1 John 5:1

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him” (1 John 5:1).

I appealed to 1 John 5:1 last week in my sermon to try and explain to people how we can know that the Holy Spirit is in us, if we are truly born from above.  My emphasis was that a confession of Christ is the Biblical initial sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  My emphasis was that a confession of Christ was not possible without the presence of the Spirit, or to be more specific, being born again precedes the confession of believing in Christ.  Believing does not precede birth, birth precedes believing.  This classic reformed theological conclusion is rooted in an accurate understanding of the Bible.

The gist of this passage is that it is not possible to come to belief in Christ without the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, so if you believe you can be assured you did not arrive at this conclusion apart from His work.  The real testimony of the Spirit in the spirit of the believer is the confession of Christ.  The testimony of the Spirit with our spirit is the confession of Christ as Lord (Romans 8:16; John 15:26).  The Spirit leads us to Christ, the Bible doesn’t teach that I find Christ and then receive the Spirit; this is an impossible Biblical ordo salutis.

Check out the following video from James White as he explains the finer points of the Greek version of 1 John 5:1 in response to a less than Biblical explanation by Brian Broderson of Calvary Chapel and the radio show on KWVE called the “Pastor’s Perspective.”  This is a great example of quality exegesis over and against a casual and flippant handling of the Bible, disguised as quality exegesis.  James White is thorough and precise in his explanation of what 1 John 5:1 means.  He is contextually consistent and handles the Greek text well.  We need more of this kind of “Bible study” and less of the rambling, surface handling that many of today’s pastors and radio/internet “experts” demonstrate.

I have had my own concerns about answers to questions on the Pastor’s Perspective and have attempted to address them in private as well as I can (letters, email etc), most recently on the Kenosis issue and in particular Chuck Smith’s expression of the substandard Christian Doctrine.  My attempts to engage the program have not been successful and as many of the people in the congregation I am responsible for listen to that program, I have begun to simply point out the errors publicly.  I thank James White for his clear and precise handling of this issue.

You can also visit Alpha and Omega ministries for more information, the link for the post of this video is here.

I just watched John Piper’s message with regard to 1 John 5:1 (ht: aomin.org), he is really good…

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  • RG

    Love it, Steve. Well said and clear.

    Only slightly related to this, have you read Francis Chan’s book, “Forgotten God”? It’s not a deep book, but an interesting read. I reviewed it here if you have any interest: http://bit.ly/dBNQGr

  • stevebag

    Thanks Roy…

    I have not read “Forgotten God” but have been intrigued by Francis Chan. I will have to give him a read.