6 This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Part of the Law the Jews were required to perform to be free from sin was the cleansing ritual (Numbers 19). A special water would be given to them to wash themselves and their garments after coming in contact with, or being part of something God commanded as unclean. The ritual of cleaning oneself with this water made the person who was cleansing aware of their faults. It caused them to look inwardly and outwardly at their lives to see their sin. The water made them clean to stand before the Lord and the sacrifice was the means by which their sins were forgiven.
Blood was the requirement from God (and still is) for sin. The wages of sin is death. Your blood is your life, when you die it is “spilled out”. Each time a person sinned under the Law that person would need to clean themselves and offer a blood sacrifice in order to be righteous before God. Each sin required blood… over and over and over again. The reason an animal was chosen to cover the humans sin was to represent taking the place of that person in death, as it’s blood was without sin. The only offering God will accept is one without sin.
Now we can understand what the apostle is saying in verse 6. Jesus, the Christ, was born of water – this special water that cleanses. Because He was born of it, he is in essence made from it. He is clean and able to stand before God. Jesus, the Christ, was born of blood – the blood that is acceptable as a sacrifice for sin. So not only is He clean and can stand before a Holy God, but He is able to replace our blood in death to pay for our debts (our sin). Remember the wages for sin (or what you accrue, your pay-out) is death. So if we are paid what is due for our sin we will die. Christ is the only one who is able to pay fully for our debts. He basically goes to our sin bank and clears it out. Permanently.
As John continues in verse 6, ‘it is the Spirit who testifies‘. All of these things can be made known to you, but the only way to accept them and know them as truth is through the Spirit. God is truth – the Spirit is truth. Because we are indwelt with the Spirit we are able to know the truth. (Vs. 7-9) we understand the literal meanings of these things; that water cleans and blood purifies; but without the Spirit we cannot apply it to our lives or see the need to want these things applied to our lives.
“It is he (the Spirit) who seals on our hearts the testimony of the water and blood; it is he who by his power makes the fruit of Christ’s death to come to us; yea, he makes the blood shed for our redemption to penetrate into our hearts, or, to say all in one word, he makes Christ with all his blessings to become ours.” – John Calvin
We cannot accept this testimony of God if we do not have the Spirit of God in us. And we cannot have the Spirit of God in us if we do not believe that Christ died to save us, on our behalf. What has Christ saved us from? From death. This is a spiritual death, one we are currently living in before God awakens us to Himself. Yes we will die in the body, but that will only be as a door to final sanctification and eternal dwelling with God. Without the acceptance of Christ for our sin (note the free gift) we will continue in our deaths to die the second time, this time in the body, with no hope or chance given for reconciliation. This life on earth is the one chance we are given to accept Christ’s atoning work on our behalf.
In verse 12 we are reminded again by the apostle about the state of which our souls exist prior to the knowledge of what Christ has done. Without Him we are dead.. there is no life. So if we are dead, how can we make ourselves alive? We cannot. It is God’s will and sovereign choice to decide, and it is our pleasure as people who have been given life to share it with others, hoping and praying that God will reward our obedience with the fruit of their conversion.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:1-5
Lord’s Day 11
Why is the Son of God called Jesus,
that is, Saviour?
Because he saves us from all our sins, 1
and because salvation is not to be sought or found
in anyone else. 2
Do those who seek
their salvation or well-being
in saints, in themselves, or anywhere else,
also believe in the only Saviour Jesus?
Though they boast of him in words,
they in fact deny the only Saviour Jesus. 1
For one of two things must be true:
either Jesus is not a complete Saviour,
or those who by true faith accept this Saviour
must find in him all that is necessary
for their salvation. 2