NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY
By Dr. Robert R Seyda
FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN
CHAPTER FIVE (Lesson II) 09/27/22
5:1 If you believe that Jesus is the Anointed One – that He is God’s Son and your Savior – then you are God’s child. And all who love the Father love His children too.
The Lord Jesus the Anointed One is the Rock for all Christians. Race, place, and face are a distant second. It is effortless to test our love for God. How committed are we to fully applying His principle every day? That is the measure of our love. Fellowship with God transmits power. The person who trusts in Jesus the Anointed One joyfully rises to God’s standards for Christian living. They receive direction from their divine Parent. Therefore, their identity as Christians and the dignity of being part of their spiritual family; motivate them to love all members of God’s family.
Bishop Irenaeus (130-202 AD), in his writings against heresies, stated that all those outside of the dispensation of Grace who imagines having some divine knowledge that Jesus and the Messiah were not one person are deluding themselves. Sadly, to them, the Anointed One and the Only-begotten are two different people. They also contend that the Word and Savior don’t exist in one man named Jesus. Unfortunately, they are nothing more than disciples of erroneous thinking by those still in a state of depravity. Such individuals appear as sheep, trying to be like us, but their public behavior, even when repeating the exact words we do, does not hide that they are undercover wolves. Their doctrine is homicidal, conjuring up, as it does, any number of gods but lowering and dividing the Son of God in many ways. These are those against whom the Lord cautioned us beforehand, and His beloved disciple, in this Epistle, commands us to avoid them at all costs.
Irenaeus goes on to say that in his day, many deceivers were going around who did not confess that the Anointed One of God came to earth in human form. Such impostors are antichrists. Beware of them, says John; you don’t want to lose what you already have. And again, John says in this Epistle: “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if their spirit comes from God, for there are many false prophets in the world. Here’s how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus the Anointed One came in a human body, that person has the Spirit of God.” These words agree with what John records in his Gospel, that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” and “Every person who believes that Jesus is the Messiah is God-born.” So, knowing that Jesus and the Anointed One is the same person to whom heaven’s gates opened for us because of His becoming human: is coming again in the same flesh in which He suffered, revealing the glory of the Father.
Bede the Venerable (672-735 AD) asks, who believes Jesus is the Anointed One? It is the person who lives according to the Anointed One’s teachings. Therefore, let no heretic or divisive person falsely say they believe that Jesus is the Anointed One. Even the demons believe and tremble because they know that much. But those who do not have His love or loving ministry are not of God.
Matthew Poole (1624-1679) states that for someone to say they believe that Jesus is the Anointed One either makes a genuine affirmation or a superficial confession. For a confession to count as being authentic, it must be a lively, productive, unifying, soul-transforming, and obedient faith in Jesus as the Anointed One, which proclaimed the effect of God’s regenerating power and grace. And as nothing can be more natural to such a heaven-born faith than loving God who birthed us, nothing can be more consequential and agreeable than loving the characteristics and image of God within those born of the same Father.
Hugh Binning (1627-1653) exclaims what a royal heritage this is! How it makes a person’s human nature nobler! Indeed, all other degrees of birth among humanity are unsuccessful imaginary things that have no worth but in society’s fantasies. They put no noble excellence in people. What the Anointed One offers is true nobility. It alone extracts individuals from the multitudes on the world’s garbage pile. No underlying differences between blood types or races disqualify anyone. It is called a divine second birth. All other distinctions are but opinions; this is reality. It puts the image of that blessed Spirit upon humanity. Truly, such a creature is not conceived in the womb of any natural cause, human persuasion, appealing words of a person’s wisdom, or any external mercy or judgment. No instruction, influence, allurement, or fear of hell can make anyone a Christian in the Spirit. The Spirit breathes spiritual life when and where He pleases. He alone can make you new again. It must come from above – power that can set your hearts right and cause you to look straight toward the Kingdom of Heaven. 
John Flavel (1627-1673) points out that if believers fail to unify with those who bear God’s image, how can they be in union with God? What is being at peace with the Father and at war with His children? It cannot be. Is it true that some believers who hope they have made peace with God but still dislike, despise, and discriminate against God’s other children? Surely, when we are submissive to the Lord, we are in harmony with His people: we will then love a believer as a Christian, and by this, we may know that we have passed from death to life.
In a sermon on Wednesday, May 11, 1693, John Howe (1630-1705) says that the Apostle John’s opening words about acknowledging Jesus as God’s Anointed One is a doctrinal assertion. It only needs explaining and application. Hearing such an assertion for the first time might may you think it unnecessary. It may seem strange to unaccustomed ears, at least, that such a thing as this should be affirmed universally. Hearing that a person can be born of God might even scare a person to think of such a thing. Being sinful creatures, we might say to sin, “you are my father,” and to corruption, “you are my mother.” Thus, knowing where we came from, how can we now suppose that we are divine offspring, heavenly children, as someone born of God? How wonderful and transforming that would be if it were so. The Jews gloried that they were God’s children and had God for their Father; they were called His children and firstborn. Nevertheless, the Apostle John informs them that this earthly relationship would be useless unless they were born again of water and the Spirit. Therefore, they must be born again and baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Daniel Whitby (1638-1726) paraphrases verse one to read: “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and everyone that loves Him that gave birth also loves those born of Him” (as being by their new birth partakers of Divine nature and created anew after the image of God).” 
William Burkitt (1662-1714) observes: (1) The proposition laid down as the object of our faith, namely, that Jesus of Nazareth, who was born and lived among the Jews, was the world’s Savior, the person whom Moses and the Prophets foretold to be the Messiah. (2) The duty requiring us to believe that Jesus is the Messiah is historically accurate and to express the truth of that faith in a conforming lifestyle. (3) Only those who declare that Jesus is the only Anointed One; can claim to be born of God. (4) The affection that every person born of God offers must also be shared with others. (5) What are the actual effects and natural products of this to God? It is, without doubt, a sign of sincere fondness for all His children. Every Christian that genuinely loves God loves the image of God in His saints. How can we love God and His Son and not love any of His other children?
Johann Bengel (1687-1752) says that the scope and design of this paragraph are plain from the conclusion: “If you don’t love your fellow believer, then you do not love God.” So, with great elegance, the Apostle John mentions love in this part of the discussion. This affection we have toward any believer is spiritual love. Where there is dislike, the new life is immediately injured. The conclusion is that those who delight in God’s love for all will, in turn, love all those who call Him “Father.”
James Macknight (1721-1800) states we should not consider this verse as speculation but with firm persuasion to influence those who possess it, leading to obeying Jesus implicitly, from a sense of His authority, as the Anointed One, the Son of God, sent into the world to save humanity. The unbelieving Jews thought themselves the children of God because they were descendants of Abraham through Isaac and possessed knowledge of the true God. Some Jewish converts added that title to that high honor on the same foundation. But the Apostle John assured both that God confirmed Jesus as the Anointed One. Thus, the only thing under the Gospel dispensation that made believer’s His children was their belief in Jesus as the Anointed One, God’s Son loving God’s children. The Apostle John knew that all God’s children loved God as their Father. Now he declares it a characteristic mark of God’s children that they love all their spiritual brothers and sisters because they bear the image of their Father. 
John Brown of Haddington (1722-1787) said we should fix it in our minds that whoever affectionately believes that Jesus is the promised Messiah, and depends on Him, as the anointed Prophet, Priest, King, and Head of His Church, is regenerated by God’s Spirit. Furthermore, from this principle of faith, they have supreme love, esteem, desire, and delight in the Almighty. Such believers cannot but have an excellent will to delight in every Christian brother and sister as beloved of God and spiritually born again in His image.
Alfred Plummer (1841-1926) finds that verse one contains a couple of statements condensed into irregular logic of passing from a major point to a minor issue. The Apostle John states, “Whoever has God’s Son has spiritual life; whoever does not have His Son, does not have spiritual life.” Everyone who accepts the Incarnated One is a child of God, and every child of God loves their Father and all His children. Consequently, to acknowledge that Jesus is the Anointed One is to understand that One who was known as a man fulfilling His Divine commission by being crucified is the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. To have faith in this is to accept both the First and the Final Covenants; it is to conclude that Jesus is what He claimed to be. Therefore, for believers to have union with the Father demands the surrender of self to Him. As the Apostle James says, faith without love is “the belief of demons.”  This message cannot be treated lightly since your claim to love God depends solely on your love for one another.
 2 John 1:7-8
 1 John 4:1-2
 John 1:14
 1 John 5:1
 Irenaeus: The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, Bk. III, Ch. XVI, p. 443 ⁋8
 Bede the Venerable, Ancient Christian Commentary, Bray G. (Ed.), Vol XI, op. cit., p. 221
 John 1:12-13
 Poole, Matthew, Commentary on the Holy Bible – Book of 1st, 2nd & 3rd John (Annotated), Kindle Edition.
 Matthew 6:33
 Binning, Hugh: The Sinner’s Sanctuary, Sermon XVI, p. 184
 Flavel, John: The Method of Grace: How the Spirit Works, op. cit., Ch. 3, p. 62
 Howe, John: On Regeneration, Sermon XXXVIII, pp. 484-485
 Exodus 4:22; Deuteronomy 14:1; 32:19; l Psalm 72:15
 1 John 3:5
 Matthew 28:19
 Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10
 Whitby, Daniel: Critical and Paraphrase of the N.T., op. cit., Vol. VI, Chapter V, p. 469
 Burkitt, William: Expository Notes, Vol. II, p. 734
 1 John 5:13
 See ibid. 4:20
 Bengel, Gnomon of the New Testament, Vol. 4, pp. 134-135
 Macknight, James: Apostolical Epistles with Commentary, Vol. VI, p. 102
 Brown, John of Haddington: Self-Interpreting Bible, N.T. Vol IV, op. cit., p. 506
 Cf. James 2:19
 Plummer, Alfred: The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, First Epistle of St. John, op. cit., p. 155