Yesterday I preached the text found in 1 John 5:6-12 in our ongoing series titled, “Know.” John has a clear agenda through his letter as he desires for the Christians to have solid assurance of their salvation. John repeatedly uses vocabulary in different words that are often translated over into English as— “know” and he does so at least 30 times in his short letter. The key verse is found in 1 John 5:13.
Interestingly enough, John does not disconnect doctrine from assurance. John does not build a case for assurance to be built upon the foundation of feelings or emotions. Instead, he points out the need to have assurance that is connected to critical doctrines of the faith. Here in this passage, the doctrine that John emphasizes is the deity of Christ.
In John’s day, a form of what we call Gnosticism was becoming popular and it attacked the deity of Christ. It suggested that the spirit of the Christ came upon Jesus at his baptism but departed just prior to his death on the cross. Such a teaching cut to the heart of the gospel and must be opposed. John pointed to the witness of Jesus being centered on the Spirit of God, the water, and the blood.
The ministry of the Spirit of God is most visible in the inspiration and preservation of God’s Word. Over a period of 1,500 years—the Holy Spirit moved upon forty different human authors on three different continents to write the body of God’s canon that we call the Bible. All through the Bible from Genesis 3:15 to Revelation 22—the Spirit of God is pointing to Jesus as God’s Son—the Savior of sinners and most controversially, One with the Father.
At the Baptism, as John makes note by the reference to water, Jesus’ deity is clearly put on display as the Trinity is manifest together both visibly and audibly (see Mark 1:9d-11). This unique moment in Jesus’ earthly ministry validates Jesus as the Son of God—which is a clear reference to his deity.
The reference to blood is a reference to Jesus’ death. Not only was Jesus God at his birth and his baptism, but he was God at the point of death on the cross. This is what we know as the hypostatic union, where Jesus’ deity took upon himself human flesh. Jesus was God at the point of his brutal death on the cross thereby providing the sufficient sacrifice for sinners. When Jesus died, some very unique events occurred that validated his claims to be God. In Matthew 27:45-54, notice the events that point to the deity of Jesus.
- The sky turns black for 3 hours.
- The temple veil tearing.
- The ground shaking.
- The rocks breaking.
- The tombs of many who had died rose from the dead.
- The guard’s testimony of Jesus.
All of these events point to the fact that Jesus was God. The ministry of the Spirit of God, the baptism of Jesus, and the death of Jesus all validate the claims of Jesus. Repeatedly through his earthly ministry, Jesus claimed to be God. At one point, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).
John makes the point that if you reject the deity of Jesus you call God a liar. However, if you receive Jesus as God, you will receive eternal life. Doctrine matters. Knowing God intelligibly as he has desired through his Word is essential to being a child of God. John MacArthur said:
Christians preach an exclusive Christ in an inclusive age. Because of that, we are often accused of being narrow-minded, even intolerant. Many paths, it is said, lead to the top of the mountain of religious enlightenment. How dare we insist that ours is the only one? In reality, however, there are only two religious paths: the broad way of works salvation leading to destruction, and the narrow way of faith in the only Savior leading to eternal life (Matt. 7:13-14). Religious people are on either one or the other. Sadly, the Sanhedrin and all who followed them were on the broad road to hell (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Acts 1-11, 135-136).