Please Explain 1 John 5:6-8 with reference to the water and blood.
Verse 6 is connected with verse 5 in that he who believes in Jesus, the Son of God overcomes the world. The Son of God is the one that “came by water and blood.” Belief of this truth is the only faith that can overcome and gain victory over the world. The world obviously is a perennial enemy of Christianity.
Jesus, the Christ, came by water and blood. The preposition here literally means “through” both water and blood. Some of the explanations of the coming of Jesus through water and blood are:
1. Baptism by means of water in Jordan and death by shedding his blood on the cross.
2. The water and blood that came out of his side when the Roman soldier pierced his side (John 19:34).
3. Water as symbolic of purification, and blood as symbolic of redemption.
4. Water baptism and the Lord's Supper.
The first option fits the entire New Testament teaching best. The baptism of Jesus was accompanied by the divine proclamation that he is truly the Son of God, in whom the Father is well pleased (Matt. 3:16-17). His bloody death on the cross was the culmination of his redemptive work while in the flesh.
“Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, But a body didst thou prepare for me; In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hadst no pleasure: Then said I, Lo, I am come (In the roll of the book it is written of me) To do thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:5-7). He accomplished this as the only begotten Son of God (publicly proclaimed at his baptism; fulfilling his divine mission by offering his body on the cross.
Christ's baptism was the opening of his personal ministry on earth and the cross ended it. Taken together, in light of the passage we are studying, it is a summation of what genuine saving and overcoming faith is.
Verse 7: “For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one.” The King James inserts the three, Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, with the conclusion, “these three are one.” The American Standard (and others) omit it. The reason for the revisers omission of it is:
1. Not a single Greek Codex earlier than the 14th century contains the passage.
2. Not one of the Greek or Latin patristic writers ever quotes the passage - even when debating the Godhead.
3. No version earlier than the 5th century contains the passage except the Latin and none earlier than the 14th century.
This should not be taken to mean the statement is not true. It is and is well verified elsewhere in the New Testament. It is only a matter that it lacks manuscript authority.
The three that bear witness perpetually bear witness that Jesus is the summation of salvation and redemption through water and blood (Eph. 1:10). The writings of John served to offset the false and foolish doctrines of ancient Gnosticism. John answers any misgivings those might have who feared that when the last apostle was dead, they would only have second-hand evidence of the Person and mission of Christ. Not so, says John. The evidence is first hand and ever present by the inspired word which abides forever (1 Pet. 1:23-24).
Verse 8: “For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one.” The three witnesses combine to verify the fullness of Christ Jesus and what he accomplished (Eph. 1:22-23; John 1:16). At his baptism, the proclamation of his divine Sonship, the Spirit of God descended to on him. His fulness was complete by his death, burial, and resurrection. These all bear irrefutable testimony to the Sonship and Godhood of Jesus.
An unknown source wrote, “The real value of our Lord's baptism and his death may be estimated by supposing that neither had taken place, and that our Lord had appeared on his mission without openly confessing his mission from God and in submitting to the baptism of John; or that he had died quietly as other men die.” When one makes that supposition he is driven to understand the absolute necessity of the role Jesus voluntarily played in the eternal plan of redemption.
The expression “these three agree in one” literally says the three are united in one, or establish the one object of this truth about Jesus (remember verse 5 and its connection to this.) The Spirit has borne witness because the Spirit is truth. The Spirit reveals and sustains the truth (John 16:13). Jesus, the divine Word is the truth (John 14:6; John 1:1-3; 1 John 1:1). This sums up to show us clearly, without fear of successful refutation, that the Godhead offers one testimony, and only one testimony. The witness of the Godhead proves Jesus Christ to be the Son of God. It is obliquely a clear refutation of the foolishness of Gnosticism's ungodly assessment that he was not in the flesh as deity - only a phantom.
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