This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
- Jesus came by water and blood.
- The Spirit is the one who testifies that Jesus came by water and blood
- The Spirit testifies that Jesus came by water and blood because the Spirit is truth.
- The water, the blood, and the Spirit testify Jesus came by water and blood.
- If we believe what men say, we should believe what God says even more. Because God is greater than men.
- God gives testimony regarding Jesus.
- Anyone who believes in the Son of God i.e. Jesus, has the testimony of God.
- If we do not believe God concerning the His Son, Jesus, we call God a liar.
- The testimony of God is that we have eternal life in His Son Jesus.
- Anyone who has Jesus, God’s Son, has eternal life.
- Anyone who does not have Jesus, God’s Son, does not have eternal life.
What John meant by Jesus coming by water and blood is not certain. I have checked with several commentaries some say the water refers to Jesus baptism, others say this is probably not referring to Jesus baptism because John does not refer to it in his gospel. Still other commentators say it refers to the sacraments for baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Others disagree saying this is unlikely because John does not refer to the institution of the sacraments in his gospel. Again others say it refers to the water and blood that came out of Jesus side when the Roman soldier pierced Jesus’ side because John is the only gospel writer that refers to the water and blood coming out of Jesus side. It may make more sense if we knew more about the context of John’s letter. As it is, understanding the meaning of the water and blood may need to wait until we meet John in heaven when we can ask him directly. But it is probability making some reference to both humanity and deity of Jesus and the fact that Jesus actually died on the cross. Something the Gnostics disagreed with.
The testimony of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus is born by the Spirit of God. We are persuaded by the arguments and testimony of men. We trust some who says they “saw it with their own eyes.” The testimony of God is better than the testimony of men. It is God Himself who is testifying that Jesus is the Son of God, if we doubt that we are calling God a liar.
God has given use eternal life. He gave it. It is a gift. We did nothing to earn, merit or deserve it. We did not get it because we were better than someone else. We did not get it because we were smart enough to ask for it. We did not get it because He knew we would accept it. Why? We really do not know fully know why. We only know that it was according to His purpose. (Eph 1:11) But we have it. Praise be to God!
I believe verses 9 through 12 give us a good basis for good hermeneutics, i.e. how to read and understand the bible. We read the bible and wrestle with the meaning and understanding. After all, it was written a couple thousand years ago. The culture was different and society was different. How we understand and apply the message of the scripture is not always easy. We apply the best reasoning and arguments we can. After all, this is important. And we want to get it right. We listen to those who have studied and supposedly know. This is the testimony of men. They appear rational and reasonable. The questions they raise appear reasonable and valid. But regardless how reasonable and sound they appear, regardless of their emotional appeal, if the clear teaching of scripture is violated, then the answer we arrive at is incorrect.
Here is an example. There are those who claim the bible teaches that man has a free will. Since man has a free will, man must choose Christ and “ask him into their heart.” The bible clearly teaches that man has a will. It also clearly teaches that man is responsible for his choices. That not choosing God and obeying God’s commandments are sin. And the wages of sin are death and man is condemned to hell as punishment of his sin. Therefore it is a completely reasonable conclusion that man can choose God, and that God does not select some for redemption and not others.
There are others who point out clear passages where the bible teaches God is completely sovereign. It is God who decides. It is God who elects. Passages such as Romans 8 and 9 and Ephesians 1 and even the words of our Lord himself John 15:16-19. God chose us we did not choose him. In fact, we cannot choose him unless He has chosen us. (John 6:44) The conclusion is since God decides who will be saved and who will not, our free will has nothing to do with it.
Both sides will shout verses to each other. Why? Because, the bible teaches both. We have a free will and are responsible for our rejection of Christ. And God sovereignly chooses who will be redeemed. How can both be true? I do not know. But I know both are true. I know that both are true because the bible teaches both. To deny either is to call God a liar.
The principle here is we should use our best reasoning. But if our conclusions contradict the bible’s teaching, then we need to recognize we have made an error either in our assumptions or our logic. We then accept the testimony of God not of men.