This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ.
He did not come by water only, but by water and blood.
And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood;
and the three are in agreement.
We accept human testimony,
but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God,
which he has given about his Son.
Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony.
Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar,
because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.
And this is the testimony: God has given 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.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God
so that you may know that you have eternal life.
I John 5:6-13
We’re now in the final chapter of I John. He is pulling together his final thoughts. This is the final testimony in the courtroom, you might say. It is the testimony of GOD regarding Jesus Christ!
Jesus Christ…the One who came by water and the blood
Reading about this section told me that it is a difficult passage. I wasn’t the only one who found it difficult, even confusing. Evidently, so do commentators. That is comforting! As I read about the views of what the blood and water could be referring to, there were 4 views that all seemed to make sense.
Because of time, I won’t go into all of the them here. You can read about them in detail in the book here. I’ll just pass on the one that seemed to have the least number of downsides to it and seemed to fit the context best.
Your preference might be a different from the one I chose…maybe. The one I thought seemed to fit best in this setting was the one that suggested the water symbolizing the baptism of Jesus and the blood symbolizing His death were what this was talking about. With those two along with the Spirit to testify to His Diety wrapped in human flesh throughout His entire life on earth, verify/testify to the truth of who He is.
This speaks to the false Gnostic teachings about Jesus and who He was
I John is written to speak against the false teaching of the Gnostics who taught that Jesus wasn’t fully GOD. That He became GOD at His baptism and that GOD left Him before the crucifixion…or various variations of that view. This view speaks to that false teaching.
First, that He didn’t just come by water, but by water and the blood. He was GOD through all of that. And that the three testify in full agreement with each other…and that the Spirit is true…therefore they all are true!
The law of two or three witnesses to establish a testimony or accusation
You probably remember the power of witnesses in the Jewish legal system. In order for someone to be judged, the person lodging a charge must have at least another witness, preferably a total of 3 witnesses to establish the truth of a charge.
That is part of what is being referred to here. This is the power of 3 witnesses: the witness of the Spirit, the Baptism of Jesus and the death of Christ. That is three very powerful witnesses to the fact that He is fully GOD and fully human.
If you recall, that is also one of the tests mentioned earlier. The test of doctrine or truth. What do you believe about Jesus Christ? It is all verified at this point.
So the final verse here is reminding us what much of this book is about.
This is the testimony: GOD has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son.
This is the heart of what I John is about. Once we have Christ, we have life that never ends. It isn’t talking about life insurance, it is talking about abundant life! (cf. John 10:10 ESV) We have something and Someone that is eternal and life-giving.
While it is true, we don’t always feel like we have that life, it takes faith to believe that we have it. Once we have trusted Christ for our salvation, we trust the promises of GOD. Do you “have the Son”, then you have life! You belong to Him. You are His. You have the life of Christ flowing in you.
Walk by faith and live out who you are!
Do you struggle to believe that you belong to Christ? Ask GOD to examin you. Ask Him to clarify for you that you are His child…or not.
Have you come to Him to repent of your sin, turn away from it and trust that His work on the cross was enough to pay for your sin?
If so, then you need to walk by faith daily, repenting when you sin, asking GOD’s forgiveness and trusting that His work for you was fully sufficient!