1 John 5:10
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 John 5:10. He that believeth on the Son of God, with such a faith, hath the testimony in himself — Namely, knows by experience, that what God hath testified concerning his Son, and salvation in and through him, is indeed true, being already saved by him from the guilt and power of sin, into the favour and image of God, and a state of communion with him. He knows by experience, that Jesus is the Son of God in such a sense as to be an all- sufficient Saviour, and that he came by cleansing water, and by atoning blood, having received justification through the latter, and sanctification through the former. Or, which is to the same purpose, he hath received the testimony mentioned 1 John 5:11. For, as in that verse, “the witness, by a usual metonymy, is put for the thing witnessed, and the thing witnessed being, that God hath given us eternal life through his Son, he who believeth on the Son of God, may justly be said to have eternal life, the thing witnessed, in himself; because, by his faith on the Son, being begotten of God, he hath, in the dispositions of God’s children communicated to him, eternal life begun in him; which is both a pledge and a proof that God, in due time, will completely bestow on him eternal life through his Son.” — Macknight. Add to the above, that eternal life is begun in him, and that God will, in due time, bestow on him the full enjoyment of it, he hath the testimony of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the Father having lifted up the light of his countenance upon him, and thereby put joy and gladness into his heart, Psalm 4:6-7; Christ dwelling in his heart by faith, and being precious to his soul, Ephesians 3:17; 1 Peter 2:7; and the Holy Ghost, as a Spirit of adoption, witnessing with his spirit that he is a child of God, and producing in him love, joy, and peace, Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 5:22. And he hath the witness of the Spirit in himself, mentioned 1 John 5:8, or of the inspired writings, which bear witness to the genuineness of his religion, and his title to eternal life, and which are the food of his soul, the sweetness of which he tastes, and is nourished thereby; tastes the good word of God, Hebrews 6:5. He hath the witness of the water in himself, having been baptized with water, and had the sign, and also the thing signified thereby, the regenerating grace of God; and the witness of the blood, having received the atonement, and pardon through it, and taking all opportunities of receiving the Lord’s supper, when the bread that he breaks is to him the communion of Christ’s body; and the wine which he drinks, the communion of his blood; and he feeds on Christ in his heart by faith, with thanksgiving. On the other hand, he that believeth not God — As to his testimony concerning Christ, when at his baptism, and on the mount of transfiguration, he declared him to be his Son by a voice from heaven; and when, after his death, he demonstrated him to be his Son by raising him from the dead; hath made him a liar — That is, by refusing to believe these testimonies, he hath acted as if he judged God to be a liar, or false witness. Some MSS. and ancient versions, particularly the Vulgate, instead of He that believeth not God, have, He that believeth not the Son; which Grotius and Bengelius think the true reading. But, like most of the various readings, this makes no alteration in the sense of the passage.

5:9-12 Nothing can be more absurd than the conduct of those who doubt as to the truth of Christianity, while in the common affairs of life they do not hesitate to proceed on human testimony, and would deem any one out of his senses who declined to do so. The real Christian has seen his guilt and misery, and his need of such a Saviour. He has seen the suitableness of such a Saviour to all his spiritual wants and circumstances. He has found and felt the power of the word and doctrine of Christ, humbling, healing, quickening, and comforting his soul. He has a new disposition, and new delights, and is not the man that he formerly was. Yet he finds still a conflict with himself, with sin, with the flesh, the world, and wicked powers. But he finds such strength from faith in Christ, that he can overcome the world, and travel on towards a better. Such assurance has the gospel believer: he has a witness in himself, which puts the matter out of doubt with him, except in hours of darkness or conflict; but he cannot be argued out of his belief in the leading truths of the gospel. Here is what makes the unbeliever's sin so awful; the sin of unbelief. He gives God the lie; because he believes not the record that God gave of his Son. It is in vain for a man to plead that he believes the testimony of God in other things, while he rejects it in this. He that refuses to trust and honour Christ as the Son of God, who disdains to submit to his teaching as Prophet, to rely on his atonement and intercession as High Priest, or to obey him as King, is dead in sin, under condemnation; nor will any outward morality, learning, forms, notions, or confidences avail him.He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself - The evidence that Jesus is the Son of God. Compare the notes at Romans 8:16. This cannot refer to any distinct and immediate "revelation" of that fact, that Jesus is the Christ, to the soul of the individual, and is not to be understood as independent of the external evidence of that truth, or as superseding the necessity of that evidence; but the "witness" here referred to is the fruit of all the evidence, external and internal, on the heart, producing this result; that is, there is the deepest conviction of the truth that Jesus is the Son of God. There is the evidence derived from the fact that the soul has found peace by believing on him; from the fact that the troubles and anxieties of the mind on account of sin have been removed by faith in Christ; from the new views of God and heaven which have resulted from faith in the Lord Jesus; from the effect of this in disarming death of its terrors; and from the whole influence of the gospel on the intellect and the affections - on the heart and the life. These things constitute a mass of evidence for the truth of the Christian religion, whose force the believer cannot resist, and make the sincere Christian ready to sacrifice anything rather than his religion; ready to go to the stake rather than to renounce his Saviour. Compare the notes at 1 Peter 3:15.

He that believeth not God hath made him a liar - Compare the notes at 1 John 1:10.

Because he believeth not the record ... - The idea is, that in various ways - at his baptism, at his death, by the influences of the Holy Spirit, by the miracles of Jesus, etc. - God had become a "witness" that the Lord Jesus was sent by him as a Saviour, and that to doubt or deny this partook of the same character as doubting or denying any other testimony; that is, it was practically charging him who bore the testimony with falsehood.

10. hath the witness—of God, by His Spirit (1Jo 5:8).

in himself—God's Spirit dwelling in him and witnessing that "Jesus is the Lord," "the Christ," and "the Son of God" (1Jo 5:1, 5). The witness of the Spirit in the believer himself to his own sonship is not here expressed, but follows as a consequence of believing the witness of God to Jesus' divine Sonship.

believeth not God—credits not His witness.

made him a liar—a consequence which many who virtually, or even avowedly, do not believe, may well startle back from as fearful blasphemy and presumption (1Jo 1:10).

believeth not the record—Greek, "believeth not IN the record, or witness." Refusal to credit God's testimony ("believeth not God") is involved in refusal to believe IN (to rest one's trust in) Jesus Christ, the object of God's record or testimony. "Divine "faith" is an assent unto something as credible upon the testimony of God. This is the highest kind of faith; because the object hath the highest credibility, because grounded upon the testimony of God, which is infallible" [Pearson, Exposition of the Creed]. "The authority on which we believe is divine; the doctrine which we follow is divine" [Leo].

gave—Greek, "hath testified, and now testifies."

of—concerning.

i.e. If he truly believe, he hath the effectual impress of this testimony on his own soul; if not, he gives God the lie, as we do to any one whose testimony we believe not. See Poole on "John 3:33".

He that believeth on the Son of God,.... As a divine person who came in the flesh, and obeyed the law, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and obtained life and salvation for men: he that with the heart believes in him for righteousness, and eternal life, he being the Son of God, truly and properly God, and so able to save all that believe in him,

hath the witness in himself; of the need he stands in of Christ, and of the suitableness, fulness, and excellency of him; the Spirit of God enlightening him into the impurity of his nature, his impotence to do anything spiritually good, his incapacity to atone for sin, and the insufficiency of his righteousness to justify him before God; and convincing him that nothing but the blood of the Son of God can cleanse him from sin, and only his sacrifice can expiate it, and his righteousness justify him from it, and that without him he can do nothing; testifying also to the efficacy of his blood, the completeness of his sacrifice and satisfaction, the excellency of his righteousness, and the energy of his grace and strength: so he comes to have such a witness in himself, that if ten thousand arguments were ever so artfully formed, in favour of the purity of human nature, the power of man's free will, and the sufficiency of his righteousness, and against the sacrifice and righteousness of Christ, the dignity of his person, as the Son of God, which gives virtue to his blood, sacrifice, and righteousness, they would all signify nothing to him, he would be proof against them. And such an one very readily receives into him the testimony God gives of his Son, of the glory and excellency of his person, and retains it in him. The Alexandrian copy and the Vulgate Latin version read, "hath the witness of God in him"; to which the Ethiopic, version agrees, and confirm the last observation:

he that believeth not God; does not receive his testimony concerning his Son: the Alexandrian copy, and two of Stephens's, and the Vulgate Latin version read, "he that believeth not the Son"; and the Ethiopic version, his Son; and the Arabic version, "the Son of God"; and so is a direct antithesis to the phrase in the former clause of the verse:

hath made him a liar; not the Son, but God, as the Arabic version renders it, "hath made God himself a liar"; who is the God, of truth, and cannot lie; it is impossible he should; and as nothing can be, more contumelious and reproachful to the being and nature of God, so nothing can more fully expose and aggravate the sin of unbelief, with respect to Christ, as the Son of God:

because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son; at the times and places before observed.

{11} He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

(11) He proves the sureness of the earthly witness by every man's conscience having that testimony in itself, whose conscience he says cannot be deceived because it agrees with the heavenly testimony which the Father gives of the Son: for otherwise the Father must be a liar, if the conscience which agrees and assents to the Father, should lie.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 John 5:10. God’s testimony of His Son has for its object faith in the Son of God. Hence: “He that believeth on the Son hath the witness in himself.

τὴν μαρτυρίαν, i.e. the witness of God which was previously spoken of; ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ, i.e. the witness is no longer merely external to him, but by virtue of his faith he has it in (not as Luther translates: “with”) himself; the external has become internal to him. This thought forms the transition to that contained in 1 John 5:11. The believer, namely, has the objective witness in himself, inasmuch as he experiences in his soul the power of the truth attested by God; yet τὴν μαρτυρίαν must not here be understood—as in 1 John 5:11—of this operation itself (contrary to Düsterdieck). In the interpretation: “he accepts the witness,”—for which, corresponding to the ἔχει, it should at least be put: “he has accepted it,”—the preposition ἐν does not receive due justice.

In the following negative sentence, by which the thought expressed is strengthened and extended, we must supply with τῷ Θεῷ (instead of which τῷ υἱῷ is not to be read), “τῷ μεμαρτυρηκότι.

ψευστὴν πεποίηκεν αὐτόν] see chap. 1 John 1:10. In his unbelief, the witness of God is regarded by him as a lie, and God, who has given it, therefore as a liar.

This thought is confirmed by the following words: “for he believeth not (has not become a believer) in the record which God has given (as a permanent record) of His Son.

With the participle πιστεύων, which describes a general class (not a single particular individual), μή is used; but with the finite verb πεπίστευκεν it is οὐ, because thereby the πιστεύειν of those that belong to that class is exactly and directly denied (comp. chap. 1 John 2:4, 1 John 3:10; 1 John 3:14, 1 John 4:8).[317]

[317] It is different in John 3:18, where ὅτι μὴ πεπίστευκεν follows ὁ μὴ πιστεύων, but as the reason for ἤδη κέκριται, and where, therefore, it is considered as the reason of the condemnation operating in the mind of the judge; differently Winer, p. 420 ff.; VII. p. 441 ff. The distinction lies in this, that by ψευστὴν πεποίηκεν αὐτόν it is an act of the subject, but by κέκριται the action of the judge (i.e. of God) that is indicated.

1 John 5:10. A subtle and profound analysis of the exercise of soul which issues in assured faith. Three stages: (1) “Believe God” (πιστεύειν τῷ Θεῷ, credere Deo), accept His testimony concerning His Son, i.e., not simply His testimony at the Baptism (Matthew 3:17) but the historic manifestation of God in Christ, the Incarnation. God speaks not by words but by acts, and to set aside His supreme act, and all the forces which it has set in operation is to “make Him a liar” by treating His historic testimony as unworthy of credit. (2) “Believe in the Son of God” (πιστεύειν εἰς τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, credere in Filium Dei), make the believing sell-surrender which is the reasonable and inevitable consequence of contemplating the Incarnation and recognising the wonder of it. (3) The Inward Testimony (τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἐν αὐτῷ, testimonium in seipso). “Fecisti nos ad te, et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te” (Aug.). The love of Jesus satisfies the deepest need of our nature. When He is welcomed, the soul rises up and greets Him as “all its salvation and all its desire,” and the testimony is no longer external in history but an inward experience (cf. note on 1 John 4:9 : ἐν ἡμῖν), and therefore indubitable. These three stages are, according to the metaphor of Revelation 3:20, (1) hearing the Saviour’s voice, (2) opening the door, (3) communion.

10. He that believeth on the Son of God] For the first time in this Epistle we have the full phrase ‘to believe on’, of which S. John is so fond in his Gospel, where it occurs nearly 40 times. Elsewhere in N.T. it occurs only about 10 times. It expresses the strongest confidence and trust; faith moves towards and reposes on its object. Whereas ‘to believe a person’ (πιστεύειν τινί) need mean no more than to believe what he says (1 John 4:1), ‘to believe on or in a person’ (πιστεύειν εἴς τινα) means to have full trust in his character.

hath the witness] Some authorities add ‘of God,’ which is right as an interpretation, though not as part of the text. He has it as an abiding possession (John 5:38; Hebrews 10:34): ‘hath’ does not mean merely ‘he accepts it’. Comp. ‘The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God’ (Romans 8:16); ‘God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father’ (Galatians 4:6).

in himself] According to the revised reading, in him. Wiclif has ‘in him’, Luther, bei ihm: Tyndale added the ‘self’, and most English Versions have followed him. But ‘in him’ in this context cannot mean anything but ‘in himself’. The external witness faithfully accepted becomes internal certitude. Our faith in the Divinity of Christ attests its own Divine origin, for we could not have obtained it otherwise than from God. “The human mind is made for truth, and so rests in truth, as it cannot rest in falsehood. When then it once becomes possessed of a truth, what is to dispossess it? but this is to be certain; therefore once certitude, always certitude. If certitude in any matter be the termination of all doubt or fear about its truth, and an unconditional conscious adherence to it, it carries with it an inward assurance, strong though implicit, that it shall never fail” (J. H. Newman).

he that believeth not God] He that has not even enough faith to induce him to believe what God says (see first note on this verse). There are great diversities of reading here; ‘God’, ‘the Son’, ‘the Son of God’, ‘His Son’, ‘Jesus Christ’: of these ‘God’ (אBKLP) is certainly to be preferred. The others have arisen from a wish to make ‘he that believeth not’ more exactly balance ‘he that believeth’. But, as we have repeatedly seen, S. John’s antitheses seldom balance exactly. Yet it is by no means impossible that all five are wrong, and that we ought simply to read ‘He that believeth not hath made Him a liar’: comp. John 3:18, of which this verse seems to be an echo. In ‘he that believeth not’, the case is stated quite generally and indefinitely (ὁ μὴ πιστεύων): the Apostle is not pointing at some one person who was known as not believing (ὁ οὐ πιστεύων); comp. 1 John 3:10; 1 John 3:14, 1 John 4:8; 1 John 4:20, 1 John 5:12.

hath made him a liar] See on 1 John 1:10.

believeth not the record that God gave] Better, as R.V., hath not believed in the witness that God hath borne: see on 1 John 1:2. The perfect in both cases indicates a permanent result: he has been and remains an unbeliever in the witness which God has given and continually supplies concerning His Son. ‘To believe in (on) the witness’ occurs nowhere else. See on 1 John 3:23.

1 John 5:10. Ἐν ἑαυτῷ,[23] in himself) in the inner man.

[23] The reading ἐν αὐτῷ is preferred by the decision of Ed. 1 and 2. The sense remains the same.—E. B.

B (judging from silence of collators) and Rec. Text support ἐν ἑαυτῷ: so Lachm. A and (according to Lachm.) C support αὐτῷ: so Tisch.—E.

Verse 10. - Hath the witness in him. This rendering is to be preferred to either "in Him," i.e., God, or" in himself." The former is obscure in meaning; the latter, though probably correct as an interpretation, is inaccurate as a translation, for the better reading is αὐτῷ, not ἑαυτῷ. But ἐν αὐτῷ may be reflexive. The believer in the Incarnation has the Divine testimony in his heart, and it abides with him as an additional source of evidence, supplementing and confirming the external evidence. In its daily experience, the soul finds ever fresh proof that the declaration, "This is my beloved Son," is true. But even without this internal corroboration, the external evidence suffices, and he who rejects it makes God a liar; for it is God who presents the evidence, and presents it as sufficient and true. The second half of the verse is parenthetical, to show that the unbeliever, though be has no witness in himself, is not therefore excused. In verse 11 we return to the main proposition at the beginning of verse 10. 1 John 5:10On the Son of God

Faith in the person of Christ, not merely in the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.

God

Also personal. To believe God, is to believe the message which comes from Him. See on John 1:12.

Hath made - hath believed (πρποίηκεν - πεπίστευκεν)

The perfect tense marks the two results expressed by the verbs as connected with a past act. The act perpetuates itself in the present condition of the unbeliever.

Believed on the witness (πεπίστευκεν εἰς τὴν μαρτυρίαν)

The phrase occurs only here. See on John 1:12. In one other case to believe on is used with an object not directly personal, πιστεύετε εἰς τὸ φῶς; but the reference is clearly to the personal Christ as the Light of the World (John 8:12).

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