armed fortress of a city. In other words, they realized they were powerless over this force. Just as I realized finally I was powerless over sin- that is in my own strength and efforts.

But following this mighty victory over Jericho, Joshua and the army of Israel suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of a smaller force at the little town of Ai. Ai represents the flesh. And whereas Joshua relied solely on the Lord and His power when facing the fortress of Jericho- he relied on his own efforts in taking Ai and suffered a setback.  Pride goes before a fall and our flesh is prideful and can deceive us into thinking we can do it ourself. But the Proverbs tells us: Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not to your own understanding; in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path. So often after we have had a victory over the world the Lord has given us- we somehow think we can now do it by ourselves.  As Paul said to the Galatians- ‘ having begun in the Spirit – are you now   trying to attain your goal by human effort?  That is a battle within – the battle for the mind that our flesh, old nature wages against our new nature. Be on guard for over-confidence ,  pride goes before the fall- just ask Joshua.

“This is the One who has come by water and blood- Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and they are in agreement. We  accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God which is given about His Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son.( this is my beloved son in whom I am pleased.) And this is the testimony- God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.( john3:16) He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.: ( I john 5_6-12)

The water and the blood represent the beginning and the end of the Lord’s  public earthly ministry. It began at the Jordan River with his baptism by John the Baptist. His public ministry ended in blood at the Calvary. At our Lord’s baptism, when he came up out of the water- the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove and the voice of God from heaven proclaimed-‘this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’

You might be thinking as John the Baptist was thinking- if this baptism was for the cleansing of sin and a symbol of a sinner repenting and asking God to forgive him- why did the Lord Jesus need baptism if he was without sin?  John the Baptist expressed the same thought when he said to the Lord, it is you who should be baptizing me. But the Lord knew his role was to represent mankind and to take on the sin of the world the whole burden of guilt for all of mankind for all time. Jesus replied to John: “ Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” ( Matthew 3)  Remember what Jesus said – he did not come to do away with the law- but to fulfill it- every jot and tittle. By His baptism, the Lord Jesus completely identified with sinful man, even though he himself was without sin. He was our substitute and our example.

One must realize Jesus was the only one in all of history qualified to atone for our sins. If you question the validity of the Lord’s virgin birth- you must  realize that the virgin birth is a doctrine we must accept as true, not just because God’s word said it was the case- but because it also must be the  case. For if Jesus was born of man- he would have been born  with  a sinful nature and as such could not have been the atoning sacrifice that only He could be. For without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.  But the blood of a lamb, even one without  blemish was only a symbol of the one- John the Baptist identified as Jesus, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. All those other lambs , goats an bulls whose blood was shed and the High Priest who took that blood into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement were a foreshadow of the coming of the Messiah. Thus the water of baptism was the water of cleansing. For their must be forgiveness of sin when a sinner turns to God and repents, turns from his/her sins. But for God to forgive us our sins- there must be atonement for our sins. An antoning death is necessary. But not just any death- but the death of one without sin. Jesus was the only one in the history of the world – the one and only qualified to save us from our sins.

So water represents cleansing of our sins made possible by the atoning death  of Jesus. These are historical, external witnesses. But the third witness is the Spirit who indwells us and seals us and witnesses to us internally- that we are the children of God . We believe that Christ died not only for the sins of the world- but for my sins, personally.  My sins- the list of all my sins- were nailed to the cross, covered with the blood and no longer held against me.

His public ministry ended  in His blood being poured out. It was poured out in that courtyard where Roman soldiers scourged Him with a whips that contained fragments of bone and metal tied in their ends to tear open the flesh of the victims’ backs. It poured from his hands and his feet when the spikes were driven pinning him to the cross like that ram whose horns were caught in the thicket and thorns at Mount Moriah where Abraham had taken Isaac his son for a sacrifice.  And the blood and water flowed from his side where the soldier thrust his spear.  This was the lamb that God provided. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  It is his precious blood applied to our hearts like the blood applied to the door post in Egypt that causes God to pass over our sins.

So to be restored to a right relationship with a Holy God, one must have their sins forgiven- be cleansed. For this cleansing to take place there must be the shedding of blood, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. This blood must come from an innocent sacrifice, perfect and without blemish. It was then presented by the High Priest in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. Here is what the Lord did to fulfill that prophecy at Calvary.

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained ETERNAL SALVATION.  And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament, by the means of death-that we might  receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9)

“ He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was laid upon Him, and with his stripes we are healed.”( Isaiah 53)

“By this gospel you are saved. If you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures and that he appeared to Peter and then to the twelve. After that he appeared to more than 500 of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living though some have fallen asleep.: ( I Corinthians 15)

John says you accept the testimony of man- why will you not accept the testimony of God about His Son? We believe without question the testimony of men and eyewitnesses regarding events we have not seen that occurred in the past.  Yet many do not believe the testimony of God who they have not seen.  Why is that?  The  person who does not believe God has called God a liar. Jesus said they have seen the light- but preferred darkness.  Paul writes they have suppressed the truth with their unrighteousness. You see to believe the testimony of men regarding historical events we have not witnessed- does not usually require we change the way we live. But to believe God- to believe He is who He says He is- calls for a change in our direction. A change in our thinking and way of life. And like Jesus said they prefer darkness because their deeds are evil.

We, believers, have believed God and John says: ‘ he that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself.” I John 5:10 “ His Spirit bears witness to our spirits that we are the children of God.” ( Romans 8:16)  We know that we know. We know God loves us. We know and rely on His love.

Do you know that you know? The Word of God tells us you can know. It also tells us we should examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith.

John has been telling us how to maintain our fellowship, how to maintain this walk and how to recognize problems and how to resolve them.

Let’s look at some identifying birth marks that reveal we have been born of God- born again.

  1. Do you love God more than anything?  John told us not to love the things of this world. The Ten Commandments tell us not to have any other gods before us.
  2. Is your life marked by obedience? If you love me you will keep my commandments, said Jesus. We are not talking about sinless perfection- but a desire, a passion to follow Him in obedience.
  3. Is your life marked by change?  2 Cor. 5:17 says we are new creatures in Christ. The old is gone and the new has come.
  4. Is your life marked by a life sealed by the Holy Spirit? Do you have the witness of the Spirit you are the child of God? Do you know that  you know. ‘We know that we live in Him and He lives in us because He has given us His Spirit.( I John 4:13)

Isn’t  it interesting that we humans we will depend upon a man or woman we do not know to give us the correct medications to heal us and follow their written directions to make sure we do what they tell us to do. Yet many cannot and will not believe the Word of God, especially when God has caused the testimony of eyewitnesses to record faithfully what they have seen and heard.

When faith is exercised based on the basis of eyewitness testimony- the Spirit of God which is in each believer also confirms this is true.

Dr. Luke writes to his friend The ophilus-“ Many have undertaken to draw up an account of things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were EYEWITNESSES and servants of the word. Therefore since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning , it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus so that you may KNOW THE CERTAINTY OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT.: (Luke 1)

And John writes: “ That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched- this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.( Ijohn 1)

John also wrote: “ I write these things to you  who believe in the name of the Son of God so the you may KNOW YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.”   IJohn 5:13

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in His name.” ( John 20:31)

Our pastor in Florida, Charlie Martin said almost every Sunday:  ‘ The main thing is to keep the main thing- the main thing.’

Do you see what is the main thing?

The Bible’s purpose is to point the way of salvation to lost man and a lost and sinful world. It is not about social reform. ( Do not take this to mean we are not to impact our society- we are to be salt and light and speak the truth in love.)

True reform comes from receiving God and His grace and His love and His mercy and forgiveness.

God will then reform a person from the inside –out. We become new creatures and old things pass away and are passing away and all things are becoming new. His word now renews our minds, changes our thinking  and thus our actions.
That is how God would reform society- one person at a time from the inside – out.

Then we can sing: What a wonderful change has come into my life- since Jesus came into my heart.!

Moses wanted a glimpse of God; Philip wanted Jesus to allow them to see the Father. To this request, Jesus replied if you have seen me; you have seen the Father.

This is the blessed assurance that Jesus is mine- and this is the foretaste of glory divine. We have seen God if we have seen Jesus- and we have seen Jesus through the testimony of the eyewitnesses, the disciples. We have the witness of the Spirit and His Word which allow us to see Him with eyes of faith- the eyes of our heart. In Him was life and that life was the light of men. Have you seen the light?

Open Our Eyes Lord- we want to see Jesus!

Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me.

I was a seeker for light in a dark world.

I looked for truth – but settled for lies.

I had been blinded, I couldn’t see.

Till the star of Bethlehem’s sky opened my eyes.

I have seen the light shining in the darkness,

Bursting through the shadows delivering the dawn;

I have seen the light and  HIS HOLY NAME IS JESUS!

His kingdom is forever- He reigns on Heaven’s throne.

We must tell the world what we’ve seen today in Bethlehem.

Blessed Assurance!

Copyright © 2010 Linda Benthal
Last modified: 08/12/14