1 John 5:11
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
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1 John 5:11-12. And this is the record Η μαρτυρια, the testimony; the sum of God’s testimony concerning his Son, and salvation through him:

this is the thing testified by the six witnesses — the three in heaven, and the three on earth; that God hath given to us — Hath sincerely and freely offered to mankind in general, and hath actually conferred on true believers in particular; eternal life — Namely, a title to it, in their justification and adoption, Titus 3:7; Romans 8:17; a meetness for it, in their new creation or sanctification, Colossians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:22; Ephesians 4:24; and a foretaste or earnest of it, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, Ephesians 1:14; giving them to enjoy communion with the Father and the Son, 1 John 1:3; and through that, as it were, to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and have their conversation in heaven, Ephesians 2:6; Php 3:20. And this life is in his Son — Whose doctrine hath revealed it; whose merits have procured it; whose Spirit hath imparted the beginning of it; and whose example will conduct us to the complete possession of it. In other words, by whom it is purchased, and in whom it is treasured up; so that he has all the springs, and the fulness of it, in himself, to communicate to his body, the church, first in grace and then in glory. “Though the apostle, in what goes before, has spoken particularly of the three in heaven, and of the three on earth, who bear witness continually, he deferred mentioning, till now, what it is they are witnessing; that by introducing it last of all, and after so much preparation, it might make the stronger impression on the minds of his readers.” He that hath the Son — That hath the saving knowledge of him communicated by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, Ephesians 1:17; Matthew 11:27; that hath living faith in him, working by love, Galatians 2:20; Galatians 5:6; and hereby hath a real interest in him, as a wife hath in her husband, Romans 7:4; and vital union with him, such as a branch hath with the tree in which it grows, John 15:4; or such as a member of the human body has with the head thereof, 1 Corinthians 12:27; Romans 12:5; and who, in consequence of that interest in him, and union with him, hath a conformity to him; hath in him the mind that was in Christ, and walks as he walked, Php 2:5; or he, to whom Christ is made of God wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; see on 1 Corinthians 1:30; such a one in these respects having the Son, hath life — Hath spiritual life here, and is entitled to, made in a degree meet for, and has an earnest of, eternal life hereafter. But he that hath not the Son of God — Hath not that interest in his merits, that union with him through the Spirit, that conformity, more or less, to his image: he, whom Christ has not enlightened as his wisdom, justified as his righteousness, renewed as his sanctification; whatever he may profess, whatever orthodoxy of sentiment, regularity of conduct, or form of godliness; hath not life — Hath neither spiritual life here, being still alienated from the life of God, Ephesians 4:18; nor is in the way to eternal life hereafter. He hath no part or lot therein.

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.And this is the record - This is the sum, or the amount, of the testimony (μαρτυρία marturia) which God has given respecting him.

That God hath given to us eternal life - Has provided, through the Saviour, the means of obtaining eternal life. See the notes at John 5:24; John 17:2-3.

And this life is in his Son - Is treasured up in him, or is to be obtained through him. See the John 1:4; John 11:25; John 14:6 notes; Colossians 3:3 note.

11. hath given—Greek, aorist: "gave" once for all. Not only "promised" it.

life is in his Son—essentially (Joh 1:4; 11:25; 14:6); bodily (Col 2:9); operatively (2Ti 1:10) [Lange in Alford]. It is in the second Adam, the Son of God, that this life is secured to us, which, if left to depend on us, we should lose, like the first Adam.

His testimony, that this is his Son and the Christ, imports so much, that eternal life is in him, as the source and fountain of it; so that he gives it to us in no other way than in and by him.

And this is the record,.... The sum and substance of it, with respect to the person of Christ, and the security of salvation in him, who is the true God, and eternal life:

that God hath given to us eternal life; which is a life of glory and happiness hereafter; in the present state is unseen, but will in the world to come be a life of vision, free from all the sorrows and imperfections of this; and will be of the utmost perfection and pleasure, and for ever. This is a pure free grace gift of God the Father, proceeding from his sovereigns good will and pleasure, and which he gives to all his chosen ones, for they are ordained unto eternal life; to as many as he has given to his Son; to all that are redeemed by his blood, and are brought to believe in him: to these he gave it in his Son before the world began; and to the same in time he gives the right unto it, the meetness for it, and the pledge and earnest of it; and will hereafter give them the thing itself, the whole of it, to be possessed and enjoyed by them in person, to all eternity.

And this life is in his Son: not only the purpose and promise of it, but that itself; Christ asked it of his Father in the covenant of peace, and he gave it to him, that he might have it in himself for all his people; and here it is safe and secure, it is hid with Christ in God, it is bound up in the bundle of life with him; and because he lives, this life will never be lost, or they come short of it.

{12} And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

(12) Now at length he shows what this testimony is that is confirmed with so many witnesses: that is, that life or everlasting happiness is the gift of God, which is the Son, and proceeds from him to us, who by faith are joined with him, so that without him, life is nowhere to be found.

states in what way that witness of God shows itself as internal to the believer; to him who, by believing, has the objective witness of God in himself, it is no longer purely objective, but he experiences it in himself as a divine power, or as the ζωὴ αἰώνιος which God has given him

1 John 5:11 states in what way that witness of God shows itself as internal to the believer; to him who, by believing, has the objective witness of God in himself, it is no longer purely objective, but he experiences it in himself as a divine power, or as the ζωὴ αἰώνιος which God has given him.[318] Hence the apostle says: “And this is the record, ὅτι ζωὴν αἰώνιον ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ Θεός.” With ἩΜῖΝ, ΤΟῖς ΠΕΠΙΣΤΕΥΚΌΣΙΝ is to be mentally supplied.

ΖΩῊ ΑἸΏΝΙΟς is not “the hope of eternal life” (Bede: dedit nobis vitam aeternam, sed adhuc in terra peregrinantibus in spe, quam daturus est in coelis ad se pervenientibus in re), but it is this itself, the divine life, of which the believer is even here a partaker; what the believer hopes for, that he has already.

ζωὴν αἰώνιον, as the principal idea, is put first.

ἜΔΩΚΕΝ means: “he gave;” it is not = promisit (Socinus), nor does it express merely the firmitatem et certitudinem promissionis divinae (a Lapide).

Myrberg incorrectly finds the import of the μαρτυρία of God stated in ὍΤΙ Κ.Τ.Λ., which is in opposition to the context. The second part of the verse: ΚΑῚ ΑὝΤΗ Ἡ ΖΩῊ ἘΝ Τῷ ΥἹῷ ΑὐΤΟῦ ἘΣΤΙΝ, which is not dependent on ὍΤΙ (Baumgarten-Crusius), but forms a co-ordinate principal clause, gives a further explanation in regard to ΖΩῊ ΑἸΏΝΙΟς. Several commentators find this thought expressed in these words, that we possess the ΖΩῊ ΑἸΏΝ. in the Son, i.e. in fellowship with the Son; but this the words do not say; they rather state where the ζωὴ αἰών., which God gave to believers, had its original place, namely, in the Son; comp. John 1:4. Frommann (p. 405): “the eternal life of which the Christian is by faith a partaker, is one with the life that dwells in Christ” (so also Düsterdieck, etc.). Braune incorrectly separates ΑὝΤΗ from Ἡ ΖΩΉ, as he puts ἘΣΤΊΝ between them in the thought, and refers ΑὝΤΗ to the idea ΑἸΏΝΙΟς: “and this … namely, ΑἸΏΝΙΟς … is the life,” etc.

[318] According to Braune, by ὅτι the import of the record is meant to be stated; but then John would be speaking of a different record from that which he mentioned before.

1 John 5:11. The Testimony of the Incarnation. cf. 1 John 1:2. ἔδωκεν, “gave,” aorist referring to a definite historic act, the Incarnation.

11. And this is the record] Better, as R.V., And the witness is this, as in 1 John 5:9 : this is what the external witness of God, when it is internally appropriated by the believer, consists in; viz. the Divine gift of eternal life.

eternal life] See on 1 John 1:2 and on John 3:36; John 5:24. ‘Hath given’ is more literally gave; but perhaps this is a case in which the English perfect may represent the Greek aorist. But at any rate ‘gave’ must not be weakened into ‘offered’, still less into ‘promised’. The believer already possesses eternal life.

this life is in his Son] This is a new independent statement, coordinate with the first clause: it is not, like the second clause, dependent upon the first. Eternal life has its seat and source in the Son, who is the ‘Prince’ or ‘Author of life’ (Acts 3:15): see on John 1:4; John 5:26.

Verse 11. - "And the substance of the internal testimony is this - we are conscious of the Divine gift of eternal life, and this we have in the Son of God." St. John's ζωὴ αἰώνιος is not "everlasting life:" the idea of endlessness may be included in it, but it is not the main one. The distinction between eternity and time is one which the human mind feels to be real and necessary. But we are apt to lose ourselves when we try to think of eternity. We admit that it is not time, that it is the very antithesis of time, and yet we attempt to measure it while we declare it to be immeasurable. We make it simply a very long time. The main idea of "eternal life" in St. John's writings has no direct reference to time. Eternal life is possessed already by believers; it is not a thing of the future (John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:47, 54; John 17:3). It is that life in God which includes all blessedness, and which is not broken by physical death (John 11:25). Its opposite is exclusion from God. 1 John 5:11Hath given (ἔδωκεν)

The aorist tense, gave. So Rev. The reference is to the historic fact of the gift. So 1 John 3:23 : "We should love one another as He gave (ἔδωκεν) us commandment." 1 John 3:24 : "We know that He abideth in us by the Spirit which He gave (ἔδωκεν) us." On the other hand, 1 John 3:1 : "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed (δέδωκεν) upon us." The gift of love abides in the fact that we are now children of God (1 John 3:2).

Eternal life (ζωὴν αἰώνιον)

Compare the phrase τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον the life, the eternal life (1 John 1:2), and ἡ αἰώνιος ζωὴ the eternal life (John 17:3). For the distinction between the phrases see on 1 John 1:2. The phrase here, without either article, merely defines the character of the life.

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