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The Proof of Love and the Victory of Faith

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah is God’s spiritual child and has been fathered by God himself. And everyone who loves Father God loves his children as well. This is how we can be sure that we love the children of God: by having a passionate love for God and by obedience to his commands. True love for God means obeying his commands, and his commands don’t weigh us down as heavy burdens.[a] You see, every child of God overcomes[b] the world, for our faith is the victorious power that triumphs over the world. So who are the world conquerors, defeating its power? Those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

The Spirit, the Water, and the Blood

Jesus Christ is the One who was revealed as God’s Son by his water baptism and by the blood of his cross—not by water only, but by water and blood.[c] And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms this with his testimony. So we have these three constant witnesses giving their evidence:[d] the Spirit, the water, and the blood. And these three are in agreement. If we accept the testimony of men, how much more should we accept the more authoritative testimony of God that he has testified concerning his Son?

10 Those who believe in the Son of God have the living testimony in their hearts. Those who don’t believe have made God out to be a liar by not believing the testimony God has confirmed about his Son. 11 This is the true testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life has its source in his Son.[e] 12 Whoever has the Son has eternal life; whoever does not have the Son does not possess eternal life.

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  1. 5:3 God’s grace empowers us to love, which makes his commands a delight instead of a duty. The spontaneity of love is never crushed by the commands of a loving God.
  2. 5:4 The Greek verb tense indicates continuous action, “continually conquers the world” (system).
  3. 5:6 At Jesus’ baptism the voice of the Father acknowledged him as his beloved Son. At the cross his blood was shed to bring the reality of Christ to those who believe in him. The majority view of current scholarship is this passage refers to Jesus’ baptism and the cross. It is possible, however, that John is referring to the blood and water that spilled from the side of Jesus after his death.
  4. 5:7 There is considerable historical and theological debate surrounding vv. 7–8. Some later, less reliable manuscripts have for vv. 7–8: “There are three that testify in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit. And these three are one.” This is known as the Comma Johanneum. But there has been a nearly complete agreement of scholars that this reading was added by copyists, with many theories of who it was. Although there is nothing heretical about this addition, it seems to have been inserted to reinforce the doctrine of the Trinity. It is not included in modern versions nor in the Aramaic.
  5. 5:11 Or “this life is in [as connected to him as source] his Son.” It can also mean that God has placed us in life union with his Son to manifest eternal life in us.

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