Among the more famous thoughts by Ben Franklin...in 1789, he said, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Now, a wise man like Ben Franklin knew other things were certain, including spiritual matters…but, I believe we can understand what he was saying. Concerning the aforementioned certainties, we can agree with Mr. Franklin…yet, concerning spiritual truths, we should be the first to say, “we know for certain” what it is that lies ahead…what lies beyond death’s gate. The word “know” occurs thirty-nine times in 1 John…eighteen times in chapter 5 alone! There are times when believers question things that God says are certain. I have heard some say, “I do not know if I am going to heaven or not.” John says that if we are seeking God’s will, living the blameless life of a faithful follower of Jesus, then we should indeed “know that we are saved” (v.13). And, this does not mean that we are sinless or perfect…just that we are blameless, forgiven. God says so!
There are some divine certainties about being in Christ that we should not question, but simply trust in the Lord. This requires genuine faith -- "little faith” is going to struggle…"no faith” is going to be condemned…but “growing faith,” although it may be challenged, is going to reap a blessed reward! As we grow in faith, we grow in our ability to overcome the flesh, world through the love of God. It is important to understand that by using the word, “overcome,” that John is not describing some special class of believers. He uses the word as a name for Christians who are genuinely maturing in Christ. Those who truly live by faith in Christ have the victory! The better that we come to know and love Jesus, the easier it becomes to trust Him with our needs and for help, guidance in the battles of life.
Remember, some of the folks that John was writing to were those who were still questioning if Jesus Christ was the One in whom they should be trusting. Some of these people had been exposed to a number of false teachers…certain Gnostics…as we have shared previously, who deny Jesus’ deity. To nail down his argument, John presents, once and for all, some infallible witnesses to deal with the false teachers and those whom they had been influencing. The first witness – the water. Jesus came “by water and blood.” The water refers to His baptism and the Spirit who came upon Him like a dove. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17). The second witness – the blood. The Father gave further witness as the time drew near for Jesus to die. Concerning “the Name,” He speaks to Jesus from heaven saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again” (John 12:28b). Jesus would shed His blood on the cross…there would be darkness, earthquake, and tearing of the temple veil. Some false teacher’s said Jesus “received the Christ” at His baptism, and that He would lose it at the cross. Yet, on both occasions, as we have seen, the Father witnesses to the deity of His Son! The third witness – the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was given to bear witness to the Christ at His baptism and at His death (John 15:26, 16:14). The Spirit’s witness is to be trusted, because He is presently working, and is “the Spirit of Truth.” The Spirit witnesses to us (Romans 8:15-16)…and His witness is our inner confidence that we belong to Christ, a confidence that we do not and cannot work for, but one that God gives to us. The Spirit also witnesses to us through the Word of God…as we read God’s Word, He speaks to us and teaches us. In all of these spiritual principles, we can know that we have eternal life, through Jesus Christ who has been witnessed. And, we are the Lord’s witnesses, as well...it is our responsibility to share the message of hope to a lost world!
You hear people say, “I wish I could have faith or have more faith.” Yet…everyone lives by faith! All day long, people live in a trusting relationship with others…this requires faith. We trust the doctor and the pharmacist…we trust the restaurant cook…we trust the person driving on the other side of the highway. If we can so trust men in these ways, how can we not trust God who knows all things and has power over all things? Jesus is God…this has been witnessed, and we can trust this! It is a sure thing. If we can’t trust this principle with our lives, souls, who or what can we trust?