1 John 5


‘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. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 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 the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.’ 1 John 5:1-5

Faith In The Incarnate Son Of God

So far in John’s letter, he has told us about certain evidence which we can look at, to see if we are truly a child of God. He also spoke about several tests by which we know we have eternal life and so, in this final chapter John is going to speak about three of those tests by which we can test our Christianity.

The first test, is the test of belief, that is, belief in Jesus. He asks us if our Christianity believes that Jesus is the Christ, and he asks us if our Christianity believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Earlier he asked us, if our Christianity believes that Jesus was God in the flesh, 1 John 4:2. The point is, if we deny that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, who came in the flesh, then John, says we’re a liar and our Christianity is not real, 1 John 2:22-23.

Not only is our Christianity not real, but we are also not in fellowship with the Father or the Son, 2 John 7-9.

We must remember there is a huge difference between believing there is a God and having faith in Him. Biblical faith in Jesus is important too, Hebrews 11:6, here John says that loving God and obeying His commands are important in relation to being born of God.

What we need to remember is that faith in Jesus Christ is necessary too, it’s necessary to experience eternal life, John 8:24. Biblical faith is never passive, it always motivates us to do something. The Ethiopian Eunuch knew that too well, his faith led him to do something with it, Acts 8:36-38.

Just having faith alone doesn’t mean anything unless it is expressed with actions, James 2:14-26. Biblical faith in Jesus Christ is also important if we want to overcome the world as John says here. In other words, faith alone, doesn’t get us in Christ, biblical faith will lead us to be baptised into Christ’s death.

And it’s during your baptism according to Acts 2:38 that we not only receive the forgiveness of our sins, but we also receive the God Spirit living within us, 1 Corinthians 3:16.

In other words, to overcome the world, we need to have Christ living in us in the form of His Spirit, 1 John 4:4. And with God living in us in Spirit form, we have the strength to do anything God desires of us, Philippians 4:13.

In other words, without Biblical faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God who came in the flesh, we cannot be born of God and so live so as to overcome the world.

Now how we perceive Jesus is one test but John is going to share with us another test to see if our Christianity is real and Bible based, this is the test of love. Jesus said that brotherly love is a mark of real Christianity, John 13:34-35. He also said that our love for Him is a mark of real Christianity, John 15:12-14.

Love for God, love for each other is not an option, it’s a command, it shows the world, our friends and family that our Christianity is real. And remember John in his letter has already stressed the importance of brotherly love.

He says this love is evidence of our remaining in the light, 1 John 2:10. He says this love is evidence of our being a child of God, 1 John 3:10. He says this love is evidence of our having passed from death to life, 1 John 3:14. And finally he says this love is evidence of our knowing God and being born of God, 1 John 4:7-8.

Real Christianity promotes real love for God, real Christianity promotes real obedient faith to God, real Christianity promotes real love for each other. In other words if we love God who brings forth children then we must love those children who have come from Him.

If our Christianity is real, then we need to love God, His children and keep His commandments. In other words if I claim to love my brethren but I fail to love God and keep His commandments, my claim is as empty as Jesus’ tomb was when He rose from the dead.

The third is in which John describes to see if our Christianity is real or not, is the test of obedience, John 14:15 / Galatians 5:6 / 1 John 2:5 / 2 John 6.

Remember John has already emphasised the importance of obedience to Jesus and His words. He says obedience is essential to having fellowship with the Father, 1 John 1:6-7.

He says obedience is essential to knowing Jesus, 1 John 2:3-4. Obedience is essential to loving God, 1 John 2:5. It is essential to remaining in Jesus, 1 John 2:6. It is essential to being a child of God, 1 John 3:10 and finally obedience is essential to having our prayers answered, 1 John 3:22.

But John doesn’t leave the subject of obedience at that, he says if your Christianity is real then we must not only love God Himself, but we must also love all of God’s children.

Now we might think to yourself, ‘wow, all these commandments He has given us are really heavy,’ but John here says otherwise. God’s laws are not distressing or grievous to those who are truly motivated by His saving grace, 2 Corinthians 4:15. It’s a pleasure for those who love God to do His will, Micah 6:8 / Matthew 11:30 / Matthew 23:4.

People who don’t like God’s command are people who don’t like obedience. The world is full of people who don’t like obedience, that’s why our prisons are over flowing, that’s why people go out and break the law and that’s why many people claim to be Christians but the reality is that they refuse to be fully obedient to God and His words.

If we’re not willing to fully obey His commands, then we can’t be His follower, because His road is long, thin and narrow, Matthew 7:13-14 / Luke 14:28-33.

Yes! His commands are difficult to keep sometimes. Yes! We will break His commands from time to time but a command is a command and will always be a command and it’s not our place to find a way around them just to ease our consciences.

Are they heavy? No! They are only heavy or troublesome if you hate discipline. When we think about the apostle John himself, the guy who wrote this letter.

He had served the Lord for many years possibly 50 or more, did he find the Lord’s command burdensome or grievous as the KJV says? No! in fact John had the same attitude towards God’s commands as David did, Psalm 19:7-11.

If we to claim really love God and His children, if we claim to really believe in Jesus as the Son of God who came in the flesh and died for our sins, then we should also know that the commandments of the Lord are not burdensome. Because like we said earlier obedience is not an option, it’s a command, John 14:15.

Our faith is our victory insofar as we are moved to respond to the will of God, James 2:14-26. Those who have obeyed the Gospel have overcome the mentality and behavior of the world, John 16:33 / Romans 8:37 / 1 John 2:15.

Our life is guided by the will of God, and so, we overcome the temptations and false teachings of the world by our obedient response to His will and word, John 16:33 / Romans 8:37 / 1 Corinthians 15:57.

‘This is the one who came 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 the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.’ 1 John 5:6-12

John said earlier in 1 John 4:2 and 1 John 5:1 that anyone who believes that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God and indeed they have been born of God. In these verse John is going to give us evidence to prove these facts concerning Jesus Christ.

Now if we have ever been convicted of a crime, we know that when it comes to going to court to need some witnesses. What John here is going to offer many witnesses to prove that Jesus Christ was who He claimed to be.

Now the word witness is used 9 times in these few verses, the NIV uses the term testify or testimony. But it’s the Greek word, ‘martureo’ which means ‘to be a witness’ or ‘to give evidence for, to bear record’.

And John begins his court room appearance if you like by calling upon his first two witnesses. Because when we put these two witnesses together they should tell us even more about the facts concerning Jesus Christ’s claims. He calls upon the water and the blood to take the stand.

Remember John is dealing with Gnosticism in his letter and they taught that God couldn’t come in the flesh because the flesh is so sinful, 1 John 4:1-3. Gnosticism was beginning to develop at this time and one Gnostic named Cerinthus, who was the leader of a sect in the first century, taught some interesting ideas about Jesus.

He taught that the divine side of Christ descended upon Jesus at the time of his baptism and then left him before he died on the cross. And it’s because of that teaching that the Gnostics claimed that the Christ did not experience death.

So what do John’s two witnesses have to say concerning this? Well the water and the blood are very significant to John’s argument. The ‘water’ refers to Jesus’ baptism, and the ‘blood’ refers to Jesus’ death on the cross.

John’s point is that Jesus Christ came by both water and blood and not by water only. He’s saying that not only was the Christ present at the baptism, but that He also suffered in the flesh on the cross.

Do you remember in Genesis 31:43-52 when it talks about Jacob and Laban set up stones as a witness? The stones were a witness to the fact that Laban and Jacob couldn’t go past the stones into each other’s land.

Well, the water and the blood which John is talking about here have that idea behind it. The waters of Jesus’ baptism and the blood that flowed from His side offer testimony concerning who Jesus Christ truly was.

People who do not or cannot believe that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh need to listen to these two witnesses of John. John is going to call forward another witness as to the fact who Christ claimed to be because the blood and water are not the only witnesses, they are joined by someone else. They joined by the witness of the Spirit.

The Spirit’s testimony is true because of His involvement in the earthly life of Jesus. So what proof can the Spirit bring into the courtroom? Well the Spirit can testify to at least four things.

1. He can testify to the conception of Jesus Christ, Matthew 1:20.

He was involved in the bringing forth of Jesus into the world, through Mary.

2. He can also testify to the baptism of Jesus, Matthew 3:16.

He was involved at the baptism of Jesus Christ.

3. He was involved at the time of Jesus’ temptation in the desert, Luke 4:1.

He was led by the Spirit.

And finally 4. He was involved in Jesus’ ministry here on earth, Luke 4:18-19.

And when you think about this witness, the Spirit Himself according to Jesus was there to testify about Jesus in the first place, John 15:26. And how did the Spirit achieve this goal of testifying about Jesus? The Holy Spirit did this by inspiring the apostles and confirming their word with spiritual gifts, John 16:13-14 / Hebrews 2:3-4.

When we are involved in any incident which requires the police and we need to get a lawyer to defend our case in court. We can have a great case but if our witnesses aren’t all saying the same thing, we could end up in trouble. If one witness says one thing and then another witness says another, the jury need to decide which witness to believe.

But that’s the beauty of John’s first three witnesses, they are all in agreement with one another because John says that all three are in agreement concerning whom Jesus was. The Spirit, the water, and the blood, all three bear witness, and they all agree as one. In other words they are saying and testify to the fact that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh!

Have you ever wondered why John brought forth three witnesses? Not just because three witnesses are better than one, not just because three witnesses are better that two. I believe he gives three witnesses possibly because of Deuteronomy 19:15.

But John isn’t going to stop at three witnesses, he’s going to call upon someone else who testimony is just as true. He now calls upon the witness of God Himself. We can imagine standing in that court room and in comes God Himself.

Who is going to argue against His testimony?

John says in your normal courtroom of law, you have witnesses who are human beings and we usually except there testimonies, don’t we? What he’s telling us here is that ‘if we receive the witness of men,’ any witness of God would naturally be greater than that of man.

So what light does God Himself have to shine on this Jesus character? Well, God has born witness to Jesus on several occasions. Again if we think of Jesus’ baptism, Matthew 3:17. On the mount of Transfiguration, Matthew 17:5.

And so, I guess what John is saying here concerning these witnesses that the blood, the water, and the Spirit, together they form the witness of God Himself. In other words we have three witnesses who in agreement, speak for the fourth witness who is God Himself.

When we’re baptised into Christ, we become a witness for Christ, not in the sense that we physically witnessed Christ like the apostles did but in the sense that we witness His transforming power in our lives.

However, witnessing is not something we do, witnessing is something we are. We are a witness to the fact that God did indeed in the form of Jesus Christ come to earth in the flesh.

When a person believes the testimony given about Jesus as the Son of God, they become a witness and that’s people who John calls people who are born of God. John says anyone who believes in the Son of God is a witness themselves.

Now those words sound familiar don’t they? Jesus says anyone who does the will of God as taught by Jesus will know the teachings of Christ are truly from God, John 7:16-17. And so anyone who believes in the Son receives confirmation ‘in himself’.

Those of us who are Christians know who Jesus truly was, we may not fully understand it but we know and it’s because of that belief and knowing that John said earlier in his letter that we have truly been born of God, Proverbs 14:12.

If we as Christians believe and act upon the witness of God concerning His Son. If we believe and act upon what God has revealed in His Spirit-inspired Word, which agrees with the witness of the water and the blood. Then we as Christians will have confirmation in ourselves that Jesus is truly the Son of God!

John has presented us with four witnesses who all point to the fact that Jesus Christ was indeed God in the flesh. The first four, the water, blood, Spirit and God Himself all provide their evidence before you.

And those who have believed who Jesus was and repented of their sins, confessed Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives and been baptised for the forgiveness of their sins are all the fifth witness.

But what about those who do not believe the four witnesses? If they don’t believe these testimonies then they are a liar. John says they are making God out to be a liar.

Notice how John now moves on and begins to focus on the content of the witnesses. So what is the ‘content’ of God’s testimony concerning His Son? In other words, what has God declared? And what does John say about these things?

John tells us that God has given us more than life, He has given us eternal life. Now many of us need to remind ourselves of this promise because too many Christians live as though eternal life is something we are only going to possess in the future.

Now in terms of hope this is correct, we all hope for eternal life but John says this eternal life is more than hope, it is something which all Christians already possess here and now.

When John uses the term eternal life here, he is using it in the present tense. He doesn’t say He will give us eternal life but He has already given us eternal life, he doesn’t say you will have eternal life but he says, if you’ve got Jesus you already have eternal life.

In other words, eternal life is not just something to hope for in the future it is also something that all Christians possess now. Now please don’t misunderstand me here, the Bible authors do talk about eternal life in the future, Romans 2:6-7 / Titus 1:2.

The point is, that sometimes the words ‘eternal life’ are used in both tenses, present and future tenses. Remember John begun his letter by referring to Jesus as ‘that eternal life’, 1 John 1:2. And he’s going to end his letter by describing eternal life as ‘knowing Him who is true and being in Him who is true’, 1 John 5:20.

John is saying that the testimony of God is this, He has given us ‘eternal life’, a quality of life based upon fellowship with Deity, James 2:14-20. So where does a person find this ‘eternal life’? Well that’s John’s second point as he continues with God’s own testimony.

John says eternal life is only found in one Name, Jesus Christ, John 17:3. Jesus says if you know Him and know God, then you have eternal life. He also said He came to give us life to the full, John 10:10.

Peter himself confessed that Jesus was the only One who had the words of eternal life, John 6:68. The apostle Paul wrote that all spiritual blessings, of which eternal life is one, are found only in Jesus Christ, Ephesians 1:3.

It is only in Jesus that eternal life can be found, and if anyone wishes to have eternal life, they must be in Jesus! But as always there are two sides to every coin, if eternal life can only be found in Jesus Christ, then it is also obvious that anyone who doesn’t possess Jesus doesn’t have this eternal life, John 14:6 / Acts 4:12.

God doesn’t want anyone to miss out in this eternal life, 2 Peter 3:9 / 1 Timothy 2:3-4. God wants every single human being to have eternal life in His Son. We don’t have to wonder or worry about if we possess eternal life because Jesus Christ took care of it all at Calvary. And that’s John’s final point concerning eternal life.

Concluding Affirmations

‘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. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.’ 1 John 5:13-15

If we have ever wondered why John wrote this letter, this is it, he wrote it because they needed to know back then just as much as we to know today that we are saved. He doesn’t want us just to hope that we are saved, he wants us to know for certain that we are saved.

John’s whole letter is all about knowing.
He says in 1 John 2:3 ‘Now by this we know that we know Him’.

He says in 1 John 2:5 ‘By this we know that we are in Him.’

He also says in 1 John 3:14 that ‘We know we have passed from death to life.’

Again he says in 1 John 3:19 ‘And by this we know that we are of the truth.’

He says in 1 John 3:24 ‘And by this we know that He lives in us.’

In 1 John 4:13, he says, ‘By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us.’

All the way through this great little letter John assures us not to worry about eternal life. He says if we have done this and are doing that and continuing in Him, we can know for certain that we have eternal life, not only in the future but also here and now.

Do we know for certain that we have eternal life? We know we have eternal life because of the testimony of God Himself. John says, we can all know we have eternal life if we keep the commandments of Jesus, 1 John 2:3-4.

We can all know we have eternal life if we keep His words, 1 John 2:5. We can all know we have eternal life if we love our brethren, 1 John 3:14.

We can all know we have eternal life if we believe what the Spirit has revealed about such things, 1 John 3:24 / 1 John 4:13. We can all know we have eternal life if we have confessed Jesus to be the Son of God, 1 John 4:15. We can all know we have eternal life if we believe that Jesus is the Christ, 1 John 5:1.

And so, when we take all these knowing’s and beliefs together we can truly know with certainty that we have eternal life. John was writing to these early Christians and his words still have a lot of meaning for us today. He wanted his readers and us to continue to believe in the Name of Jesus, John 20:30-31.

This is not the first time John has spoken about prayer in this letter if you remember. In 1 John 1:9 he talked about the value of confessing our sins to God in prayer. In 1 John 2:1 he talked about how Jesus Christ, who is the righteous One is our advocate in prayer and in 1 John 3:22 he talked about how God answers prayer if we do what He asks of us.

Here John teaches us how to pray with confidence and how to pray for our prayers to be answered. The first requirement for our prayers to be answered, is they need to be in line with God’s will.

However, for people to pray according to God’s will, they first need to know what God’s will is. Prayer is not about assuming that God will automatically answer that prayer because we also need to understand that God will say ‘no’ sometimes to our requests, especially if it’s not according to His will.

Our prayers are dependent upon the will of God. Even Jesus’ own example of prayer illustrates that answer to prayer depends upon whether or not it is in harmony with God’s will, Matthew 26:39-42.

Three times Paul asked God to take his torment away and three times God said, ‘no’, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. Why? Because it stopped Paul from becoming big headed and so his request to God wasn’t in line with God’s will.

The more we learn God’s revealed will through His word the more likely we will pray according to His will and the more we pray according to His will, the greater confidence we can have that our prayers will be answered accordingly.

And that brings us to John’s requirement for our prayers to be answered. We not only need to pray according to God’s will but we also need to keep God’s commandments. John has already stressed the importance of keeping the Lord’s commands in reference to prayer, 1 John 3:21-22.

Now this is an important point John is making here, he’s saying even if we are asking for something that would normally be within God’s will for us, if we are not keeping His commandments, can we really expect God to answer our prayers?

I don’t believe we can expect God to answer our prayers if we just live our lives in anyway we want, 1 Peter 3:12 / 1 John 3:22. God understands that we struggle sometimes to live according to His will but pleasing Him is His will and He wants to help us live by His will, but He can only do that if we ask Him for help.

We struggle to pray with confidence because we don’t really know what His will is or we struggle to keep His commandments, it is then that we should be praying for God to help us to understand His will and to keep His commandments, Psalm 119:18.

The Lord’s commands are not burdensome, His commandments are there for us to delight in and His commandments are there to sustain us in every way, Psalm 119:173-176.

Not only is our prayers to be according to His will, not only are they to be on the condition that we keep His commands but prayer requires Christians to remain in Jesus and His words remaining in us, John 15:7.

Confidence in prayer depends upon keeping His commandments, but keeping the commandments is the key to remaining in Jesus, 1 John 3:24.

If getting confident in our prayer lives depends upon asking according to God’s Will and it depends upon Jesus’ words remaining in us, won’t that help us know what God’s will is? Won’t that help us to know what and what not to ask for in our prayer lives?

‘If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.’ 1 John 5:16-17

John’s final point concerning prayer is this, we should pray like we mean it. One of the great themes running through John’s first letter is the theme of love and so it shouldn’t be surprising for us to find him talking about prayer and love together.

We might ask, why bother to pray for a repentant Christian if their sins will be forgiven anyway? The only answer I could find in Scripture is back in the Book of James. ‘Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.’ James 5:16

When a Christian confesses their sin to God and has shown that they have repented, that should be the end of the matter, 1 Corinthians 13:5. Prayer is a privilege and a wonderful blessing, especially when we pray with confidence and pray like we mean it.

Time and time again John has stressed the importance of brotherly love,1 John 3:16-17. It’s not surprising then that he says that we should be willing to pray for each other. Now there is no escaping the fact that this is a difficult text to understand.

What is the “sin that doesn’t lead to death”? What is the sin that “does lead to death”? What does John mean when he says, ‘God will give him life’?

As far as my studies have led me to believe, John is saying, ‘listen, if anyone sees his brother sin’, he is speaking about after the fact, after the sin has taken place. And the reason I believe that is because in the future after the sin has been committed, what does John say the sinner will do? They will pray, or they will ask, as some translations have it.

The Message translation makes it a little easier to understand because the sin that doesn’t lead to death and the sin that does isn’t a specific sin.

“For instance, if we see a Christian believer sinning (clearly I’m not talking about those who make practice of sin in way that is “fatal”, leading to death) we ask for God’s help and he gladly gives it, gives life to the sinner whose sin is not fatal. There is such a thing as a fatal sin, and I’m not urging you to pray about that. Everything we do wrong is sin, but not all sin is fatal.” 1 John 5:16-17. The Message

In other words, if anyone continues in their sin, eventually, that will lead to their spiritual death. What kind of sin could a Christian commit that would lead to death?

According to James, any temptation can lead to sin and death, James 1:14-15, but what we need to remember is that sin does not produce ‘death’ until it is ‘fully grown’.

So, how do we avoid sinning toward death? What is the sin that doesn’t lead to death? John gives us the answer in 1 John 1:9. And so when we put these scriptures together we can clearly see that the sin that leads to death is the unrepented and unconfessed sin of the sinner.

And if we follow this understanding of the text, it’s obvious that the sin that doesn’t lead to death, is the sin which has been confessed and repented of. And it’s this sin which John says that we can pray for our brethren and God will forgive. Common sense tells us that we cannot expect God to forgive a person who refuses to repent, hence, why we should pray about that.

Remember that when John is talking about death here, he’s talking about spiritual death, Genesis 2:17. We know that both Adam and Eve ate from the tree and they were cast out of the Garden but they didn’t die physically, did they? They died spiritually.

Notice that John says if someone commits a sin which doesn’t lead to lead, after praying, God will give them life. If the ‘death’ in this passage is ‘spiritual death’, it is natural to believe the life is ‘spiritual life’. The ‘life’ which God will give the repentant sinner in answer to our prayers could also be described as ‘forgiveness’.

And we know that forgiveness is essential for eternal life in Christ, 1 John 1:9. What he’s saying is that this same offer of forgiveness is offered to the repentant sinner who has his brothers and sisters in Christ praying on his behalf.

‘We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.’ 1 John 5:18-20

John here summaries three facts that we should know by now after studying his letter. He says we should be certain of our faith in relation to sin.

We should be certain of our faith in relation to the evil one and we should be certain of our faith in relation to the truth concerning fellowship with God and Jesus Christ. These certainties which John talks about are introduced to us with the words, ‘we know’.

He says our first certainty is, we should know what our relationship with God and sin is to be like. John says whoever has been born of God does not sin.

Now we’ve already dealt with this subject when John says a similar statement back in 1 John 3:9, and if you remember John told us in 1 John 1:8 and 1 John 1:10, that all Christians do sin and if we say we don’t sin, we are liars and we make God out to be a liar.

John is saying the same thing here, he’s talking about Christians who don’t ‘continuously practice sin’.

Plummer, in his commentary, says the following.

‘A child of God may sin; but his normal condition is one of resistance to sin’.

And so John goes on to tell us why a Christian won’t continuously practice sin, because anyone born of God won’t continue to sin. Whenever John uses the phrase ‘born of God’ in his letter he always refers to Christians. And so, what he’s saying is that all Christians are responsible for their own actions.

In Genesis 3 when God was walking around in the garden looking for Adam and Eve who tried to hide from Him after eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They started to play the blame game with God. Adam blamed God and then blamed the woman who God created and then Eve blamed the serpent, Genesis 3:12-13.

John says earlier in his letter that God will help us not to sin, 1 John 3:9, but again this stresses the importance of God’s word living in our lives.

In other words our faith needs to work with God’s power as Peter tells us, 1 Peter 1:1-5. We have available to us the power to stop continually sinning, that’s Peter’s point and that’s John’s point in 1 John 5:21. That’s Jude’s point in Jude 21.

In other words, we can’t win on your own. We are winners in Christ because He is superior to us. And the point is, it is only when we cooperate with God that we give Satan no chance to win over in our lives. We are safe in Christ only if we remain in Christ, we are safe in Christ only when we humble ourselves to His will.

Now we have all pictured ourselves running away from Satan but have we ever pictured Satan running away from you? Because the Bible says that we have that power available to us today, James 4:7. When we submit to God, resist the temptation to continuously sin then Satan is going to flee from us because he knows he can’t win.

Now we all know that Satan is a strong character who can influence the lives of many people, but as Christians we need to remember Who is living in us, 1 John 4:4.

John says that God, who is in us, is much greater than the devil but for us to remain strong enough to resist the devil, we need to allow God’s word to remain in us as John told us in 1 John 2:14.

When Jesus Himself was being tempted by the devil in the desert, how did Jesus win His battle against temptation from the devil? He won His battle the same way in which we can win our battles with the devil. Three times in Matthew 4 when Jesus is dealing with temptation He says, ‘It is written’.

And so, John’s point is that we can be certain in our faith that as Christians we mustn’t treat sin lightly and with God’s help we can win our own personal battles with the wicked one.

Then John goes on to talk about our next certainty, we should know as Christians the difference between us and the world. John says all Christians are of God, he says all Christians have been born of God, 1 John 5:1 and he says that all Christians are privileged to be called children of God, 1 John 3:1-2.

In other words all Christians are truly blessed to be ‘of God’, but he also says the whole world is under the control of the evil one. It’s sad but true, that not all people are Christians, even though some may claim to be and some claim the name Christian.

Anyone who rejects Jesus Christ and His teachings are not of God and by their own actions and rejection they are demonstrating who their father really is, John 8:42-47. As long as people remain in their sins, they will remain under the control of the evil one, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

John now shares with us the final certainty which we should know about our faith, he says we should know the basis of fellowship with God and eternal life. Jesus Christ came to give us true insight concerning God which is exactly what John also told us in his Gospel, John 1:18.

When John says, ‘He is the true God’ or ‘Him who is true’, he doesn’t mean, that He tells the truth, he means the One we should know is really God. In other words by coming in the flesh, Jesus has manifested the true God to us, John 14:7-9.

We are in Him who is the One true God, Jesus Christ. Jesus has also given us understanding about how we can be in God. He says that it’s through His Son, as we keep His words and His commandments, that we can live in God, John 14:21-23. And it’s this same true God and eternal life which John talks about.

What John is doing here is defining what eternal life is. He says eternal life is to know Him who is true, he says eternal life is to be in Him who is true, and in His Son Jesus Christ.

In other words to have eternal life, is to have life to the full, John 10:10, and the only way for you to have that life in full is by knowing the Father and the Son intimately.

Our God doesn’t live with us one minute and leave us the next, Hebrews 13:5, we have an ongoing intimate relationship with God. We get that relationship through having fellowship with the Father and the Son, John 17-1-3 / 1 John 1:1-3.

‘Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.’ 1 John 5:21

It is truly a blessing to know all these things but as always we just need to keep reminding ourselves of the many dangers that lay ahead of us. That’s why John finishes his letter in a caring, fatherly, loving way and reminds us not to let anything or anyone replace the relationship we have with the One True God, Jesus Christ.

Anything which replaces God in our life is an idol, Ephesians 5:5-6 and the only way to stay away from idolatry is by putting them to death, Colossians 3:5-6. If there wasn’t a real danger of being led astray, there would be no need for John to warn us against such things.


"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Hebrews 12:1