The testimony of God

 

 

[1 John 5:6-12]

 

 

Let's not all evangelize together.  On April 8, 2005, I wrote an article under the title ‘Let’s not evangelize indiscreetly.’  I thought of this title ‘Let’s not evangelize indiscreetly’ after I met one of our church grandmothers.  At that time, I went to the hospital where she was lying down in order to evangelize to her.  So I preached the gospel to her.  But she said to me, ‘I shouldn’t say this while there is a pastor  … but Christians’ hearts are jet-black like a lump of charcoal even though they pretend not to be on the outside.’  At that time, I had no choice but to humble myself by confessing my own heart that is like a lump of charcoal.  The reason is because this is my shame and also our shame.  So I wrote this and left it on the record: ‘In the midst of not being able to make our hearts and our beings reminds us of Jesus, our actions are too perfect to be seen by people with evangelistic zeal, like the Pharisees or Paul, that is, Saul before he believed in Jesus, and we have the perfect (?) Christian image.  The surprising fact is that God exposes our untruthful character and life, heart and life full of hypocrisy to unbelievers.  That is why I think we Christians are committing the sin of obstructing evangelism.  Evangelism without a heart of love is incompetent.  Although our lips may cry out for love, I think that the other person can't feel love is just a ringing bell.  However, while we are so used to the evangelism program of the church or the evangelism training we received from Christian organizations, I think we are trying to witness and do evangelism for the salvation of souls without trying to live a life of witness.  I think hat we are making an unbelieving soul to get hurt and to leave the church and never looks at the church again by not living a life of an evangelist but trying hard to witness and testify and bring the person to the church.  I think that in evangelism without the full of the Holy Spirit, our actions are more evident than the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Maybe that’s why the word 'Evangelism King' was coined.  When we think about the number of people filling the church chapel, it is doubtful what percentage of the souls who are saved and go to heaven.  Let's not evangelize indiscreetly.’  What do you think of this article I wrote?  Aren’t we trying to do evangelism for the salvation of souls with our testimony before doing so through our life as His witness?  Aren’t we witnessing Jesus with our lips while we are not living the life of witness that reminds Jesus?

 

Looking at the first half of 1 John 5:9 and the second half of verse 10, the Apostle John says this: “…  for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son.  …  because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.”  I would like to receive the lessons that the Holy Spirit gives us by meditating on the words of 1 John 5:6-12 under the title of “God’s testimony”.

 

What is “testimony”?  What is your testimony?  When I think of “testimony,” I think of the testimony of the Apostle Paul in Acts 22.  And I think that testimony can be divided into three parts:

 

(1)     The first part is the story of the Apostle Paul before he met Christ (Acts 22:2-5a) (Before Christ).

 

The story is that Saul was “educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God” (Acts 22:3), and “persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons” (v. 4).  In this case the high priest and all the Council of the elders were Paul’s witness (v. 5).

 

(2)     The second part is the story of the Apostle Paul when he met Christ (vv.5b-16) (On Christ).

 

The story is that Saul received letters from the high priests and all the Council of the elders, and started off for Damascus in order to bring the followers of this Way even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished (v. 5).  On his way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around Saul (v. 6).  At that time, Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (v. 7)  So Saul answered, “Who are You, Lord?”  And He said to him, I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting” (v. 8).  At that time, Jesus told Saul to go into Damascus (v. 10), and Saul obeyed His word and went into Damascus, met Ananias and his eyes were opened and heard these words from Ananias: “…  The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth.  For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard” (vv. 14-15).  And as Saul was calling on His name, he was baptized, and his sins were washed away (v. 16).

 

(3)     The third and last part is the story of the Apostle Paul after he met Christ (vv. 17-21) (After Christ).

 

After Saul met the resurrected Lord, who is seated at the right hand of God, on the road to Damascus, he was converted, and received a commission as an apostle to the Gentiles (v. 21) and became a witness for Him (v. 15).

 

“God’s testimony” should be “my testimony”.  God has testified concerning His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Jn. 5:9, 10).  Therefore, we must testify concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  To do so, let us all bear our testimony as the Apostle Paul spoke in Acts 22.  In order for us to testify, let us think about our stories before we met Jesus Christ (Before Christ), when we met Jesus Christ (On Christ), and after we met Jesus Christ (After Christ) in a quiet time and place, with a quiet and prayerful heart, and write down our own testimony.  And let's share that testimony we wrote with our family.  In particular, let's share it with our family, friends, and neighbors who don’t believe in Jesus Christ.  Therefore, just as God testified concerning His Son Jesus Christ, I hope and pray that we too will testify concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 

In 1 John 5:9b, 10b, the Apostle John says: “…  that He has testified concerning His Son.  …  because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.”  The Apostle John used the word “witness” (or “testimony” or “testify”) almost 70-80 times in his Gospel of John, 1, 2, 3, and the book of Revelation and can be divided into 7 categories (Word Studies in the NT commentary):

 

(1)     The witness of the Father

 

Look at John 5:37a – “And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me ….”

 

(2)     The witness of Christ himself

 

Look at John 8:14 – “Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.”

 

(3)     The witness of works

 

Look at John 10:25 – “Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me.”

 

(4)     The witness of Scripture

 

Look at John 5:39 – “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.”

 

(5)     The witness of the forerunner

 

Look at John 1:7 – “He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.”

 

(6)     The witness of the disciples

 

Look at 1 John 1:2 – “and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us.”  Look at 1 John 4:14 – “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”

 

(7)     The witness of the Spirit

 

Look at John 15:26 – “"When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,”

 

Of these seven kinds of “witness” (or “testimony” or “testify”), the witness mentioned in 1 John 5:9b, 10b is the first kind of witness, the witness of the Father God.  The Apostle John speaks of this as “the testimony of God” in verse 9.  Here, the content of “the testimony of God” that the Apostle John is speaking of is “concerning His Son” (vv. 9, 10).  It means is that God testified about His only begotten Son, Jesus.  Then what did God testified who the only begotten Son Jesus was?  To answer this question, we need to look again at 1 John 5:1, 5, which we have already meditated on.  In verse 1, the Apostle John said, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ . . . ” and in verse 5, “he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”  The Apostle John said two truths about Jesus.  However, when the Apostle John said in 1 John 5:9, 10 that the testimony of God is “concerning His Son,” the only truth remaining is that Jesus is the Christ.  In view of that fact, the testimony that God testified about His Son is that “Jesus” is “the Christ.”

 

Then, what is “the testimony of God” that the Apostle John spoke of in verse 9?  I think there are at least two testimonies in 1 John 5:6-12:

 

(1)     ‘The testimony of God’ is the testimony of the Spirit, the water and the blood.

 

Look at 1 John 5:6-8: “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  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.”  In this verse, the Apostle John says that the three witnesses, ‘the Holy Spirit, and the water and the blood,’ all testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  More specifically, the Apostle John says, ‘The Son of God is Jesus Christ, who came by the water and the blood’ and it is the Holy Spirit who testifies to this fact.  In other words, “the testimony of God” is the testimony that God testified concerning His Son (vv. 9-10), and the testimony is that the Son of God is Jesus Christ, who came by the water and the blood.  And the Holy Spirit, who is the truth, testifies to this fact.

 

Then, what does “water” and “blood” refer to in the words, ‘The Son of God is Jesus Christ, who came by water and blood’ (v. 6)?  The Apostle John uses the word “water” only here in 1 John 5:6, 8, but uses it several times in the Gospel of John which he wrote.  For example, in John 1:26, 31, 33, the Apostle John said that John the Baptist baptized with “water”, and in John 3:22 and 4:12, Jesus also baptized with “water”.  “Water” here symbolizes “purification” or “cleansing”.  Also, in John 3:5, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  Here, “water and the Spirit” means “washing away sins” by the Holy Spirit (compare Ezek. 36:25-27).  ‘Water’ also symbolizes “the gift of the Spirit” given by the resurrected Jesus (Jn. 4:13-14; 7:37-39).  After all, “water” symbolizes “purification” or “washing away from sins,” but especially “washing away from sins” by the Holy Spirit (The IVP New Testament Commentary).  So what does “blood” mean?  In 1 John 1:7b, the Apostle John said, “… the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”  In the words of Jesus in John 6:51-58, “blood” refers to the self-sacrificing death of Jesus and tells us that there is no eternal life without the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.  In other words, there is no forgiveness of sins or eternal life without the shedding of Jesus' blood and death.  One interesting thing is that in John 19:34, when one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.  Jesus’ blood and water pouring out here signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit (“water”) and the washing away (“blood”) given to us through Jesus’ death (The IVP New Testament Commentary).  That is why the Apostle John said in 1 John 5:8, the Spirit, and the water and the blood, and these three witnesses all testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 

 

We have already learned from 1 John 5:1 that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.  There, I also learned the meaning of the word that Jesus is the Christ.  Also, we learned that the name “Jesus” means “Jehovah is salvation”, that is, He is the One who will save us from our sins, and “Christ” means “Anointed One,” and Jesus is the King of Kings, High Priest, and the Prophet.  That is, Jesus is the Christ means that Jesus is the King of kings, the High Priest and the Prophet who saves us from our sins.  Also, we have already learned about “he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” in 1 John 5:5.  In a word, we learned that Jesus is the Son of God means that Jesus is God.  However, in 1 John 5:6-10, the testimony that God testified about the Son is that the Son of God is Jesus Christ.  And that Jesus Christ came by water and blood.  The point is that when we think about Romans 6, we are buried with Jesus only through baptism (“water”) into the death (“blood”) of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Rom. 6:4).  In other words, our old self was crucified with Jesus, so that our sinful body died so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin (v. 6).  In a word, we who were baptized with the shed blood of Jesus Christ, who came with water and blood (1 Jn. 5:6), became dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11).  Now that we have been set free from sin, we have become servants of God and lead a holy life, which the result is eternal life (v. 22).  That is why the Apostle John says this in 1 John 5:11-12: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 

 

(2)      ‘The testimony of God’ is “man’s testimony.”

 

Look at 1 John 5:9 – “We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.”  Here the Apostle John compares “man’s testimony” with “the testimony of God,” that is, the testimony of the Son of God, and says that if we have received the man’s testimony, we must receive the greater testimony of God.  What, then, is the “man’s testimony” we have received here?  First of all, from the standpoint of the recipients of this letter of 1 John, among the testimonies of those they received, there is 1 John 1:2 – “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.”  That is, they received the testimony of the Apostle John.  This is the fulfillment of Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  The Apostle John was empowered by the Holy Spirit that came upon him, and he testified to the recipients of the letter through 1 John, the Son of God, whom he had personally seen.  In this way, God testified of His Son, Jesus Christ, through the testimony of people, and He continues to do so.

 

Look at 1 John 5:10 – “Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.”  The Apostle John says that the Father God testifies concerning his Son Jesus Christ, firstly by the Spirit and by water and blood (vv.  6-8), and secondly by man’s testimony (v. 9).  And the Apostle John says in verse 10 that those who hear this testimony of God are divided into two groups:

 

(1)     The first group of people who hear the testimony of God are those who believe in the Son of God.

 

Those who believe in the Son of God are those who believe in Jesus Christ when God testifies concerning his Son, Jesus Christ, and are “born of God” (vv. 1, 4).  That is, they are those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit (the regenerated love of the Holy Spirit) and those who have received eternal life through believing that Jesus, the Son of God, is the Christ (converted love of the Holy Spirit).  Look at 1 John 5:11 – “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”  What does it mean?  God gives eternal life to those who believe in “the testimony of God” (v. 9), that is, the testimony of His Son, Jesus Christ (v. 10).  In a word, those who believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have eternal life.  The Apostle John said that this eternal life is in the Son of God (v. 11), which means that eternal life is in Jesus Christ.  In fact, the Apostle John says in 1 John 1:1-2 that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Word of life from the beginning (v. 1) and eternal life (v. 2).  And this life appeared, and the Apostle John says, since he has seen it and testify to it, he proclaims to the recipients of the letter of 1 John the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to them (v. 2).  If we receive the testimony of this Apostle John, we will receive the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, which is the greater testimony of God, and through the work of the Holy Spirit, who is the truth, the regenerating work and the work of conversion, there is witness in those who believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God (5:10).  The testimony is that those who believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have eternal life (v. 12).  This is because they have in their hearts Jesus Christ, who is eternal life (v. 12).

 

(2)     The second group of people who hear the testimony of God are those who do not believe in God (v. 10).

 

The Apostle John says in verse 10, “Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart.”  And then he says “Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar” (v. 10).  Here we have to consider two things:

               

(a)   First, we need to think about why the Apostle John said “Anyone who believes in the Son of God” and then ‘Anyone who does not believe in God’ instead of ‘Anyone who does not believe in the Son of God’.

 

The reason is because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is “God.  That is why the Apostle John said this in John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Here, “the Word” refers to Jesus, and the Apostle John said that Jesus was God.  Also, the Apostle John recorded the words of Jesus in John 10:30 – “I and the Father are one.”  The meaning of the saying that Jesus is the Son of God means that Jesus and the Father God are one, and that Jesus, the Son of God, is God.

 

(b)  Another thing we need to consider is that the Apostle John says in 1 John 5:10, “Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar.”

 

The modern Korean Bible translates it this way: ‘Anyone who does not believe in God has made God a liar.’  What makes God a liar?  In 1 John 1:10, the Apostle John already mentioned making God a liar: “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”  If we say that we have fellowship with God, who is Light and in whom there is no darkness at all (v. 5), and walk in the darkness, we lie (v. 6).  And yet, if we don’t confess our sins (v. 9), but rather say that we are without sin, then we deceive ourselves (v. 8) and make God the liar (v. 10).  The Apostle John says in 1 John 5:10, “Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar.”  The reason is because “he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son” (v. 10).  The Bible says that those who don’t believe in “the testimony of God” about Jesus Christ don’t have the Son of God (v. 12).  And the Bible says that unbelievers who don’t have in their hearts the Son of God, who is eternal life, who is God, Jesus Christ, have no life (v. 12).  It means that unbelievers, who are not “born of God” (vv. 1, 4), are not regenerated, and are dead in trespasses and sins (are spiritually dead because of disobedience and sins) (Eph. 2:1), don’t have eternal life (1 Jn. 5:12).

 

The Apostle John testified that Jesus is the Christ (v. 1) and the Son of God (v. 5).  If we should receive the testimony of the Apostle John, will we not receive the greater (v. 9) or stronger witness?  The testimony of the Father God is the testimony of his Son (v. 9), and that testimony is the testimony that Jesus, the Son of God, is the Christ.  This testimony of God is the testimony of the Spirit, and the water and the blood, and they all testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (vv. 6-8).  In other words, the testimony of God is that the Son of God is Jesus Christ, who came by water and blood, and the Holy Spirit, who is the truth, testifies this fact.  The meaning of these words is that, through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on the cross, we are saved (eternal life) by the gift of the Holy Spirit (“water”) and the washing of sins (“blood”).  Hearing this testimony of God, whoever believes in the Son of God (v. 10) has the Son has life [“eternal life” (v. 13)].  But he who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ, who is God, don’t have the Son of God (v. 12) and has made God the liar (v. 10) and don’t have eternal life (v. 12).

 


Believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by the Holy Spirit, who is the truth, and who is working in my heart to hear and believe the testimony of God,

 



James Kim

(July 18, 2021, Earnestly praying that the testimony of God will become my testimony and live only for Jesus Christ and His gospel)