“And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.”
This verse sets forth three witnesses to the truth: 1) the Holy Spirit, 2) the water baptism of Christ, and 3) the substitutionary death of Christ by His shed blood.
And there are three that bear witness on earth:
There are three testimonies to Christ on earth. The “earth” is the sphere where the testimonies bear witness.
The “Spirit” here is the ministry of the Holy Spirit through His revelation of the Old and New Testaments and convicting work to each individual. The Holy Spirit personalizes truth to our experience.
“Water” refers to the baptism of Christ.
And the blood;
The “blood” refers to the sacrificial death of Christ for our sins. Jesus fully and finally paid for our sins. No further suffering for them is necessary.
And these three agree as one
The three witnesses of this verse agree. Two witnesses to Christ are historical, and one is personal. All three witnesses present Christ in one harmonious whole. The consensus of the concurring witnesses converges on the one end of the centrality of the person and work of Christ. The Spirit proves this point in verses 9-12.
The Holy Spirit moves us toward making Jesus Christ an integral part of our life.
The Holy Spirit applies to our heart the reality of Christ and His ministry to us. Jesus’ blood frees us from the penalty of sin. He wants us to be more than religious spectators.
Is 53:4-6, 4 “Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
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.”