Victory over the World
1If we believe Jesus is truly Christ, we are God's children. Everyone who loves the Father will also love his children. 2If we love and obey God, we know we will love his children. 3 We show our love for God by obeying his commandments, and they are not hard to follow.
4Every child of God can defeat the world, and our faith is what gives us this victory. 5No one can defeat the world without having faith in Jesus as the Son of God.
Who Jesus Is
6Water and blood came out from the side of Jesus Christ. It wasn't just water, but water and blood. The Spirit tells about this, because the Spirit is truthful. 7In fact, there are three who tell about it. 8They are the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and they all agree.
9We believe what people tell us. But we can trust what God says even more, and God is the one who has spoken about his Son. 10If we have faith in God's Son, we have believed what God has said. But if we don't believe what God has said about his Son, it is the same as calling God a liar. 11 God has also said he gave us eternal life and this life comes to us from his Son. 12And so, if we have God's Son, we have this life. But if we don't have the Son, we don't have this life.
This passage is difficult because John does not explain the heresy that he is refuting, a heresy which would have been known to the recipients of the letter. There have been numerous attempts to explain what is meant in these verses by “water” and “blood.” (The CEV opts for one interpretation. V.6 is more difficult in the original Greek, and in other translations.) It must mean, at its very least, that the cleansing power of Jesus (water) cannot be known apart from an understanding of his death on the cross (blood). We need to experience his forgiveness if we want to share his life.
Although God created every human being, John is talking about something else when he writes about being children of God (vv 1, 4). In his Gospel (John 1:10-13) he draws a line between those who received him and believed in his name, and those who rejected him. He spoke to Nicodemus (John 3:3-7) about the need to be “born again.” The person who is truly “born again” (a phrase debased by its use in American politics) believes that Jesus is the Messiah, keeps God’s commands and overcomes the “world” – everything out there that is not of God. The struggle between good and evil is not evenly balanced. Jesus has overcome “the world” (John 16:33), and with his life in us we can do the same.
The “eternal life” John speaks of here is not just something we will enjoy after we die. It is something we know here and now, a different plane of living, as “our faces . . . show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord’s Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Spirit within us fills us with love and joy (Galatians 5:22), gives us the power to overcome temptation, and the strength to do his will. Is this your experience?
Father, please open our eyes to the very real battle between good and evil we are caught up in every day. Thank you, thank you, for your life in us that enables us to conquer evil. In Jesus’ name, Amen.