1 John 5:6–13 (NKJV)
John spoke in the last passage about love and the victory that has overcome the world, our faith. He now moves to a discussion of the saving, life-giving power of the sacrifice of Christ and our relationship with Him.
6 This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.1 John 5:6-8
There is some theological debate as to the significance of the “water and blood” references in this section. Jesus came by water and blood. Some attach the water imagery to the water of Jesus’ baptism, where He was officially anointed into ministry. Others attach the same imagery to the birth of Jesus, hearkening back to the need for birth by water and by the spirit in order to be saved found in John 3. Either way, the blood reference seems to refer to the death of Christ on the cross, as His blood was definitely shed for our salvation. Others think that this could refer to the blood and water that flowed from Jesus’ side as He was pierced by the spear. This is not as widely accepted as the first thought line, though. So Christ came as a man by natural birth (water), and died as a man, shedding His blood for our sins. The Spirit bears witness of the great love and sacrifice of Christ. The Spirit is truth, and sheds this thought abroad to all who will hear. In heaven, three bear witness of the great salvific work of Christ: The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit. This trinity are three and one, one in three persons and three in one. There are three that bear witness on earth as well: The Spirit, the water, and the blood. John says that these three agree as one. If the trinity bears witness in heaven, then the Spirit (descending on Christ at His baptism, affirming Him all through His ministry), the water (human birth, baptism, body) and the blood (crucifixion, death, sacrifice). The greatest act of love, the most universal provision in all of history, the most powerful act of sacrifice, are all provided in the person of Jesus Christ. His footprints tell the story. The Godhead serves as divine witness. The crucifixion is true, the work is complete in Christ.
9 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. 10 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. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.1 John 5:9-13
Many saw the crucifixion of Christ, and many saw Him after His resurrection. What an awesome act to witness! What a glorious opportunity to receive the gift of salvation in that moment. However, we know these truths by the record and the witness of holy men and women. But the witness of God is greater. If the Holy Spirit does not bring the story alive and implant it in our hearts, it is just that: a story. If the Spirit draws us, though, then the story becomes reality in our hearts. God bears witness of His Son. If you believe in Christ, you are witnesses to Him. Those who do not believe are liars and they make God a liar, which is impossible. Those non-believers not accepting the testimony that says that God has given His Son do not nullify the truth. The testimony is that God has given us eternal life, and that life is found in His Son. Those with the Son have life; those who do not do not have life. John affirms that his purpose for all of this is that those who believe may have the confidence that they have eternal life. Those who have eternal life may know that the Son of God is real and that they can confidently believe in His name.
Confidence is very prevalent in the world, but is often misplaced. People have confidence in the government or their employer, or their friends. Many have self-confidence for days. The only legitimate confidence is that confidence which is placed in God. Be sure your confidence is well-placed and not misplaced. Only Jesus is worthy of your confidence. He who has the Son has life.