The Certainty of God’s Witness

by Mike Ratliff

1Πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Χριστὸς ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ γεγέννηται, καὶ πᾶς ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὸν γεννήσαντα ἀγαπᾷ καὶ τὸν γεγεννημένον ἐξ αὐτοῦ. 2ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἀγαπῶμεν τὰ τέκνα τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅταν τὸν θεὸν ἀγαπῶμεν καὶ τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ ποιῶμεν. 3αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ τηρῶμεν, καὶ αἱ ἐντολαὶ αὐτοῦ βαρεῖαι οὐκ εἰσίν. 4ὅτι πᾶν τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ νικᾷ τὸν κόσμον· καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ νίκη ἡ νικήσασα τὸν κόσμον, ἡ πίστις ἡμῶν. (1 John 5:1-4 NA28)

1 All who believe that Jesus is the Christ, born of God, and all who love the Father loves the one born of him. 2 In this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and we obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For all that has been born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 John 5:1-4 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Satan’s worldwide system of deception and wickedness, at times, seems to be overcoming the Church not the Church overcoming it. However, through Christ and his provision of salvation, believers are victorious over the invisible system of demonic and human evil that our enemy operates to capture men’s souls for hell. Currently, the visible church seems split with divisive conflicts that those with any rational sense of reason can only attribute to demonic attacks our enemy is using to divide Christians to get them away from our primary mission, the Gospel and the Great Commission and, instead, focusing on issues that simply cause these conflicts and strife keeping us from what we should really be about.

5Τίς δέ ἐστιν ὁ νικῶν τὸν κόσμον εἰ μὴ ὁ πιστεύων ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ; 6οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἐλθὼν δι’ ὕδατος καὶ αἵματος, Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, οὐκ ἐν τῷ ὕδατι μόνον, ἀλλ’ ἐν τῷ ὕδατι καὶ ἐν τῷ αἵματι· καὶ τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν τὸ μαρτυροῦν, ὅτι τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν ἡ ἀλήθεια. 7ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες, 8τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα, καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν. 9εἰ τὴν μαρτυρίαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων λαμβάνομεν, ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ θεοῦ μείζων ἐστίν· ὅτι αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅτι μεμαρτύρηκεν περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ. 10ὁ πιστεύων εἰς τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ ἔχει τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἐν αὐτῷ, ὁ μὴ πιστεύων τῷ θεῷ ψεύστην πεποίηκεν αὐτόν, ὅτι οὐ πεπίστευκεν εἰς τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἣν μεμαρτύρηκεν ὁ θεὸς περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ. 11καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μαρτυρία, ὅτι ζωὴν αἰώνιον ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ θεός, καὶ αὕτη ἡ ζωὴ ἐν τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ ἐστιν. 12ὁ ἔχων τὸν υἱὸν ἔχει τὴν ζωήν· ὁ μὴ ἔχων τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ τὴν ζωὴν οὐκ ἔχει. (1 John 5:5-12 NA28)

5 And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus in the Son of God. 6 This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who gives testimony because the Spirit is the truth. 7 Because there are three giving testimony, 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and the three give testimony as one. 9 If we receive the witness of men the testimony of God is greater because this is the testimony of God that he has testified concerning his Son. 10 The one believing in the Son of God has the witness in himself, the one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony which God has testified concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one having the Son has this life, the one who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5:5-12 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

What is the focus of John’s message from God to us in this passage? This is a passage of light and darkness. There are no gray areas here about authentic Christian faith is there? Our Lord Jesus Christ is deity. He is God. The Trinity is taught all through this passage and John talks about the testimony of God and Spirit to the world regarding the great truth of our Lord’s deity. Who is the one giving the greatest testimony to confirm that Jesus is the Christ? It is God! See also John 5:31-37 and John 8:13-18. God gives us two kinds of testimony. In vv6-9 the testimony is external and in vv10-12 it is internal.

The references to water and blood in vv6-8 are the external objective witnesses to who Jesus Christ is. The water refers to his baptism while the blood refers to his death on the cross. In v8 John speaks of the Spirit, the water and blood as three who give testimony. This is in reference to the Old Testament Law requiring “the evidence of two or three witnesses” to establish the truth of a particular matter (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; cf John 8:17, 18, 1 Timothy 5:19). Also, at the baptism of our Lord, the Father and the Spirit both testified to the Son (Matthew 3:16, 17). The death of our Lord also witnessed to who he was (Matthew 27:54; Hebrews 9:14). The Holy Spirit testified throughout our Lord’s life as to his identity (Mark 1:12; Luke 1:35; Acts 10:38).

Lastly, the supernatural eternal life that genuine believers possess is the their subjective witness. It is the very life we possess in Christ expressed in the grace and power he provides all the time. Life is only in him, so it is impossible to have it without him.

Soli Deo Gloria!

3 thoughts on “The Certainty of God’s Witness

  1. Hi Bro. Ratliff,
    Could you point me to what masculine nouns in vs. 6, 7, and/or 8 the masculine plural οι in v7 refers to?


  2. John, I un-spammed your comment specifically to address this. You are cutting up v7 unnecessarily. Here is v7 from the NA28: “ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες” My translation of it is as follows: “Because there are three giving testimony”. The words οἱ μαρτυροῦντες is a construct of a “the” and a participle that I translated as “giving testimony.” Yes it is masculine and yes it is plural, but what masculine plural noun does it refer to? Easy, it is τρεῖς, which I translated as “three”. It is masculine and plural and makes sense exegetically and grammatically. Participles need to tie into a verb. What verb or verb construct exegetically and grammatically fits this. It isn’t μαρτυροῦν from v6 because that too is a participle. No, it is found at the end of v8, “καὶ οἱ τρεῖς εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν,” which I translated as, “and the three give testimony as one.” However, I could have easily have translated it as, “and these three agree” for that is what the verb in that construct means and is the verb construct that the two participles point to. Make sense?

    Oh, and τρεῖς is not an adjective it’s a number and it’s usage in this passage is as a noun so it serves that purpose here.

    Your last comment is based upon how the T.R. is structured, that is your intent, that is obvious John. I’m done with this. Verbs can tie to multiple participles, Adjectives can function as nouns. I suggest if you want to “argue” about this stuff then you need to find someone else. I’m not going to do it. I’ve got way too much going on right now that is far more important than trying to debate KJV onlyism with someone who refuses to listen.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


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