1 John 5:1-5
1 John 5:1 (KJB)
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.
The Gnostics in John’s time did not believe that Jesus was the Christ and they also disbelieved the virgin birth. They did not believe that deity could ever possess a human body which was filled with sin. Of course, as previously mentioned they could not understand that Jesus did not inherit the sin nature because He was not fathered by a human but the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary. So even in our day, there are people who totally disbelieve that the Lord Jesus Christ was God in the flesh and equate Him as one of the enlightened master teachers such as Buddha or Mohammed. This is a major test of a true believer, if they believe that Jesus is born of God, then it is evidence they are saved but if they disbelieve, it is evidence they are unsaved.
Then John continues thread that loving God will bring about a true proactive love for the brethren. God is the one who initiates love in the life of a truly born again believer and this love is as a love of a parent but God’s love is a pure love which has no prejudice toward any of His children. Those who possess the love of God through salvation are now able to love God and also those whom God has begotten, that is, those whom God has saved, are loved by the other brethren.
1 John 5:2 (KJB)
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
This verse is a summary which links the love of God and the love of the brethren. It also includes the third link and that is the obedience to God’s commands. When the believer knows and understands these three major truths, we will easily know those who love God and His children. This will give us the major insight into the fact that they have become saved. If love is lacking, then there is a lack of salvation. It also gives us material for introspection into our Christian walk.
1 John 5:3 (KJB)
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Grievous - Weighty or burdensome
(Mat 11:30 KJV) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. The Pharisees had laid heavy burdens upon the people as they added to God’s law. (Mat 23:4 KJV) For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. The love of God in a believer’s life compels them to keep the commandments of God. As the verse states, the commandments are not burdensome to the believer. The commandments of the law of Sinai were very burdensome because of the rituals involved in them but because we have the law of God written in our hearts, the obedience to God’s commands are much easier to obey and this obedience is the outward manifestation of the inward transformation which takes place in the believer at salvation.
1 John 5:4 (KJB)
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Overcometh - Be victorious, conquer, or prevail
Victory - Conquest
(2) Overcometh - Having overcome or conquered
The emphasis is on the source of the victory of the believer and that is not on the believer him or herself but is on the fact that it is the regeneration of the believer. If we were just religious without regeneration, there would be no victory instead there would be much compromise with the world as we see in so many dead churches which preach not the true gospel but preach a worldly gospel which cannot save. In the second part of the verse we are told what gives us the victory which has overcome the world. It is our faith. Now we must realize that faith is not from man but it comes as a result of salvation. (Gal 5:22 KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Galatians 5:22 reveals that faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit which means every believer receives a full measure of faith. The order is always salvation first, then comes implanted faith, and then we exercise that faith by belief. Salvation->Faith->Belief It is never belief first because man is spiritually dead and incapable of believing. The faith that God gives us is a continuum and needs to be exercised. The believer gets into trouble when we exchange faith for intellect. It is interesting that both words “overcometh” and “victory” come from the same Greek word “nikao” where we get our word for Nike Missiles. It speaks of the believer as being a super-conqueror in Christ. For there is nothing on this earth that can defeat us if we exercise our faith in God. Even in times when we seem defeated, we are still the same conquerors because of salvation. Our flesh may be weak but our spirit is strong.
1 John 5:5 (KJB)
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Overcometh - Conqueror (present tense)
Believeth - Have faith in or be convinced of (present tense)
In the last verse I spoke of faith being a continuum and here, the two words, “overcometh” and “believeth” are both in the present tense which means that victory and belief are a continuing activity in the life of the believer. Remember, we saw that faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit which means that those who believe are exercising the faith given to them by God upon salvation via the indwelling Holy Spirit. In the previous verse we saw that it is the regeneration of the believer that gives us the victory. So here in verse 5, we are seeing the question and answer concerning the true believer. Who is the one who conquers the world? It is he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.
Do you remember Peter’s confession about Jesus being the Son of the living God? (Mat 16:16-17 KJV) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. {17} And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Jesus told Peter that flesh and blood did not reveal this to him but His Father in Heaven. This means that those who are truly born again will be able to receive the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ. The world will reject that truth because they lack regeneration. When one becomes saved, then divine truth is given to them through the Scriptures and illumination by the Holy Spirit of those Scriptures. So those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God received that knowledge through the indwelling Holy Spirit.