“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.”
The first twelve verses of chapter five set before us the witness of God. God bears clear testimony about His Son. John shows how the nature of one’s faith gives significance to love.
The message of chapter five grows out of the end of chapter four.
1 Jn 4:20-21, 20 “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ
Spiritual birth rests on the belief in Jesus as the Messiah. Belief is the one and only condition for salvation. John refers to belief three times in this section (5:1,5,10). He follows this with three pronouncements:
This is the victory (5:4)
This is the testimony (5:9,11)
This is the life (5:11)
The connection between belief and love brings John’s argument to the point of his epistle. It involves love in the family of God.
The word “Christ” means Messiah, the anointed one. This name puts emphasis on His work, especially His work of shedding His blood for our sins. He bore our sins in death. Isaiah speaks of the Messiah in this regard in Isaiah 53:
Is 53:5-6, 5 “But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
Gnostic heretics had a problem with identifying Jesus with the “Christ,” the Messiah. Jesus is not only truly human but He is God Almighty.
Jn 20:30-31, 30 “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
is born of God,
The phrase “born of God” occurs seven times in 1 John and three times in this verse (3:9; 4:7; 5:4,18). All born again people have the nature of God residing in them. This is the life of God. If we have the life of God in us, we will naturally love the family of God.
The tense of “is born” means that the child of God was spiritually born at a point in the past, with the results continuing permanently.
The one and only condition for salvation is the belief in the person and work of Christ for our sins.
Many of us add many things to salvation according to the denomination to which we belong. Some say that a person must repent, be baptized, or join a church to receive spiritual birth. This adds conditions to salvation that God does not. God’s only condition for salvation is trust or belief in Jesus and His work.
Jn 1:12-13, 12 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Jn 3:3-18, 3 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ 4 Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ 5 Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 ‘Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 ‘The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. …’ 16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”