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Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
1 John 5

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-5

3 The spirit of antichrist is the spirit of the world. It does not want the Christ of the Scriptures, but prefers some substitute more suited to its taste. This spirit has come to pervade, not only the world, but the nominal church, which has become largely a religious world. In it rites and ceremonies are substituted for the salvation of Christ, the energy of the flesh takes the place of the power of the Spirit, and the wisdom of men displaces the wisdom of God. The world is to be saved by social service and sanitation and reconciled by reform. Everywhere are signs that the majority of the churches have lost faith in God's Christ and are attempting to find some better means of carrying on God's work than through the power of His Son.

8 We are never told that God is justice, or God is power, or God is wisdom. These are His attributes, not His essence. The distinction is of vital import, in the conflicting maze of reasoning concerning God's ways and words. Justice and power and wisdom are relative, but love is absolute. He is never so just as when He justifies the unjust, for that is in line with love. He is never so strong as when His weakness overpowers human strength, for that links it to love. He is never so wise as when His foolishness confounds the wisdom of men, for that glorifies love. All His attributes appear and withdraw at the beck of love. All serve it, and never go counter to its commands. We cannot reason that God will do thus and so because He is just, or strong or wise. Love may not give leave. But we can safely lay our heads on the bosom of His love and there learn the great lesson that He IS love, and has both the power and wisdom to carry out the dictates of His affection. What clearer proof can be given that all that He has done and is doing is leading up to that grand ultimate when He will be All in all, and love will rest in being loved?

9-10 In accordance with the era for which John writes he does not mention grace. The design of the incarnation is the manifestation of God's love, which proves to be no idle display but a transforming energy.

17 The day of judgment there spoken of is not the so-called "general judgment", of which the Scriptures know nothing, but one of the many judgments which it makes known. It is difficult to imagine this judgment in some far-off future day. It is spoken of as a time when love will give boldness and cast out fear. As the believer of this present economy cannot by any means come into condemnation, and shall not enter any judgment, we shall do well to leave this experience with the Circumcision, to whom John wrote. They will enter the day of judgment which precedes the day of the Lord. They will pass through the terrible tribulations portrayed in the Unveiling. Heaven above will conspire with the earth beneath to pour out God's hoarded indignation upon the earth. The earth will reel, the stars will fall, the elements will be charged with death. In such a time there will be much meaning to the passage we are considering. Nothing but perfect love, that is, love in the maturity of its powers, will be able to stand unshakable in that day.

19 The inculcation of love to God is of little avail, unless first of all His love has been expounded and finds a place in our hearts. It should be the aim of the evangelist and teacher to elaborate God's love in the gift of His Son, in the salvation which He has provided, in the mercy or grace which attends it, and in the future bliss which it will provide, and the nearness to Himself which it involves. The power of such a presentation will produce a responsive love n all who believe, such as could by no means be provoked by exhortations or commands.

1 The new birth is confined to the Circumcision, nevertheless, as we also are members of God's family, it should be natural for us to love all who know Him as their Father. This should break through all barriers of church or creed, race or nationality, for spiritual kinship is stronger than any physical tie. Children of God are one by a permanent and indissoluble tie, and the renewed life is put under the stimulus and inspiration of the greatest of all relationships.

Verses 6-21

6 It is a remarkable fact that the word testify is used concerning the Lord's baptism in water ( Joh_1:34 ), and concerning His crucifixion ( Joh_19:35 ), and here again of the spirit (6). This is confirmed by the statement of the seventh verse. Three are testifying, the spirit, and the water and the blood. First there was His baptism in water accompanied by the testimony of John the Baptist as well as the descending dove and the voice from heaven, saying, "This is My Son, the Beloved in Whom I delight" ( Mat_3:17 ). At His crucifixion one of the soldiers slashes His side with a lance head, and immediately blood and water came out ( Joh_19:34 ). After His glorification, the spirit which He poured forth testified to His exaltation. So that we have testimony to His anointing, to His death, and to His exaltation. These three unite to prove that Jesus is the Son of God. This threefold testimony concerning God's Son is stronger than any mere human evidence. It was given at the very commencement of His ministry, and again at its close. Nothing in between these two points contradicts this testimony, but much that He did and said confirmed it. Only the Son of God could deal with the demons and eject them. He alone could command the elements. The quaking earth at His crucifixion convinced the centurion, who exclaimed "Truly this was God's Son!" ( Mat_27:54 ) .

11 John, the beloved disciple, is dead. How then could he insist so strongly that he had "everlasting" life, and that all who are not believing this have made God a liar? It is evident that he did not have what we would understand by "everlasting" life or he would still be living. The rendering "eonian" avoids this difficulty. This life does not commence until the resurrection and lasts until death is no longer in action, at the consummation at the close of the eonian times. It will be, in effect, without end, but it would be foolish to predicate life when there is no death.

13 As in his gospel ( Joh_20:31 ) so here John states his purpose in writing. The epistle aims to confirm the faith of believers, to deepen in their hearts a knowledge of security, and to establish that peace and confidence in God which is essential to unselfish service. Such assurance belongs of right to all "who are believing in the name of the Son of God." Knowledge of God's gift translates itself into confidence toward God, which asks great things of God, so releasing His power and becoming the agent of His purposes.

16 The sin to death is probably the same as that of the sixth and tenth of Hebrews-apostasy from the faith of Christ, or, in view of the times for which this is written, the reception of the emblem of the wild beast ( Rev_14:10 ). That this is the setting in which this passage is to be interpreted is further suggested by the phrase in the nineteenth verse, "the whole world is lying in the wicked one." This will be especially true in the time of the end. Furthermore, we have the striking conclusion of the epistle, which can hardly be understood in any other light. "Little children, guard yourselves from idols." What idols ? Does it not seem clear that the apostle' with prophetic eye, is anticipating that marvelous image, which all will be compelled to worship under pain of death ? ( Rev_31:15 ).

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 John 5". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/1-john-5.html. 1968.
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