THE GREATER WITNESS
1 John 5:9-13 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God, which He hath testified of His Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
We begin this lesson by quoting the previous two verses, which read, For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. What these three on earth and the three in heaven are witnessing as being true, is found in the previous verse five: that Jesus is the Son of God. By believing, and accepting, the testimony of these witnesses, one will, themselves, testify of their faith, by confessing this fact to be true, and will be born again by water baptism for the remission of their sins. Belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world, is perfected by faithful obedience to God's will. True to His plan of eternal salvation, God adds them to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47), and they become His children (Rom. 8:13-17).
The witness of men (and women),that is,their sworn testimony, as faulty and deceiving as it may be at times, is still received and accepted as sufficient witness in civil courts on earth. To this earthly witnessing, the apostle John, in this letter to all Christians, compares tothe witness of God. Indeed, God is the greater witness because, unlike human testimony, His testimony is infallible; it cannot be denied; it is unimpeachable. Why? The answer is because God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Moses wrote that God is not a man, that He should lie (Num. 23:19), and the inspired Hebrew author told us that the counsel of God is immutable (Heb. 6:17). And this is the infallible, unimpeachable, immutable witness of God: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:17 & 17:5). With this fact established by His testimony, God added hear ye Him.
To hear, believe, and obey God's inspired word, one will eagerly, and with a glad heart, accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God. From this obedience, a deep grounded faith results, which serves as a witness by presenting undeniable evidence, which assures us of this spiritual fact: the Son of God is Jesus Christ. Those that deny, and refuse to accept this fact, make God a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.
In verse 11 we have this witness of God: that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. In His final hour, Jesus confessed this testimony of God to be true. These were the words of Jesus: Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee: as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent (John 17:1-3).
The final two verses of the lesson text assure us, that all accepting Jesus Christ as the Savior sent from God hath life. Again, Jesus assuredall mankind of this when He said, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life (John 5:24). This is the new life that one experiences when he or she is born again; this is the new birth that Jesus explained so convincingly to the Pharisee named Nicodemus (See John 3:1-21). This inspired gospel record of John was written to all Christians,that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. Many have testified to this fact, both spiritual and mortal. But there has been none greater that our Heavenly Father when He gave the world this assurance: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him (Matt. 17:5).