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Bible Commentaries
1 John 5

Godbey's Commentary on the New TestamentGodbey's NT Commentary

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Verses 1-5



1. Here faith and divine love are set forth as inseparable concomitants, like Siamese twins, living and dying together, constituting the two hemispheres of the beautiful celestial globe of human salvation, faith our side, and love God’s counterpart.

2. Our profession of love to God and His people must be confirmed by keeping His commandments.

3. “And His commandments are not heavy.” The world is full of disobedient, sinning religion. It is all the devil’s delusive hoax to blind the eyes, chloroform the conscience and lead to hell. God’s religion is this divine love which delights in obedience in all its forms and phases. Satan is always lying to the people, telling them God is a hard Master. Entire sanctification makes all burdens light, and all obedience a delight.

4. “Everything that has been born of God conquers the world.” No one can possibly commit sin while he has victory over the world, for all sin is the service of Satan, “the god of this world.” 2 Corinthians 4:4. Hence you see the very hypothesis of a sinning religion, even in the lowest type (which is regeneration), flatly contradicts the Word of God. “This is the victory which conquers the world, our faith.” The solution of our victory is plain and easy. We hold to Jesus by faith, and He conquers for us the world, the flesh and the devil. The people of Jericho had nothing to do but shout. God leveled down the walls. So the shout of faith will smash every Jericho encountered in your earthly pilgrimage.

5. As the Christhood of Jesus, revealed by the Holy Ghost, is the great salient fact of revelation, it constitutes the grand truth to be constantly received, appropriated and utilized by our faith.

Verses 6-12



6. “This is the One having come through water and blood, Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood.” Throughout the Bible the great prevailing symbolic meaning of water is regeneration. This is pertinent from the fact that water is indispensable to animal life. Consequently it is a suitable and instructive representative of spiritual life. Blood, in the Bible, means redemption. As we actually receive redemption from sin in sanctification, administered by the Holy Ghost through the blood of Christ, blood becomes the constant symbol of purification.

7, 8. “There are three who bear witness, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and these three are one.” We receive the water of life in regeneration and the cleansing blood in sanctification, both being attested by the Holy Ghost. Hence God in His great mercy has made to us these three wonderful, glorious and unmistakable experimental revelations, i. e., regeneration, sanctification and the gift of the Holy Ghost, as an indwelling Illuminator, Guide and Comforter. I know perfectly well my regeneration forty-seven years ago and my sanctification twenty-eight years ago. They are especial revelations made to my soul by divine intervention. These memorable epochs, never to be forgotten, are past and gone. But the Holy Spirit dwells in my heart night and day, my constant witness to my acceptance with God, and my everlasting Comforter. Oh, the unutterable goodness of God in giving us these three grand, glorious and harmonious witnesses that we are His, born from above, sanctified wholly and kept by the power of the indwelling Spirit.

9. We constantly receive human testimony in all the interests of life, jurisprudence and litigation, with fewer and less reliable witnesses than these three who fortify the great problem of salvation, revelatory and experimental.

10. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” Romans 10:10. Intellectual faith, exercised by wicked men and devils, has no power to save. This is the faith peculiar to popular churches where neither preachers

nor people know the Lord. Hell is full of it. If it had power to save, the pandemonium would be evacuated in a hurry. Saving faith is not intellectual, but spiritual, inspired by the Holy Ghost and bringing the human spirit to God. Since the Holy Ghost always witnesses to His own work and faith is the infallible human condition, both of regeneration and sanctification, therefore every believer receiving according to his faith, is attested by the Holy Spirit. Consequently the Christian religion is the most luminous and intelligent reality in the universe. Popular religion has always been full of fog, because Satan and his people dwell in darkness.

11. All spiritual life is in the Christhood, as God out of Christ is a “consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:18.

12. “Whosoever hath the Son hath life; whosoever hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Unitarianism is worse than heathenism, as the former will be judged by the whole Bible, revealing their wicked rejection of Christ, while the latter will only be judged by the laws of nature. So is all anti - Holy Ghost religion more damnable than paganism, because the Holy Ghost is the Successor and Revelator of Christ. Hence the rejection of the Holy Ghost is identical with the Unitarian heresy of repudiating Christ. The millions going down to hell with open Bibles in their hands will sink to the deepest depths of woe.

Verses 13-21



13. The great end of all Scripture is that all human beings may have eternal life, which is only in the Son of God, the Second Adam, who represents the entire human race in redemption, just as Adam the first represented all in condemnation. When the countless millions of Adam’s race shall assemble before the great white throne all will be in Adam the first or Adam the Second, the latter all acquitted with full approval, and the former all turned away into hopeless doom.

15. Here we have another grand and glorious confirmation of prevailing prayer. It is the transcendent privilege of God’s saints to be so cleansed by the blood and led by the Spirit as actually to come in touch with God so as to prevail in prayer, like Elijah.

16. .. “There is a sin unto death: I do not say you may ask concerning it.”

17. “All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not unto death.” Here we find John’s second definition of sin, “unrighteousness,” which means inbred sin, his first definition, “transgression,” meaning actual sin. 1 John 2:4. Now what is this sin for which we are not to pray for pardon, since there is no pardon possible in the case? This question is abundantly answered in the general trend of the epistle. The great solvent fact of Gospel truth presented in this letter is the Christhood, out of which salvation is utterly impossible, since God out of Christ is a consuming fire. Consequently this unpardonable sin is the following after those Antichrists, or false prophets, so conspicuously exposed and scathingly anathematized in this letter. When people reject the Christhood, it is useless to pray for them, because they can not be saved in their present attitude. If you can prevail on them to forsake their un-Christly heresies, then they are open to conviction, subjects of prevailing prayer and candidates for salvation. This same great, though sad, truth is brought out by Christ (Matthew 12:31-32) in the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, denominated the unpardonable sin. Since the Holy Ghost is the Successor and Revelator of the risen and glorified Christ, it is utterly impossible for any one to receive the benefit of the Christhood without the office of the Holy Spirit in illumination, conviction, regeneration, sanctification and glorification. Hence, the unpardonable sin is following Antichrist and blaspheming the Holy Ghost.

18. “... The wicked one toucheth Him not.” All committing of sin is under the direct administration of the devil. He must get his hand on you before he can work you. This verse certifies that no regenerated person commits sin, since Satan is not permitted so much as to touch the soul that is born of God. That soul must voluntarily go over to him before he can muster him into service.

19. “We know that we are of God and the world lieth in the wicked one.” Since all the world is in the devil, and under his control, worldly churches are simply Satan’s greased planks over which to slide people into hell. All of God’s people belong to the divine Ecclesia (Church), i. e., the called out, consisting of those who, responsive to the call of the Holy Ghost, have left the devil and the world and separated themselves unto God. While regeneration takes us out of the world, sanctification takes the world out of us.

20. Oh, what burning emphasis John constantly pours forth descriptive and expository of the Christhood.

21. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” After people are well sanctified and established in holiness, there is very little probability of their deflection into idolatry. Young converts need constant vigilance and admonition lest they be led away on some line of worldliness, all of which is idolatry.

Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 John 5". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ges/1-john-5.html.
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