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I John Chapter 5



THIS chapter embraces the following subjects:

I. A continuance of the discussion about love, 1 Jo 5:1-3. These verses should have been attached to the previous chapter.

II. The victory which is achieved over the world by those who are born of God. The grand instrumentality by which this is done, is by the belief that Jesus is the Son of God, 1 Jo 5:4,5.

III. The evidence that Jesus is the Son of God; or the means by which that truth is so believed as to secure a victory over the world, 1 Jo 5:6-12. In this part of the chapter the apostle goes fully into the nature of this evidence, or the ways in which the Christian becomes so thoroughly convinced of it as to give to faith this power. He refers to these sources of evidence:

(a.) The witness of the Spirit, 1 Jo 5:6.

(b.) The record borne in heaven, 1 Jo 5:7—if that verse be genuine.

(c.) The evidence borne on earth, by the Spirit, the water, and the blood—all bearing witness to that one truth.

(d.) The credit which is due to the testimony of God, or which the soul pays to it, 1 Jo 5:8.

(e.) The fact that he who believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself, 1 Jo 5:10.

(f.) The amount of the record, that God has given to us eternal life through his Son, 1 Jo 5:11,12.

IV. The reason why all this was written by the apostle, 1 Jo 5:13. It was that they might know that they had eternal life, and might believe on the name of the Saviour.

V. The effect of this in leading us to the throne of grace, with the assurance that God will hear us, and will grant our requests, 1 Jo 5:14,15.

VI. The power of prayer, and the duty of praying for those who have sinned. The encouragement to this is, that there are many sins which are not unto death, and that we may hope that God will be merciful to those who have not committed the unpardonable offence, 1 Jo 5:16,17.

VII. A summary of all that the apostle had said to them, or of the points of which they were sure in the matter of salvation, 1 Jo 5:18-20. They knew that those who are born of God do not sin; that the wicked one cannot permanently injure them; that they were of God, while all the world lay in wickedness; that the Son of God had come, and that they were truly united to that Saviour who is the true God, and who is eternal life.

VIII. An exhortation to keep themselves from all idolatry, 1 Jo 5:21.

Verse 1. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ. Is the Messiah; the anointed of God. On the meaning of the word Christ, See Barnes "Mt 1:1".

Of course it is meant here that the proposition, that "Jesus is the Christ," should be believed or received in the true and proper sense, in order to furnish evidence that any one is born of God. Comp. See Barnes "1 Jo 4:3".

It cannot be supposed that a mere intellectual acknowledgment of the proposition that Jesus is the Messiah is all that is meant, for that is not the proper meaning of the word believe in the Scriptures. That word, in its just sense, implies that the truth which is believed should make its fair and legitimate impression on the mind, or that we should feel and act as if it were true. See Barnes "Mr 16:16".

If, in the proper sense of the phrase, a man does believe that Jesus is the Christ, receiving him as he is revealed as the Anointed of God, and a Saviour, it is undoubtedly true that that constitutes him a Christian, for that is what is required of a man in order that he may be saved. See Barnes "Ac 8:37".

Is born of God. Or rather, "is begotten of God." See Barnes "Joh 3:3".

And every one that loveth him that begat. That loves that God who has thus begotten those whom he has received as his children, and to whom he sustains the endearing relation of Father. Loveth him also that is begotten of him. That is, he will love all the true children of God; all Christians. See Barnes "1 Jo 4:20".

The general idea is, that as all Christians are the children of the same Father; as they constitute one family; as they all bear the same image; as they share his favour alike; as they are under the same obligation of gratitude to him, and are bound to promote the same common cause, and are to dwell together in the same home for ever, they should therefore love one another. As all the children in a family love their common father, so it should be in the great family of which God is the Head.

{a} "Whosoever believeth" Joh 1:12,13

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