NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY
By Dr. Robert R Seyda
FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN
CHAPTER FIVE (Lesson III) 09/28/22
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.
But how should we deal with a sinning believer, asks Pierce, especially one who committed a sin leading to spiritual death? John told the saints not to pray for them. Those born of God are preserved from it. So also, the acceptance that God’s Son came, coupled with John and his fellow apostles’ enlightenment, declared their interest in the Anointed One. And the chapter is closed with this appeal, little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. Deciphering this statement about taking anyone off your prayer list who sinned, punishable by being lost forever, is that it interferes with the Holy Spirit’s work. Once a person refuses to repent and rejects the Gospel of salvation as the only way to eternal life, praying to God for their salvation is needless. God does not save people based on our prayers.
George Haydock (1778-1862) amplifies verse one by saying that Jesus is the Anointed One, the promised Messiah, the world’s Redeemer, is born of God, and is made His adoptive child by His grace in baptism. Thus, “born of God” means “a justified baptized child of God.” That is, provided belief in this fundamental article of the Christian faith accompanies all the other conditions God’s Word outlines. That includes confidence in everything God has revealed and promised: hope, love, repentance, and a desire to keep God’s Holy Law.
Augustus Neander (1789-1850) describes faith as nothing but conviction, having passed through the awareness of sin, acknowledging Jesus as the center of it all, and embracing the sum of it all. It is the act whereby the soul, renouncing itself and joyfully accepting the offered union with Jesus as its Redeemer and Lord, wholly gives itself to Him so that it may no longer belong to itself but Him alone. That means everyone who believes in this sense, says the Apostle John, is born of God. John regards this as something which can only proceed from divine power entering the heart, a work of God in mankind, a blessed fact. Where this occurs, the person receives a new existence whose fountain and root are in God. Thus, they become a new person born of God in the true sense, which has the source of divine life in them.
By this, says Neander, a person born of a woman entering the world to take their place among humans is now raised to a higher existence. Therefore, as by natural descent, the Son of God derived a holy essence from His Father to reflect this image so that those who believe, by the quality of this new spiritual birth from God, are called God’s children. And thus, they reflect this feature of the holy life the Father gave them through His Son. Hence, John says they who love God, from whom this born-again experience is derived, must love this relationship and likeness in others because those who love Him and are born of God have this same eternal life. Therefore, love, the source of being a new creation in the Anointed One, necessarily includes love for all partakers in this life. For this reason, everyone united in fellowship as God’s children feel drawn toward each other because of the mutual agápē they share, unlike no other relationship among mankind.
Gottfried C. D. Lücke (1791-1855) states that genuine love for God and fraternal love for others are inseparably connected; they serve each other on a mutual basis and condition. And since brotherly and sisterly love is the indispensable manifestation of loving God, loving God is the basis of loving others. Accordingly, the divine love of God’s children is grounded in a deep love for God as long as it consists of the faithful keeping of God’s holy commandments.
Charles Hodge (1797-1878) talks about the Apostle John’s terms for admission into God’s kingdom. Any human authority cannot rightfully alter these. No one can add or subtract from them. The rule He laid down on this subject is what He requires for admission into heaven’s kingdom as a condition of access to God’s earthly kingdom. No one can demand anything more and nothing less. We are to receive all those who the Anointed One welcomes. No degree of knowledge, no confession, beyond that which is necessary to salvation, can be required to recognize anyone as a Christian brother or sister and treat them as such. Philip baptized the Eunuch on the confession, “I believe that Jesus the Anointed One is the Son of God.” For believers to reject those God has received into His fellowship is an intolerable assumption. All those terms of Church communion set up beyond the credible profession of faith in the Anointed One are violations of an authority that belongs to God alone.
Albert Barnes (1798-1870) comments on the meaning of the word “Christus” Of course; it means that the proposition that “Jesus is Christus” should be believed or received in the true and proper sense. It cannot be supposed that a mere intellectual acknowledgment of the proposition that Jesus is the Messiah is all it means, for that is not the proper interpretation of the word in the Scriptures. That word, “Christus,” is not a name but a title. If, in the appropriate sense of the phrase, a person believes that Jesus is Christus, receiving Him as the Anointed One and Savior, it is undoubtedly true and constitutes them being called a Christian.
The point the Apostle John is trying to make is that believers constitute one family since all Christians are children of the same Father. And because they all bear the same image, they also share alike in His favor. Therefore, they all owe a debt of gratitude to the Anointed One and are committed to promoting His Kingdom in this world. After all, they will share the same home in heaven one day forever. Therefore, as all the children love their father, it should be the same in the great family of which God is the Head.
Richard Rothe (1799-1867) makes it clear that it is impossible to love God without at the same time loving their brothers and sisters on account of the essential equality of the objects of this twofold love. Our Christian brothers or sisters are born of God and are similar in relationship to God. How, then, is it psychologically possible that anyone can love God and not their fellow Christian related to God? John says: if only we do not forget that, in virtue of their faith in Jesus as the Anointed One, a Christian is essentially born of God and a child of God. Consequently, it must be evident that God our Father’s nature and characteristics are reproduced in our Christian family members.
So, the question is, how can they who claim to have the supernatural essence and attributes of the Father in them not love these same virtues in their fellow Christian? The conclusion of the argument is unexplained in this verse. John states two premises: First, they who believe in Jesus as the Anointed One must love. Secondly, they must love God and all other believers in union with Jesus as the Anointed One. John leaves it up to the reader to draw these conclusions for themselves.
Heinrich A. W. Meyer (1800-1882) points out that there seems to be a close connection between verse one in this chapter and verse twenty-one of the previous chapter. It is indicated by the corresponding thought of 1 John 4:16, bringing forward the idea of God’s children and fulfilling God’s commandment to love one another. Believers are born of God before entering into a child’s relationship with Him. The natural and necessary result of a child’s connection to a father is love and love for the other children born of him. Therefore, God’s children must love their spiritual siblings. You will notice in the text that the Greek verb gennaō is used three times in verse one. The KJV translates them as “born,” “begat,” and “begotten.” You will observe that the first refers to Jesus, the second to the believer, and the third to all other believers. John’s message to Christians is that love must encompass all three, or else it is not God’s love.
John N. Darby’s (1800-1882) version of the New Testament reads: “Everyone that believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God, and everyone that loves Him that has begotten also loves Him that is begotten of Him.” The NIV has, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His child as well.” And the NLT “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves His children, too.” Since they all use the exact Greek text, it doesn’t show that they changed the original reading, but that time has changed how we read it for better understanding. That’s why I am so interested in comparing translations. Paraphrases are another matter. Those we must take as expressions rather than verbatim translations. Never base a sermon on a paraphrase. Instead, use paraphrases as a way of amplifying the original text. Remember, the KJV was only the Authorized Version of the Church of England in 1611 AD and among the Puritans who brought it to America. The KJV kept that position until the beginning of new English translations in the 1950s.
Henry Cowles (1802-1881) says that genuine faith in Jesus as the Anointed One is proof of the new birth. Such souls, new-born to God, naturally love their divine Father and consequently all His spiritual children. To love God as their Father, they must love all those possessing this same relationship with this loving Father. The love of father and mother reproduces the same passion in sons and daughters. It has been a well-known law of the human family through all ages. It is why believers enjoy the same relationship and fellowship with God and others in mutual love.
Robert Jamieson (1802-1880), Andrew Fausset (1821-1910), and David Brown examine the Apostle John’s statement that believers who accept Jesus as the Messiah are God’s children because to love the Father means loving all His children. They point out that in 1 John 4:21, our spiritual brothers and sisters are entitled to such love because they are “born of God:” so if we want to show our love to God, we must show it to God’s visible representative. The Greek adjective pas “Whosoever” (KJV); “Everyone” (NIV) [collectively] or “Every one” [individually] claiming Jesus as their Savior is not possible unless the man from Galilee is God’s Messiah, revealing the way of salvation as a Prophet. In addition, the Son of God could not work out our salvation without being a Priest, nor confer everlasting life on us without being our King. Therefore, everyone that loves the One who generated them, by secured possession, not a mere profession, also loves all others born of Him – namely, “their spiritual brothers and sisters. 
 Pierce, Samuel E., An Exposition of the First Epistle General of John, Comprised of Ninety-Three Sermons, sermon LXXIII, 1 John 5:1
 See Romans 9:18
 Haydock, George: Catholic Bible Commentary, N. T., pp. 518-519 (This Catholic commentary on the New Testament, following the Douay-Rheims Bible text, was originally compiled by a Catholic priest and biblical scholar Rev. George Leo Haydock (1774-1849). This transcription is based on Haydock’s notes as they appear in the 1859 edition of Haydock’s Catholic Family Bible and Commentary printed by Edward Dunigan and Brother, New York, New York.
 Neander, August: The First Epistle of John, Practically Explained, op. cit., pp. 276-278
 Lücke, Friedrich C. F., A Commentary on the Epistles of St. John, Section Eight, p. 249
 Acts of the Apostles 8:37; cf. Romans 14:1, 4; 1 John 5:1
 Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology: Vol. 2, The Nature of this Kingdom, p.607
 Barnes, Albert: New Testament Notes, op. cit., p. 4872
 Rothe, Richard: Exposition of the First Epistle of John, The Expository Times, November 1894, p. 88
 Meyer, Heinrich A. W., Critical and Exegetical Handbook on New Testament, op. cit., p. 811
 Cowles, Henry: The Gospel and Epistles of John: with Notes, p. 353
 1 John 4:20
 Ibid. 4:21
 Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s New Commentary on the Whole Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, Wheaton, IL, New Testament Volume, 1990, p. 728