John ended his letter in 1 John 5 by telling the people how they know they would make it into the kingdom of God, and warning them not to fall back into idolatry.
The first was simple. John said that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God. He did not preach any other gospel, John simply said that the path to eternal life was to believe in Jesus Christ.
John also preached against the same asceticism doctrines that Paul preached against. John said that the commandments God had given were not burdensome. God did not come into the world to impose a rigid set of rules that were difficult to follow. Jesus said that every commandment was fulfilled within these two:
- You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
- You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
John said that "By this we know that we Love the children of God, when we Love God and obey his commandments.
John was careful not to raise himself into the platform of an object of worship. He did not teach that others should follow every word, teaching, doctrine, and belief that he had, John said that to overcome the world you must simply believe in Jesus Christ. John asked, "Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
John said that Jesus came by water and by blood. He said that Jesus did not come by water (baptism) only, but by both: water and blood.
The third testimony was the Spirit. The Spirit, John said, is the Truth. Therefore, there are three that testify your salvation: waters of baptism, sacrifice of the Lamb, and the Holy Spirit.
He paused to warn against placing your faith in man. He said the testimony of God was greater than the testimony of man, for the Holy Spirit was the testimony of God. All three were required, water, blood, Spirit.
Then, John preached against those who had taught a different Jesus. Evidently, some had started to deny the fullness of God, worshipping Jesus without worshipping the Father and the Spirit.
John said that if we only believe in the Son of God, then we only have the testimony in ourselves. We have not applied all three witnesses. Even worse, whoever only believed in Jesus, the Son of God and not in God, had made Jesus a liar!
John said that if we did not believe in God, and only in Jesus Christ, then we have denied God's testimony, concerning His Son. Whoever has the Son has life. Whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life!
Baptism is the essential testimony of a True Christian's devotion to God. It is not something to take lightly. John was very clear that there were three witnesses, water, blood, and Spirit. He was also very clear that by teaching a different Jesus, we were denying ourselves eternal salvation and calling Jesus a liar.
Baptism is not simply a New Testament commandment. Paul said that all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. Three witnesses in the Old Testament, just as in the new.
Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt 28:19). Jesus gave three witnesses. This was no different than the day of Moses. As Moses stood as a witness before God as God parted the sea, the Spirit stood witness in the cloud.
As Christians, we should ask ourselves: Are we baptized with three witnesses? Are we baptized in the Son, denying the Father, when John said that would make Jesus a liar? Have we left the Spirit out completely, when John said that the Spirit was required as a witness? Have we denied the testimony of God, concerning His Son?