“Got Jesus?” 1 John 5:9-13
It all began with the “Got Milk?” ads. Do you remember them? A celebrity appears in a full-page picture sporting a “milk mustache” and the caption asks, “Got Milk?” The advertising people designed the idea to get us to drink milk for our health. These ads spawned many imitators. The latest one I saw was a bill board on our way home from vacation that simply said in large letters, “Got Faith?”
Were John the Apostle to title his paragraph in 1 John 5, he might have simply titled it, “Got Jesus?” He wrote; “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:9–12). How do we know that we have eternal life? This has been the subject of this whole epistle. In these verses, John gives us one evidence we are saved. We know that we are His because God Himself tells us that Jesus is the Christ and salvation is in Him.
“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.” Do you remember how John started this epistle? He gave us his personal testimony of the Lord’s incarnation. (1 John 1:1-2) “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” John opened his letter with his human eyewitness account of who Jesus is. His witness is true, but now John cites an even greater witness, the witness of the Eternal God to the identity of His Son.
We find several times where God bore verbal witness before witnesses to the identity of His Son. Let me just cite one. “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5). Therefore, those who question the incarnation, the deity, and messianic identity of the Lord Jesus Christ are not just questioning the Apostles’ eyewitness testimony. They are questioning the witness of God Himself.
John wrote more about this witness in verse 10. “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.”
First, John declared that the Father’s witness to the Son is not just the testimony in the Word of God. God’s testimony is also a witness within every believer. What did John mean? The Apostle Paul talked about this very witness in Romans 8:15-16. “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” When we see the Father in the pages of the book, our hearts, converted by the grace of the Son of God and indwelt by the Spirit of God cries out, “He’s my Father.”
Second, John asserted that any who refuses to believe in the Son of God calls God a liar. To reject Christ is to deny God Himself and to turn a back on the one and only available way of salvation. To deny Christ is to personally affront and alienate God Himself. This is strong language indeed.
We can know that Jesus is the Son of God and that we belong to Him, because human testimony witnessed that He was God incarnate in human flesh. He was the Savior who came to die, to be buried, and to rise again for our sins. We can know that Jesus is the Son of God because God the Father Himself has born witness to the person of His Son. God did this in the Bible and He does it in our hearts. Now John gives us the ultimate evidence that says we are believers. “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:10-11).
“Here is the witness that God has given us eternal life.” Here is the ultimate “we know that we know.” We know because the Son is ours. He lives in us. We went to Kathy’s sister Karen’s home on vacation. Karen keeps a record of the height and weight of her grandchildren. Someone uses a ruler to measure the child’s height. This test here in I John 5 is not a ruler to measure whether someone else is a believer. As with all of John’s “we know that we know” passages, this is a rule to measure our own assurance that we genuinely know the living Christ as our Savior.
In verse 13, as John closed his letter, he told us his purpose in this letter. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” John did not write this verse under the influence of God the Holy Spirit to have it taken out of context and tacked on the end of a Gospel presentation to provide assurance. He wrote it to make us recognize that knowing that we know the Lord Jesus and have salvation is vitally important. It is crucial in our lives.
The ultimate question John asked is verses 11-12. “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12). The question is simply, “Got the Lord Jesus Christ?” Do you and I have Jesus in our lives? Faith alone cannot save. Faith in Christ alone always saves!