1 John 5:8 – And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
I love 1 John 5. It is so spiritual and full of truth that it boggles the mind. The book of 1 John was truly written that our joy may be full. 1 John 5 provides rock solid assurance of salvation as John wrote in 1 John 5:13, 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 can be saved and know it! That’s what true freedom and liberty is. God does not wield our salvation, our souls, our eternal destiny over us to get us to do what he wants us to do, he does not take it back from us, he gives eternal life freely and forever. I have always struggled to understand the three witnesses in earth mentioned in 1 John 5. I understand 1 John 5:7 which is in the midst of the verses talking about the Spirit, the water, the blood and 1 John 5:7 is one of the most hated verses in the Bible. Why? Because 1 John 5:7 declares that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word, is God. He is one of three that bear record in heaven, who are the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. Jesus is God. 1 John 5:7 blows everything other than the Lord Jesus Christ out of the water.
But then we come to 1 John 5:8, the Spirit, the water, the blood. How on earth can these things bear witness in earth? How does water and blood bare witness? I can turn a tap on and see water coming out as I fill a glass of water to drink. But how does that bare witness of anything? I began to understand the relevance of this Scripture recently, I wrote a blog previously on it, but now I want to write further on it, as this is great spiritual truth that God’s word is teaching us.
The Spirit, the water, and the blood are three witnesses in the earth, and they all agree. They are the witness of God in the earth. They witness to the hearts, souls and spirits of men. These are three witnesses which bare witness to everyone that has ever lived, past, present, future. You and I and everyone else have heard and do something with the message of these witnesses. We either accept or reject, receive or refuse their message, which agrees perfectly, the message of the witnesses does not and never contradicts. These three witnesses minister to the soul and spirit, whereas human witness cannot do the same, human witness can only minister to the things of man, to the exterior, to man’s wisdom and intellect. The Bible says that natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit, that’s why you must be born again, you must be lighted and quickened by the Holy Spirit before you begin to understand, receive and comprehend God, his truth, his true light. As God said, Let there be light, God must say that in your heart for you to be saved, for you to comprehend, for you to see. This does not mean that you do not have a choice in your salvation, everyone has and does make a choice and noone has an excuse.
We will quickly look at the three witnesses individually. The Spirit bears witness. The work of Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who is the Holy Ghost, who is God, who is the Comforter, who is the Spirit of truth is to convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement. True comfort can only be extended to those in this sin cursed world by giving and receiving truth. Truth brings comfort. We all do something with the Holy Ghost, and what we do with the Holy Ghost determines two very different eternal paths. If we receive the message of the Spirit, who only speaks of Christ, not of himself, and we repent and believe the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, his death, burial and resurrection in our place for us, then he will wash us, renew us, regenerate us with his Spirit. We are born again, made spiritually alive. To those that are saved, the Spirit then bears witness with our hearts that we are the children of God. The Spirit dwells in us, we are the temple of God. But to those that are not saved, the Spirit carries the message of judgement and condemnation, the Spirit convicts guilty, dark, unrepentant, Christ rejecting hearts. But we can refuse, reject and push away the Holy Ghost, and in so doing we reject God, and unsaved, unrepentant, truth rejecting people end up blaspheming the Holy Ghost, the unpardonable sin, because unless the Holy Ghost births a new creature in them, and thus being born again, there is no way they can enter the kingdom of God.
We then see the water. The water is the word of God. It is pure water. Jesus is the fountain of the water. He is the very source. The water of the word washes us. Jesus washed Peter’s feet, and said, Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. The words of Christ cleanses our souls, we read our Bible for cleansing, for washing, for the life giving water, the manna from heaven. As Peter said in his first epistle, the water saves us, it baptizes our soul by the resurrection of Christ, and our souls like the ark in Noah’s day are lift up above the flood of water which destroys and frees us from our flesh. We are saved by the water, this is why Jesus said we must be born of water and of the Spirit. This water is not physical water baptism, but spiritual water, the word of God. God’s word is more than ink on paper, God’s words are spirit and life. Unless you receive the word of God, you will not be born again of the Spirit of God. The Spirit and God’s word never contradict, the Spirit never works around, or disagrees with the Word of God.
Then we see the blood. Blood is a theme through the whole Bible. Cain slew Abel, and Abel’s righteous blood cried to God from the ground. The Bible says without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Blood is required. This is why Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world for sinners. When Jesus, the Word, was made flesh, he partook of flesh and blood. Jesus existed, he walked the earth as a human. And the blood shows us a great spiritual truth of salvation, the innocent for the guilty. Jesus as the guiltless, innocent Lamb of God gave his blood for us, to buy our forgiveness and our freedom. This is what the Old Testament sacrifices were pointing to, the coming of Jesus who abolished the sacrificial system in his once for all sacrifice of himself. The blood of Christ needs to wash our souls, it is what cleanses us from all sin. Jesus died, his blood was shed, the Redeemer died. True life is found and experienced in the blood of Christ which washes us, which sprinkles us, which sanctifies us. Our covenant with Jesus is based on his shed blood. Matthew 26:28 – For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Is Christ’s blood sufficient for you? Your blood is not enough, it will be required by God, but it will be unable to save you, because your blood, as mine, is sinful, defiled, corrupted. Judas Iscariot realized when he betrayed Jesus that he had betrayed innocent blood. Jesus’ blood is everything. His blood carries a message for us, his blood and only his blood shed for us, can save us. Romans 3:25 – Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. Romans 5:9 – Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 1 John 5:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
So we know that there are three witnesses in the earth. But now we can tie them all together. The Lord Jesus Christ is the embodiment of these three witnesses. And these three agree in one. In one. In Jesus. All three witnesses are found in him, in Jesus, they agree IN him! It is all about Jesus, it is all about the gospel of Christ. The witnesses agree in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is the Lord Jesus Christ, it is him alone. That’s what matters in this life. Jesus had the Spirit, and we know that water and blood flowed from his pierced side at Calvary. It was his Spirit to give, which he gave at the day of Pentecost, pouring out his Spirit upon all flesh. He could offer the life giving water to the Samaritan woman at the well, because he is the source, and he gives the water freely. In John 6, he said we must eat his flesh and drink his blood, not literally, but spiritually. We must be IN Christ, that’s why Jesus said abide in me. If you do not abide in Christ you have no hope, he is the source of life, of the living water. When we do something with the gospel, the message of Christ, we will do something with HIS Spirit, HIS Water, HIS Blood. You will accept or refuse, receive or reject, there is no third option. Pilate had to make a choice of what to do with Jesus, he tried evading making that choice, but he like us have to choose what to do with the man. When we bare witness of Jesus as saved people, we are baring witness of the Spirit, the water, the blood, the threefold message tied up in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone has and does receive the message of the Lord Jesus Christ – the Spirit, the water, and the blood. Job knew of a coming Redeemer, and he was before the flood. Peter said the gospel has been preached to them that are dead, that is, all humans who have died before us. Colossians declares that the gospel has been preached to every creature under heaven. Noone has an excuse. Everyone will receive the message of the Spirit, the water, the blood. But what type of ground will the witness find? Will it find good ground, or shallow, rocky, thorny ground in your heart? What will you do with the three witnesses? You cannot avoid making a choice.