An Expositional Study of 1 John Part 9: An Exposition of 1 John 5:1-12 -- By: D. Edmond Hiebert

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 147:586 (Apr 1990)
Article: An Expositional Study of 1 John Part 9: An Exposition of 1 John 5:1-12
Author: D. Edmond Hiebert


An Expositional Study of 1 John
Part 9:
An Exposition of 1 John 5:1-12

D. Edmond Hiebert

Professor Emeritus of New Testament
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California

Beginning with 1 John 4:7 John launched into a discussion of the centrality of love in the Christian life as a ground for Christian assurance. In 4:7–16a he dealt with the nature of redeeming love, and in 4:16b–21 he presented the results of this love in human experience. The first five verses of chapter 5 are related to the concluding verses of chapter 4, for they draw out the relationship between true love for God and love for God’s children. The presence and power of redeeming love assure the believer of his saving relationship with God.

Redeeming Love in the Believer’s Relationship to God

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:1–5).

In these verses John showed that the varied relationships of love are all related to God in the Christian life. He stated the relationship between saving faith and the experience of love (v. 1), he noted that love is revealed in obedience to God’s commandments (vv. 2–3), and he portrayed the power of saving faith in a life of victory over the world (vv. 4–5).

The Revelation of Love in Saving Faith (v. 1)

John’s assertion, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,” declares the content and result of Christian faith. The designation, “Whoever believes” (πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων, literally, “everyone believing”), is personal but includes every individual thus characterized; it stresses the universal scope of the fact presented. The present participle denotes that the individual exercises a persistent, continuous faith. The verb, a favorite ...

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