1 John 5 English Standard Version (ESV)
Overcoming the World
5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Testimony Concerning the Son of God
6 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. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9 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. 10 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. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
That You May Know
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God[a] will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.
18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
1 John 5 The Voice (VOICE)
It’s easy to say “I love God,” but genuine love reflects God’s love. If we belong to God, then we will love each other regardless of how hard love is.
5 Everyone who trusts Jesus as the long-awaited Anointed One is a child of God, and everyone who loves the Father cannot help but love the child fathered by Him. 2 Then how do we know if we truly love God’s children? We love them if we love God and keep His commands. 3 You see, to love God means that we keep His commands, and His commands don’t weigh us down. 4 Everything that has been fathered by God overcomes the corrupt world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.
5-6 Who is the person conquering the world? It is the one who truly trusts that Jesus is the Son of God, that Jesus the Anointed is the One who came by water and blood—not by the water only, but by the water and the blood.
Just as we do not get to choose our biological brothers and sisters, we do not get to choose our spiritual brothers and sisters either. But what comes along with loving the Father is loving all His other children—even the really annoying ones! While it might seem to be easier to go off and live in isolation rather than put up with those we are not naturally attracted to, there are responsibilities that come with living in a spiritual family. We reflect our worship of God by living in respect with our Christian brothers and sisters. How we treat the people around us on a daily basis is the real test of our love for God.
The Spirit of God testifies to this truth because the Spirit is the truth. 7 So there are three testifying witnesses: 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood. All three are in total agreement. 9 If we accept the testimonies of people, then we must realize the testimony of God is greater than that of any person. God certified the truth about His own Son. 10 Anyone who trusts the Son of God has this truthful testimony at the core of his being. Anyone who does not trust God calls God a liar because he ignores God’s truthful testimony regarding His own Son. 11 And this is the truth: God has given us the gift of eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 If you have the Son, you have eternal life. If you do not have the Son of God, you are not acquainted with true life.
13 I am writing all of this to you who have entrusted your lives to the Son of God—so you will realize eternal life already is yours. 14 We live in the bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. 15 And if we have no doubt that He hears our voices, we can be assured that He moves in response to our call.
16 In this regard, if you notice a brother or sister in faith making moral missteps and blunders, disregarding and disobeying God even to the point of God removing this one from the body by death, then pray for that person; and God will grant him life on this journey. But to be clear, there is a sin that is ultimately fatal and leads to death. I am not talking about praying for that fatal sin, 17 but I am talking about all those wrongs and sins that plague God’s family that don’t lead to death.
18 We all know that everyone fathered by God will not make sin a way of life because God protects His children from the evil one, and the evil one can’t touch them. 19 Have confidence in the fact that we belong to God, but also know that the world around us is in the grips of the evil one. 20 We also can be sure of the fact that the Son of God has come and given us a mind so that we may know Him as the embodiment of all that is true. We live in this truth, in His Son Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the True God and eternal life.
21 My little children, keep away from idols.
John’s final bit of pastoral advice sounds an alarm against idolatry. If we look carefully at our culture and into our own hearts, we will find we are ultimately concerned about ourselves, our entertainment, our comforts, and our wallets. None of these are worthy of our highest devotion; but we put more time, energy, money, and emotion into these than we do into the one true God. So John’s warning should be heeded: watch out for the steady impulse to love other things more than God.