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5:1 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.

5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 5:6 This 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.

5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

5:8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

5:9 If 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.

5:10 He 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.

5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

5:13 These 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.

5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 5:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

5:16 If 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 for it.

5:17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

5:18 We 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.

5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

5:20 And we 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.

5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 1 John
Book: 1 John
Chapter: 5

Brotherly 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.

1-5 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 hindrances. 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.

6-8 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.

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.

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.

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