1 John 5:1
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
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(8.)FAITH THE TEST OF LOVE (1John 5:1-12).

(a)Its power (1John 5:1-5).

(b)The evidence on which it rests (1John 5:6-10).

(c)What it contains (1John 5:11-12).

(8 a.) St. John has been setting love in the supreme place which it held in our Lord’s teaching and in St. Paul’s. But there is another faculty which has to regulate, purify, direct, and stir up our weak and imperfect loving powers, and that is, faith. Without faith we cannot be certain about the quality of our love. He begins very simply with a position already laid down: genuine faith in Christ is the genuine birth from God. From that faith, through that birth, will come the proper love, as in a family: the love of our spiritual brothers and sisters. (This is specially sympathy with real Christians; but it does not exclude the more general love before inculcated.) If we are doubtful about the quality of our love, or are not sure whether any earthly elements may be mingled with it, we have only to ask ourselves whether we are loving God and keeping His commandments: the true work of faith. The love of God does, indeed, actually consist in keeping His commandments (and none can complain that they are tyrannical, vexatious, or capricious). The very object of the divine birth is the conquest of all that is opposed to God and to His commandments, and the instrument of the conquest is faith. There can be no victory over these elements that are opposed to God, and, consequently, no pure, true, God-like love, except through faith.

(8 b.) Having left the discussion about the effect of faith on love with the same thought which began it—belief in Jesus Christ—he is led to state the grounds on which that faith rests. These are here stated to be three: water, or Christ’s baptism, symbolising the complete fulfilment of the Law in His own perfect purity, and thus appealing to the Old Testament; blood, or His meritorious cross and passion, symbolising His own special work of atonement and reconciliation; and the Spirit, embracing all those demonstrable proofs of His kingdom which were from day to day forcing themselves on the attention of believers. If we accept human testimony on proper grounds, far more should we receive this divine testimony of God to His Son—the witness of the Old Testament, of the work of Christ, and of the Spirit. This witness is not far to seek, for it is actually within the true believer.

(8 c.) The contents of the record which God has thus given us are at once most simple and most comprehensive: the gift of eternal life in His Son. The presence of the Word of God in the heart is the sole condition of life.

(8 a.) (1) Whosoever believeth . . .—What may be the works of God among those who have not heard of His Son we do not here inquire. Enough that those who have this privilege are sons if they accept the message.

Begotten.—Of those who have the new birth, in a general sense: quite distinct from “only-begotten.”

(2) By this we know . . .—Love and obedience to God will assure us of the truth of our love to others. In 1John 2:3; 1John 4:20-21, obedience to God and love to our fellows were the signs of knowledge of God and love to Him. The two are really inseparable. If love of God is absent, then our love of our fellows is not genuine—is earthly, is a mockery. If love of our fellows is absent, then we have no love for God. All friendship must be tested by loyalty to God; all love to Him must be tested by charity.

(3) For this is . . .—These words are introduced to show that what were treated as two separate qualities in the last verse are in reality the same thing.

And his commandments are not grievous.—A transitional thought, introduced for encouragement, and forming a bridge to the next statement. (Comp. Matthew 11:30.) God has commanded us nothing for His own sake, but everything for our own highest profit and happiness. Were we perfect, we should not find them commands at all, for they would be our natural impulses. The more sincerely we serve God, the more enjoyment we shall derive from them. Only to those whose inclinations are distorted, perverted, and corrupted by sin can God’s laws seem irksome.

(4) The difficulty experienced by some in keeping God’s commands arises from the influence of all that is opposed to Him in our surroundings. But he who is born of God—the true child of God—fights with this only as a conqueror, because, as far as he is born again, God is in him. God overcame the world in Christ, and is still ever conquering through Him in His sons: so that to such the commands are congenial. (Comp. 1John 3:9; 1John 4:4; John 16:33.)

And this is the victory . . .—A new thought, suitable to the tenor of the passage, which lays down that faith is the measure of love. As the conquest that is overcoming the world is wrought by human instruments, its agent may be regarded as our faith, which appropriates Christ’s work, and carries it out for Him and through Him. (Comp. 1John 2:13-14; 1John 2:23; 1John 4:4; 1Corinthians 15:55-57.)

(5) Who is he that overcometh?—An appeal to the consciousness of Christians. If there be any besides the disciples of Jesus who have vanquished all that is opposed to God, where are they? God has declared that He will not harshly judge the Pagan world (Romans 2:13; Romans 2:15); but salvation by uncovenanted mercies is a very different thing from the glories of the illuminated and victorious Christian heart. Where are they? Not Socrates, with his want of the sense of sin and his tolerance of evil; not Cicero, with his tormenting vanity; not the Gnostics, with their questionable lives: only those in whom had dawned the bright and morning Star.

(8 b.) (6) This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ.—“Water” and “blood” are referred to as two of the three great witnesses, or sets of evidence, for Christ. They are symbols, and look back to two of the most characteristic and significant acts of His personal history. The one is His baptism, the other His cross. Why His baptism? The baptism of John was the seal of the Law. It was the outward sign by which those who repented at his preaching showed their determination to keep the Law no longer in the letter only, but also in the spirit. Jesus, too, showed this determination. Baptism in water was His outward sign and seal to the Old Testament: that He had not come to destroy but to fulfil the Law; not to supersede the prophecies, but to claim them. It was to show that in Him the righteousness and purification which the Law intended was to be a reality, and through Him to be the law of His kingdom. Thus it pointed to all the evidence which the Old Testament could possibly afford Him; and, through the Old Testament, it pointed to the dispensation of the Father. Thus, when this most symbolic act was complete, the Almighty Giver of the old Law or covenant was heard saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

“Blood.” in the same way, refers to the special work of Christ Himself—the work of reconciliation and atonement by His death and passion, the realisation of all that the sacrifices and types of the former state of religion had meant. That He was the true sacrifice was proved by the perfection of His life, by the signs and wonders with which He had attracted and convinced His followers, by the fulfilment of prophecy, by the marvels of His teaching, by the amazing events which had happened at the different crises of His life, by His resurrection and ascension, and by the confession of all who knew Him well that He was the Word made flesh, full of grace and truth, and with the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father.

Not by water only.—John the Baptist might have been said to come by water only: he came preaching the washing away of the personal results of sin through turning again to the truth and spirit of the Law; Jesus came by blood also, for His sacrifice atoned for sin as rebellion against God.

And it is the Spirit that beareth witness.—The Holy Spirit had descended on Jesus at His baptism, had proved Him to be the Son of God in every word and act of His life, had raised Him up on the third day, and glorified His body till it could no longer be seen on earth. He had made new men of His disciples on the Day of Pentecost, had laid far and wide the foundations of the new kingdom, and was daily demonstrating Himself in the renewed life in all parts of the world. (Comp. Matthew 3:16; John 1:32-33; John 3:34; Romans 1:4; 1Timothy 3:16; 1Peter 3:18.)

Because the Spirit is truth.—Rather, the truth; the sum and substance of God’s revelation in all its fulness, regarded as personally proceeding from the divine throne, teaching the prophets their message, accompanying the Son on His human pilgrimage, and bringing all things afterwards to the remembrance of His disciples.

(7) For the reasons why this verse cannot be retained in the text, see the Introduction.

(8) The text of this verse is properly, For there are three that bear witness; the Spirit, and the water, and the blood. It is a repetition of 1John 5:6 for the purpose of emphasis. The fact that the three that bear witness are in the masculine gender bears out the interpretation given of 1John 5:6; that they imply the Holy Spirit, the author of the Law, and the author of Redemption. It also explains how 1John 5:7 crept in as a gloss.

And these three agree in one.—Literally, make for the one. The old dispensation, of which the Baptist’s preaching was the last message, had no other moaning than the preparation for the Messiah; the sacrifice of Calvary was the consummation of the Messiah’s mission; the kingdom of the Spirit, starting from that mission, was the seal of it. The three witnesses to Christ have their counterparts in the Christian soul: “baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God;” “the blood of Christ purging our conscience from dead works to serve the living God;” and “the baptism with the Holy Ghost and with fire.”

(9) If we receive the witness of men.—Any human testimony, provided it is logically binding on our understandings, to establish common facts or to prove opinions. (Comp. Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 2Corinthians 13:1; Hebrews 10:28-29.)

The witness of God is greater.—Any message that clearly comes from God is to be accepted by us with a readiness infinitely greater than in the case of mere human testimony. St. John considers the threefold witness from God to convey a certainty which no human evidence could claim.

For this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.—Such witness from God there is: for this three-fold testimony is what He has said to us about His Son. If any should doubt whether the carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth, was in reality God, St. John would refer them to the righteousness and predictions of the Law and the prophets all fulfilled, to the life and death of Christ which spoke for themselves, and to manifest inauguration of the reign of the Spirit. Under these three heads would come all possible evidence for Christian truth.

(10) He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself .—To the real believer the three-fold testimony of God no longer remains merely an outward object of thought to be contemplated and grasped: it has become part of his own nature. The three separate messages have each produced their proper result in him, and he can no more doubt them than he can doubt himself. The water has assured him that he is no longer under the Law, but under grace, and has taught him the necessity of the new birth unto righteousness (John 3:5; Titus 3:5). The blood has shown him that he cannot face God unless his sins are forgiven; and it has enabled him to feel that they are forgiven, that he is being daily cleansed, and that he has in himself the beginnings of eternal life (1John 1:7; 1John 2:2; John 6:53). And the Spirit, which has had part in both these, is daily making him grow in grace (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9).

He that believeth not God hath made him a liar.—The negative contrast, as usual, to strengthen the affirmative. St. John regards the evidence as so certain, that he to whom it is brought and who rejects it seems as if he was boldly asserting that what God had said was false. The sceptical reply that the message did not really come from God at all it is not St. John’s purpose to consider; his object is to warn his friends of the real light in which they ought to regard the opponents of the truth. There should be no complacent condoning; from the point of view of the Christians themselves, such unbelievers were throwing the truth back in God’s face.

(8 c.) What Faith contains (1John 5:11-12).

(11) This is the record.—This is the substance of the witness of God. The Christian creed is here reduced to a very small compass: the gift of eternal life and the dependence of that life upon His Son. Eternal life does not here mean the mere continuance of life after death, whether for good or evil; it is the expression used throughout St. John’s writings for that life in God, thought of without reference to time, which can have no end, which implies heaven and every possible variety of blessedness, and which consists in believing in God the Father and in His Son. Its opposite is not annihilation, but the second death: existence in exclusion from God. (Comp. 1John 2:25; John 17:3; 2Timothy 1:10.)

(12) He that hath the Son hath life.—The emphatic word here is “hath.” As this sentence is addressed to the faithful, there is no need to say “the Son of God.” “Having the Son” is His dwelling in the heart by faith: a conscious difference to human life which transforms its whole character. “Having life” is the birth of the new man within which can never die.

He that hath not the Son of God hath not life.—As this is contemplating unbelievers, the words “of God” are added, to show them what they have lost.

1 John 5:1-4. Whosoever, &c. — The apostle having discoursed in the preceding chapters, on the privileges of the children of God, now adds a further illustration of the great essential parts of their character, in order that those to whom he wrote might be enabled to form a more accurate judgment of their own concern in the matters spoken of. And the scope and sum of the whole first paragraph appears from the conclusion of it, 1 John 5:13. These things have I written to you who believe, &c. Whosoever believeth — Namely, with a living faith, a faith of the divine operation; that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ — The true Messiah, the Son of God, so as to be ready to confess this, even when the confession of it might expose him to imprisonment and martyrdom; is born of God — Is a child of God, not only by adoption, but by regeneration; he is renewed, in a measure at least, after the divine image, and made a partaker of the divine nature. See on John 3:6. And every one that loveth him that begat — That is, God, who begat him again by the influence of his word and Spirit, 1 Peter 1:23; Titus 3:5; loveth him also that is begotten of him — Hath a natural affection to all the children of his heavenly Father, whom he views as his brethren and sisters in Christ, and as joint heirs with him of the heavenly inheritance. By this we know — This is a plain proof; that we love the children of God — Namely, as his children, in that we love God, and keep his commandments — In the first place, and then love his children for his sake. “Grotius, to render the apostle’s reasoning clear, thinks the original should be construed and translated in the following manner: By this we know that we love God, when we love the children of God, and keep his commandments. But not to mention that this construction is forced, it represents the apostle as giving a mark by which we know when we love God; whereas his intention is to show how we may know that we love the children of God in a right manner. Now this was necessary to be showed, since men may love the children of God because they are their relations, or because they are engaged in the same pursuits with themselves, or because they are mutually united by some common bond of friendship. But love, proceeding from these considerations, is not the love of the children of God which he requireth. By what mark, then, can we know that our love to the children of God is of the right sort? Why, saith the apostle, by this we may know that we love the children of God in a right manner, when we love God, and, from that excellent principle, keep his commandments, especially his commandment to love his children, because they bear his image. True Christian love, therefore, is that which proceeds from love to God, from a regard to his will, and which leadeth us to obey all his commandments?” — Macknight. For this is the love of God — The only sure proof of it; that we keep his commandments — That we conscientiously and carefully shun whatever we know he hath forbidden, and that we do whatever he has enjoined; and his commandments are not grievous — To any that are born of God; for, as they are all most equitable, reasonable, and gracious in themselves, and all calculated to promote our happiness in time and in eternity, so fervent love to him whose commandments they are, and to his children, whom we desire to edify by a holy example, will make them pleasant and delightful to us. For — Whereas the great obstruction to the keeping of God’s commandments is the influence of worldly motives and considerations on men’s minds; whatsoever — An expression which implies the most unlimited universality, (the word used by the apostle being παν, the neuter gender, to comprehend all sorts of persons, males and females, old and young, Jews and Gentiles, freemen and slaves,) is born of God, overcometh the world — Conquers whatever it can lay in the way, either to allure or fright the children of God from the line of duty to God, their fellow-creatures, or themselves, or from keeping his commandments. And this is the victory that overcometh the world — The grand means of overcoming it; even our faith — The faith which is the evidence of things not seen, and the subsistence, or anticipation, of things hoped for; a full persuasion especially, 1st, That Christ is the Son of God, (1 John 5:5,) and consequently that all his doctrines, precepts, promises, and threatenings, are indisputably true, and infinitely important; 2d, That there is another life after this awaiting us, wherein we shall be either happy or miserable beyond conception, and for ever; 3d, That Christ has overcome the world for us, (John 16:33,) and hath obtained grace for us to enable us to overcome it; and that we have an interest by faith in all he hath done, suffered, or procured for us. “The power of faith, in enabling men to overcome the temptations laid in their way by the things of the world, and by worldly and carnal men, is finely illustrated by examples. (Hebrews 11.,) which show that before the coming of Christ the children of God, by believing the things which he discovered to them, whether by the light of natural reason or by particular revelations, resisted the greatest temptations, sustained the bitterest sufferings, and performed the most difficult acts of obedience, and thereby obtained a great and lasting fame. But now that Christ hath come, and made the gospel revelation in person and by his apostles, the faith of the children of God, by which they overcome the world, hath for its object all the doctrines and promises contained in that revelation, and particularly the great doctrine which is the foundation of all the rest, namely, that Jesus is the Son of God, and Saviour of the world, as the apostle observes in the following verse.”

5:1-5 True love for the people of God, may be distinguished from natural kindness or party attachments, by its being united with the love of God, and obedience to his commands. The same Holy Spirit that taught the love, will have taught obedience also; and that man cannot truly love the children of God, who, by habit, commits sin or neglects known duty. As God's commands are holy, just, and good rules of liberty and happiness, so those who are born of God and love him, do not count them grievous, but lament that they cannot serve him more perfectly. Self-denial is required, but true Christians have a principle which carries them above all hinderances. Though the conflict often is sharp, and the regenerate may be cast down, yet he will rise up and renew his combat with resolution. But all, except believers in Christ, are enslaved in some respect or other, to the customs, opinions, or interests of the world. Faith is the cause of victory, the means, the instrument, the spiritual armour by which we overcome. In and by faith we cleave to Christ, in contempt of, and in opposition to the world. Faith sanctifies the heart, and purifies it from those sensual lusts by which the world obtains sway and dominion over souls. It has the indwelling Spirit of grace, which is greater than he who dwells in the world. The real Christian overcomes the world by faith; he sees, in and by the life and conduct of the Lord Jesus on earth, that this world is to be renounced and overcome. He cannot be satisfied with this world, but looks beyond it, and is still tending, striving, and pressing toward heaven. We must all, after Christ's example, overcome the world, or it will overcome us to our ruin.Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ - Is the Messiah; the anointed of God. On the meaning of the word Christ, see the notes at Matthew 1:1. Of course, it is meant here that the proposition, that "Jesus is the Christ," should be believed or received in the true and proper sense, in order to furnish evidence that anyone is born of God. Compare the notes at 1 John 4:3. It cannot be supposed that a mere intellectual acknowledgment of the proposition that Jesus is the Messiah is all that is meant, for that is not the proper meaning of the word believe in the Scriptures. That word, in its just sense, implies that the truth which is believed should make its fair and legitimate impression on the mind, or that we should feel and act as if it were true. See the notes at Mark 16:16. If, in the proper sense of the phrase, a man does believe that Jesus "is the Christ," receiving him as he is revealed as the Anointed of God, and a Saviour, it is undoubtedly true that that constitutes him a Christian, for that is what is required of a man in order that he may be saved. See the notes at Acts 8:37.

Is born of God - Or rather, "is begotten of God." See the notes at John 3:3

And everyone that loveth him that begat - That loves that God who has thus begotten those whom he has received as his children, and to whom he sustains the endearing relation of Father.

Loveth him also that is begotten of him - That is, he will love all the true children of God; all Christians. See the notes at 1 John 4:20. The general idea is, that as all Christians are the children of the same Father; as they constitute one family; as they all bear the same image; as they share his favor alike; as they are under the same obligation of gratitude to him, and are bound to promote the same common cause, and are to dwell together in the same home forever, they should therefore love one another. As all the children in a family love their common father, so it should be in the great family of which God is the Head.


1Jo 5:1-21. Who Are the Brethren Especially to Be Loved (1Jo 4:21); Obedience, the Test of Love, Easy through Faith, which Overcomes the World. Last Portion of the Epistle. The Spirit's Witness to the Believer's Spiritual Life. Truths Repeated at the Close: Farewell Warning.

1. Reason why our "brother" (1Jo 4:21) is entitled to such love, namely, because he is "born (begotten) of God": so that if we want to show our love to God, we must show it to God's visible representative.

Whosoever—Greek, "Everyone that." He could not be our "Jesus" (God-Saviour) unless He were "the Christ"; for He could not reveal the way of salvation, except He were a prophet: He could not work out that salvation, except He were a priest: He could not confer that salvation upon us, except He were a king: He could not be prophet, priest, and king, except He were the Christ [Pearson, Exposition of the Creed].

born—Translate, "begotten," as in the latter part of the verse, the Greek being the same. Christ is the "only-begotten Son" by generation; we become begotten sons of God by regeneration and adoption.

every one that loveth him that begat—sincerely, not in mere profession (1Jo 4:20).

loveth him also that is begotten of him—namely, "his brethren" (1Jo 4:21).1Jo 5:1-3 He that loveth God loveth God’s children, and keeth

his commandments.

1Jo 5:4,5 A true faith will enable us to overcome the world.

1Jo 5:6-10 The witnesses of our faith.

1Jo 5:11-13 God hath given to believers eternal life through his Son,

1Jo 5:14-17 and will hear and grant their petitions, made according

to his will.

1Jo 5:18-20 God’s children are distinguished from the world by

abstaining from sin, and by a right knowledge.

1Jo 5:21 A caution against idolatry.

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ; this is not meant of a mere professed, or of a slight and superficial, but of a lively, efficacious, unitive, soul-transforming, and obediential faith in Jesus as the Christ, which is elsewhere made the effect of the regenerating power and grace of God, John 1:12,13. And as nothing can be more connatural to such a heaven-born faith, than the loving of him that hath begotten us to it; so nothing can be more certainly consequent and agreeable, than the loving of them too who are begotten also of the same Father, viz. with a correspondent love to the more excellent characters and image of God upon them, than are upon other men.

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ,.... Or the Messiah that was prophesied of old, was long promised to the Jews, and whom they expected; there was a person spoken of in the writings of the Old Testament under this character, Psalm 2:2; and the Jews looked for him; and Jesus of Nazareth is he, as appears by all the characteristics of the Messiah in prophecy being found upon him: this the Jews deny, but is the grand article of faith embraced by the apostles and followers of Jesus, and is of very great importance; he that denies it is a liar, and he that does not believe it shall die in his sins: the word signifies "anointed", and includes all the offices of the Son of God, to which he was anointed, as prophet, priest, and King; so that to believe him to be the Christ, is to believe him to be that prophet Moses said should come, and who has declared the whole mind and will of his Father; and that he is that priest that should arise after the order of Melchizedek, and make atonement for sin, and intercession for transgressors; and that he is that King whom God has set over his holy hill of Zion, whose laws are to be obeyed, and his commands observed: but to believe that Jesus is the Christ, or the Messiah, is not barely to give an assent to this truth, or to acknowledge it; so the devils themselves have done, Luke 4:41; and whole nations of men, multitudes of which were never born of God; it is not a mere profession of it before men, or an idle, inoperative faith, which is destitute of love to Christ, and obedience to him; but whereas his work and business, as the Christ of God, was to bring in an everlasting righteousness, to procure the remission of sin, and to make peace and reconciliation for it, and to obtain eternal salvation; true faith in him as the Messiah is a believing with the heart unto righteousness, or a looking to, and trusting in the righteousness of Christ for justification; and a dealing with his blood for pardon and cleansing, under a sense of guilt and filth; and a laying hold on his atoning sacrifice for the expiation of sin, and peace with God; and a reception of him as the only Saviour and Redeemer, or a dependence on him for life and salvation; and which faith shows itself in love to him, and in a professed subjection to his Gospel, and cheerful submission to his ordinances: and every such person

is born of God; is a partaker of the divine nature; has Christ formed, and every grace of the Spirit implanted in him, among which faith in Christ is a considerable one; and such an one in consequence is openly a child and heir of God, wherefore, to be born of God is an instance of great grace, and an high honour and privilege, and of the greatest moment and importance. Regeneration is not owing to the power and will of man, but to the abundant mercy and good will of God, and is an instance of his rich mercy, great love, and free favour, and commands love again:

and everyone that loveth him that begat; that is, God the Father, who has begotten them again to a lively hope, according to his abundant mercy and sovereign will; and as he is their Father that has begotten them, they cannot but love him: and such an one

loveth him also that is begotten of him; not only Jesus Christ, who by nature is the only begotten of the Father; for those who know God to be their Father by adoption and regeneration, will love Christ, who is the Son of God by nature; see John 8:42; but also every regenerate person, all that are born of God; since they are the children of the same Father with them, belong to the same household and family, and bear the image and likeness of their heavenly Father on them.

Whosoever {1} believeth that Jesus is the {a} Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth {b} him also that is begotten of him.

(1) He advances in the same argument, showing how both those loves come to us, from that love with which God loves us, that is, by Jesus our mediator laid hold on by faith, in whom we are made the children of God, and do love the Father from whom we are begotten, and also our brothers who are begotten with us.

(a) Is the true Messiah.

(b) By one, he means all the faithful.

1 John 5:1 shows that the believer, as born of God, necessarily loves his brother. The two elements of the Christian life, faith and love, are represented in their real unity.

πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Χριστός] refers back to chap. 1 John 4:15; comp. 1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:2; instead of ὁ Χριστός, the apostle in 1 John 5:5 puts: ὁ νἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ; comp. 1 John 3:23, from which, however, it does not follow that ὁ Χριστός and ὁ υἱὸς τοῦς Θεοῦ are to the apostle exactly identical ideas, but certainly that he only is Christ to him, who is also Son of God. That John says here ὁ Χριστός, is occasioned by the antithesis to the false teachers; comp. on this Weiss, p. 155 ff. Grotius erroneously explains: qui credere se ostendit: it is not the manifestation of faith, but faith itself, that is the subject.

ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ γεγέννηται] for faith is not a human, but a divine work in us.[292] This first sentence forms the premiss from which the apostle draws his conclusion. He does not specially emphasize the self-evident intermediate thought: Πᾶς Ὁ ΓΕΓΕΝΝΗΜΈΝΟς ἘΚ ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ ἈΓΑΠᾷ ΤῸΝ ΘΕΌΝ, but presupposing it,[293] he says: ΚΑῚ Πᾶς Ὁ ἈΓΑΠῶΝ ΤῸΝ ΓΕΝΝΉΣΑΝΤΑ, ἈΓΑΠᾷ ΚΑῚ ΤῸΝ ΓΕΓΕΝΝΗΜΈΝΟΝ ἘΞ ΑὐΤΟῦ] Ὁ ΓΕΓΕΝΝ. ἘΞ ΑὐΤΟῦ is not “Christ” (Augustine, Hilarius, a Lapide, etc.), but “the believer;” Calvin correctly: Sub numero singulari omnes fideles Ap. designat. Est autem argumentum ex communi naturae ordine sumptum. By the last thought Calvin rightly indicates why the apostle here says “ΤῸΝ ΓΕΝΝΉΣΑΝΤΑ” instead of ΤῸΝ ΘΕΌΝ, and “ΤῸΝ ΓΕΓΕΝΝΗΜΈΝΟΝ ἘΞ ΑὐΤΟῦ” instead of ΤῸΝ ἈΔΕΛΦΌΝ.

is not subjunctive “let him love,” but indicative: “he loves;” John is here expressing not an exhortation, but a fact.

[292] The relationship between being born of God and faith is not to be expressed thus, that first the latter and then the former follows; but neither is it first the former and then the latter, but being born of God happens in this way, that God works faith in man; “the new birth is,” as it runs in the Mecklenburg Catechism, “the working and gift of faith.” The πιστεύειν, which begins with the gift of πίστις, is therefore the result, and hence also the token, of being born of God, as the ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην (chap. 1 John 2:29) and the ἀγαπᾷν (chap. 1 John 3:7).

[293] That this thought is presupposed by John, which Ebrard and Braune erroneously deny, is proved by the fact that John does not say here: ὁ ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ γεγεννημένος, but instead of it: ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὸν γεννήσαντα.

1 John 5:1-5. What makes the Commandments of God easy. “Every one that hath faith that Jesus is the Christ hath been begotten of God; and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him that hath been begotten of Him. Herein we get to know that we love the children of God, whenever we love God, and do His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we should observe His commandments; and His commandments are not heavy, because everything that hath been begotten of God conquereth the world. And this is the conquest that conquered the world—our faith. Who is he that conquereth the world but he that hath faith that Jesus is the Son of God?”

1–12. Faith is the Source of Love, the Victory over the World and the Possession of Life

1. Whosoever believeth] Or, Every one that believeth: the construction is identical with that in 1 John 2:29, 1 John 3:3-4, 1 John 4:2-3; 1 John 4:7, and in the second half of this verse. See concluding note on 1 John 3:4. The verb ‘believe’, which occurs only 3 times in the rest of the Epistle, occurs 6 times in these first 13 verses. After the third verse the word ‘love’, which has been the keyword of the last two chapters, ceases to appear. With the first sentence comp. John 1:12.

The verse is a couple of syllogisms condensed into an irregular Sorites.

Every one who believes the Incarnation is a child of God.

Every child of God loves its Father.

… Every believer in the Incarnation loves God.

Every believer in the Incarnation loves God.

Every one who loves God loves the children of God.

… Every believer in the Incarnation loves the children of God.

To believe that Jesus is the Christ is to believe that One who was known as a man fulfilled a known and Divine commission; that He who was born and was crucified is the Anointed, the Messiah of Israel, the Saviour of the world. To believe this is to accept both the Old and the New Testaments; it is to believe that Jesus is what He claimed to be, One who is equal with the Father, and as such demands of every believer the absolute surrender of self to Him. Belief without love is, as S. Augustine remarks, the belief of a demon (James 2:19).

is born of God] Better, in order to be uniform with what follows, is begotten of God: see on 1 John 5:18.

him also that is begotten of him] Any believer. Here again the verb (ἀγαπᾷ) may be either the indicative or the hortative subjunctive: as in 1 John 4:19, the indicative is preferable; ‘loveth’, not ‘let him love’.

This verse shews that 1 John 4:20 ought not to be interpreted to mean that through love of the visible brother we ascend to the love of the invisible God. On the contrary the love of the Father is the source of love of His children. “That is the natural order; that, we may say it confidently, is the universal order” (Maurice).

1 John 5:1. Πᾶς, every one) The scope and design of this paragraph is plain from the conclusion, 1 John 5:13.—καὶ πᾶς, and every one) He who does not love his brother, does not love God: ch. 1 John 4:20. He who loves God, loves his brother also. With great elegance the apostle so places the mention of love in this part of the discussion, that faith, which is the beginning and end of the whole discussion, should be referred to (regard should be had to faith) at the close.—καὶ) also. Στοργὴ, spiritual love, is great towards any brother. Where there is aversion, the new life is immediately injured.—τὸν γεγεννημένον, him who is begotten) An Enthymem, the conclusion of which is: He that believes delights in the love of all who love God; and in turn loves them: 1 John 5:2.

Verses 1-12. - Faith is the source of love. Verse 1. - The verse is a sorites. To believe in the Incarnation involves birth from God. To be born of God involves loving God. To love God involves loving his children. Therefore to believe in the Incarnation involves loving God's children. Τὸν γεγεννημένον ἐξ αὐτοῦ is not to be understood as meaning Christ to the exclusion of Christians; it means any son of God, as the next verse shows. 1 John 5:1Whosoever believeth (πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων)

Lit., every one that believeth. For the characteristic form of expression see on 1 John 3:3.

The Christ

See on Matthew 1:1, and see on 1 John 1:7.

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