Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Overcomers by Faith 4/10/2012

As we come to the last chapter of the first epistle of John, we again see a familiar pattern: Faith and love. The Apostle Paul in numerous places in his writings spoke of the triad of faith, hope and love and in the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians writing that of the three of these, he writes that love is the greatest. (1 Corinthians 13:13) Let us note that faith is placed first before love since faith is expressed through love and since love cannot be understood unless one have received the love of God as demonstrated in His sending of His Son to the cross

In this final chapter there are two divisions, from verses 1-12 and from 13-21. We could outline the first 12 verses under this description: The Power, Testimony and Substance of Faith and the last portion could be described as a Concluding Summary.

KJV 1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

All separations that humans have created through the years are addressed in the words: "Whosoever." Faith unites whosoever to the finished work of Jesus Christ, a union from which flows the same substance of love that God loves Christ with. Faith is the substance by which we remain in Him and through which we are overcomers. In the previous chapter we recall that through love all fear was cast out and that we could be open and bold even in the day of judgment or accusation. Here John returns to the subject of faith, reinforcing the truth that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. We repeat again what seems to be an overriding theme of this epistle: God is life, God is light and God is love. One must start with God, come to the light through the Light and abiding in the Light by faith, the love of God is shed abroad into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.

6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Now John gives explanation of verse 1, by writing that Jesus Christ was born of the flesh as evidenced by that which was recorded in his Gospel. The following verses from John describe some of the historical happening of the events of the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ.

John 19:33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

We see the threefold witness from heaven which agree with the earthly witness. Those who were teaching that Christ did not come into the flesh are certainly addressed in this part, but there are also other truths that are seen here of which we will not discuss at this time.

9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

We are called to believe the testimony of God about His only Son. John compares the witness of men to the witness of God, saying that even if we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. This could be compared to one being in a courtroom where evidence is presented by witnesses and upon one's acknowledging of the truth, conduct oneself accordingly in light of the facts of truth. This is a much greater testimony that is given here, for it concerns eternal life. In verses 6-8, God Himself states the facts and calls upon us to believe them. Through faith then, we then have this witness within ourselves. If we do not believe God's testimony, we call God a liar!. This would occur if we refuse to believe that record that God gave of His Son.

John goes on to say, for the record, God has given to us eternal life and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son has life, and he that has not the Son has not life.

Now he concludes this letter...
13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

In conclusion of this letter, John summarizes the entire book with some concluding encouragement and instruction.
He tells them that through faith comes knowledge of salvation, and through this knowledge, confidence to approach God is given. And asking according to his will, we are assured that he hears us, and knowing that he hears us, we know that we have that which we asked him for. By this we may believe that he will give us all those things that we ask for that are in accordance with his will and purpose in our lives. May we believe this and ask for those things that are needed by us.

At the very least, verse 16 points to the importance of praying on behalf of others, but yet is somewhat of a mystery as to what it really means, so it will not be commented upon it further.

Being born of God, we are counted as righteous through faith, through faith we are kept/guarded by the power of God (1 Peter 1:5) and through the protection of God, we are shielded from the evil one. Returning to the beginning of this chapter, we are reminded that we are overcomers of the world through faith, for we believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He is our victory, for we are more than conquerors through Him who has loved us. (Romans 8:38)

And we know, and we know......The last part of this highlights knowledge. He has written a personal letter from the heart of God, and he again includes himself as a partaker of this knowledge of salvation which is through the person and work of Jesus Christ. He writes of the blessedness of knowing that we are of God, for it is only by grace that one is not yet in the place of wickedness as the world is. He says, We know that the Son of God is come, for we have been given this knowledge from God through the Holy Spirit to the end that we may know him that is true. Having this knowledge means that we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This Jesus Christ is the true God, and eternal life.

Lastly he leaves a warning, being well aware of the offerings of false prophets and of the propensity of humankind to fall victim to false gods, he writes: "Little children, keep yourselves from idols."

How do we keep from idols? How do we recognize idolatry in our selves? Maybe an illustration will give us the answer. When the FBI is training their agents whose job it will be to keep counterfeiters out of the money business, they spend the most of their time teaching the agents what the real money looks like. The reason they do that is so that as they come upon other bills that have been counterfeited it will be relatively easy to spot that which has been falsely made.

In the same way, we are called upon to know the true God, through the person of Jesus Christ, through the Word and through His Spirit. In chapter two of this letter, we heard that we have an unction/anointing of the Holy One by which we know truth and are able to discern truth from error. But we were not left with any vagueness so that we would simply depend upon our discerning abilities, but we were given a couple of teachings which went along with unction/anointing that we were given. One was that it was not possible to come to God without coming through the Son and the other was that one must confess that Jesus Christ was born in the flesh. (2:22-23) (4:2-3)

May we continue to abide in Him and He in us through His Word and Spirit.

In Christ's love,

Pastor Orval

Posted on 10 May 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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