Matthew Henry's Commentary
rotherly love is the effect of the new birth, which makes obedience to all God's commandments pleasant. (1-5) Reference to
witnesses agreeing to prove that Jesus, the Son of God, is the true Messiah. (6-8) The satisfaction the believer has about
Christ, and eternal life through him. (9-12) The assurance of God's hearing and answering prayer. (13-17) The happy condition
of true believers, and a charge to renounce all idolatry. (18-21)
True love for the people of God, may be distinguished from natural kindness or party attachments, by its being united with
the love of God, and obedience to his commands. The same Holy Spirit that taught the love, will have taught obedience also;
and that man cannot truly love the children of God, who, by habit, commits sin or neglects known duty. As God's commands are
holy, just, and good rules of liberty and happiness, so those who are born of God and love him, do not count them grievous,
but lament that they cannot serve him more perfectly. Self-denial is required, but true Christians have a principle which
carries them above all hinderances. Though the conflict often is sharp, and the regenerate may be cast down, yet he will rise
up and renew his combat with resolution. But all, except believers in Christ, are enslaved in some respect or other, to the
customs, opinions, or interests of the world. Faith is the cause of victory, the means, the instrument, the spiritual armour
by which we overcome. In and by faith we cleave to Christ, in contempt of, and in opposition to the world. Faith sanctifies
the heart, and purifies it from those sensual lusts by which the world obtains sway and dominion over souls. It has the indwelling
Spirit of grace, which is greater than he who dwells in the world. The real Christian overcomes the world by faith; he sees,
in and by the life and conduct of the Lord Jesus on earth, that this world is to be renounced and overcome. He cannot be satisfied
with this world, but looks beyond it, and is still tending, striving, and pressing toward heaven. We must all, after Christ's
example, overcome the world, or it will overcome us to our ruin.
We are inwardly and outwardly defiled; inwardly, by the power and pollution of sin in our nature. For our cleansing there
is in and by Christ Jesus, the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Some think that the two sacraments
are here meant: baptism with water, as the outward sign of regeneration, and purifying from the pollution of sin by the Holy
Spirit; and the Lord's supper, as the outward sign of the shedding Christ's blood, and the receiving him by faith for pardon
and justification. Both these ways of cleansing were represented in the old ceremonial sacrifices and cleansings. This water
and blood include all that is necessary to our salvation. By the water, our souls are washed and purified for heaven and the
habitation of saints in light. By the blood, we are justified, reconciled, and presented righteous to God. By the blood, the
curse of the law being satisfied, the purifying Spirit is obtained for the internal cleansing of our natures. The water, as
well as the blood, came out of the side of the sacrificed Redeemer. He loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he
might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church,
(Eph 5:25-27). This was done in and by the Spirit of God, according to the Saviour's declaration.
He is the Spirit of God, and cannot lie. Three had borne witness to these doctrines concerning the person and the salvation
of Christ. The Father, repeatedly, by a voice from heaven declared that Jesus was his beloved Son. The Word declared that
He and the Father were One, and that whoever had seen him had seen the Father. And the Holy Ghost, who descended from heaven
and rested on Christ at his baptism; who had borne witness to Him by all the prophets; and gave testimony to his resurrection
and mediatorial office, by the gift of miraculous powers to the apostles. But whether this passage be cited or not, the doctrine
of the Trinity in Unity stands equally firm and certain. To the doctrine taught by the apostles, respecting the person and
salvation of Christ, there were three testimonies. 1. The Holy Spirit. We come into the world with a corrupt, carnal disposition,
which is enmity to God. This being done away by the regeneration and new-creating of souls by the Holy Spirit, is a testimony
to the Saviour. 2. The water: this sets forth the Saviour's purity and purifying power. The actual and active purity and holiness
of his disciples are represented by baptism. 3. The blood which he shed: and this was our ransom, this testifies for Jesus
Christ; it sealed up and finished the sacrifices of the Old Testament. The benefits procured by his blood, prove that he is
the Saviour of the world. No wonder if he that rejects this evidence is judged a blasphemer of the Spirit of God. These three
witnesses are for one and the same purpose; they agree in one and the same thing.
9-12: Nothing can be more absurd than the conduct of those who doubt as to the truth of Christianity, while
in the common affairs of life they do not hesitate to proceed on human testimony, and would deem any one out of his senses
who declined to do so. The real Christian has seen his guilt and misery, and his need of such a Saviour. He has seen the suitableness
of such a Saviour to all his spiritual wants and circumstances. He has found and felt the power of the word and doctrine of
Christ, humbling, healing, quickening, and comforting his soul. He has a new disposition, and new delights, and is not the
man that he formerly was. Yet he finds still a conflict with himself, with sin, with the flesh, the world, and wicked powers.
But he finds such strength from faith in Christ, that he can overcome the world, and travel on towards a better. Such assurance
has the gospel believer: he has a witness in himself, which puts the matter out of doubt with him, except in hours of darkness
or conflict; but he cannot be argued out of his belief in the leading truths of the gospel. Here is what makes the unbeliever's
sin so awful; the sin of unbelief. He gives God the lie; because he believes not the record that God gave of his Son. It is
in vain for a man to plead that he believes the testimony of God in other things, while he rejects it in this. He that refuses
to trust and honour Christ as the Son of God, who disdains to submit to his teaching as Prophet, to rely on his atonement
and intercession as High Priest, or to obey him as King, is dead in sin, under condemnation; nor will any outward morality,
learning, forms, notions, or confidences avail him.
Verses 13-17: Upon
all this evidence, it is but right that we believe on the name of the Son of God. Believers have eternal life in the covenant
of the gospel. Then let us thankfully receive the record of Scripture. Always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that
our labour is not in vain in the Lord. The Lord Christ invites us to come to him in all circumstances, with our supplications
and requests, notwithstanding the sin that besets us. Our prayers must always be offered in submission to the will of God.
In some things they are speedily answered; in others they are granted in the best manner, though not as requested. We ought
to pray for others, as well as for ourselves. There are sins that war against spiritual life in the soul, and the life above.
We cannot pray that the sins of the impenitent and unbelieving should, while they are such, be forgiven them; or that mercy,
which supposes the forgiveness of sins, should be granted to them, while they wilfully continue such. But we may pray for
their repentance, for their being enriched with faith in Christ, and thereupon for all other saving mercies. We should pray
for others, as well as for ourselves, beseeching the Lord to pardon and recover the fallen, as well as to relieve the tempted
and afflicted. And let us be truly thankful that no sin, of which any one truly repents, is unto death.
Verses 18-21: All mankind are divided into two parties or dominions; that which belongs to
God, and that which belongs to the wicked one. True believers belong to God: they are of God, and from him, and to him, and
for him; while the rest, by far the greater number, are in the power of the wicked one; they do his works, and support his
cause. This general declaration includes all unbelievers, whatever their profession, station, or situation, or by whatever
name they may be called. The Son leads believers to the Father, and they are in the love and favour of both; in union with
both, by the indwelling and working of the Holy Spirit. Happy are those to whom it is given to know that the Son of God is
come, and to have a heart to trust in and rely on him that is true! May this be our privilege; we shall thus be kept from
all idols and false doctrines, and from the idolatrous love of worldly objects, and be kept by the power of God, through faith,
unto eternal salvation. To this living and true God, be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
David Burnette's Life Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making
an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue
the book of 1st John with Chapter 5 and today we see John explaining that God is life and He that hath the son of God Hath
life. In making application we see the true evidence of Salvation in our lives as the Holy Spirit abides within the believer
bearing witness with our spirit that we have been born again. How about you? Have you been born again? Let us learn from our
text today and the truth of the Gospel that God is life and if we have been born again we will be indwelt with the Spirit
of God as He guides us to all truth.
1 John 5
believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten
2By this we know that we love the
children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory
that overcometh the world, even our faith.
is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
6This 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.
7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these
three are one.
8And there are three that bear
witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
9If 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.
10He 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.
is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
13These 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.
14And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing
according to his will, he heareth us:
if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
16If 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
17All unrighteousness is sin: and
there is a sin not unto death.
18We 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.
19And we know that we are of God, and the
whole world lieth in wickedness.
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.
21Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.