Saturday, 6 June 2020
He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 1 John 5:10
John now builds on his words of the previous verse. He begins with, “He who believes in the Son of God.” However, the translation is faulty. The Greek uses the preposition eis, rather than en – “on” rather than “in.” This is the first time he has used it this way in 1 John. However, he uses it almost forty times in the Gospel of John.
It is a stronger and more sure belief that doesn’t merely believe in the existence of a thing or person, but instead has a confidence in every aspect of that thing or person. When hiking, one may believe in his friend to help if trouble arises, but that may not be the same as believing on the brother to help. “I know that he is willing to help, but I am not sure if he is capable of helping.” Trusting on the Son of God is placing a full trust on every aspect of the Son of God.
Further, the verb “believes” is a present participle. It is an ongoing belief in the Son of God. With this belief in the Son of God, John says such a person “has the witness in himself.
For clarity, some translations add in the words “of God” here – “has the witness of God in himself.” This is correct. John just said in the previous verse –
“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.”
It is this “witness of God” that John is referring to, and it is greater than the witness of men. The contrast is given so that a person can have the confidence that his witness (of God) is rightly placed. He has rightly believed in the truth of God because he has believed in the Son of God. Again, as John has consistently done throughout the epistle, He is focusing most specifically on the incarnation of Jesus Christ. If one believes in this precept, he has this sure witness of God. However, “he who does not believe God has made Him a liar.”
John has taken “the witness of God,” and he has now turned it into a personal aspect of God. To believe in the testimony which God gives is to believe Him. The two are spoken of as one reality. The acceptance of the message of God is to accept God as He has revealed Himself. And in this, there is a new reality for the believer –
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
It is belief in the Son that, in turn, demonstrates a person possesses the witness of God. And to possess that witness is to become a child of God. However, John – though making this clause a personal note concerning God – wrote it in the negative. He said, “he who does not believe God.” Such a person “has made Him a liar.”
This goes back to verse 2:4 –
“He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
As seen then, keeping the commandments of God is to believe on the One whom He has sent. That was evidenced in Jesus’ words from John 6 –
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’”
To believe in the Son is to believe God who sent the Son. To not believe in the Son is to not believe God, and it is the mark of a liar. This is “because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.”
The verb form of the previous clause (in 1 John 5:10) which said, “has made,” and the verb form of the words, “has not believed,” here are both in the perfect tense. The past non-belief continues into the present in the one who does not believe. The person was a liar, and he continues to be a liar because of his failure to accept the witness of God found in the Son.
Vincent’s Word Studies highlights the Greek here. Rather than “believed the testimony,” the Greek more specifically says, “believed on the testimony.” The object is not directly personal – “testimony.” But it is indirectly personal because the testimony is that which speaks of Christ Jesus. God has tied who He is into who the Son of God is. The two are united in one thought. To have the Son is to have the Father. To not have one is to have neither.
Life application: John sums up the objective evidence of the preceding verses in this concise and precise thought. The objective witnesses are:
1) That He who came by water and blood.
2) The testimony of the Spirit.
3) The witness of the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit (which are one).
4) The Spirit, the water, and the blood (which are in agreement as one).
5) The witness of God – meaning the entire Godhead mentioned in item 3.
These evidences now ask each person who hears to act upon their testimony and their witness, and either accept or reject them at face value. He who “believes in” (or rather “on”) is speaking of trust on the Person who is the Son of God. If a person has this ongoing trust, he also has the “witness in himself.” This isn’t speaking of initial salvation, but it is indicating that the individual has become an objective witness to the surety of the proclamation.
John then says that any person who “does not believe” – here he leaves off “in” to indicate that it is not speaking of the work of God, but rather the truthfulness of God – “has made Him a liar.” If these evidences, all of which point to both the humanity and the deity of Jesus Christ, are not believed, then the man has called God a liar. There is, and there can be, no salvation for a person who denies this fundamental truth. He must repent of this (change his mind about the Son) and believe on the Son of God as the Bible reveals Him.
If you have denied either the humanity or the deity of God, you have called God a liar. Go back, research the testimony which has been given, and accept God as truthful. Believe and be saved!
Jesus, we believe with all of our hearts and souls that You are fully God and also fully Man. We believe You are the infinite united to the finite – the God/Man – who has come so that we can know and understand the depth of the love of God which was hidden in ages past. Glory to You our Lord. And thank You, O God, for revealing Yourself to us in the Person of Jesus! Amen.