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There are a lot of folk around today claiming to tell us what God is saying, right now. The implication being that what He has said in His Word is somehow deficient for the things we face in our place and time. That God needs to give us something more up-to-date. More relevant. Perhaps keeping more in step with the flow of culture.
What seems to be missing in that line of thinking is that God Himself lives outside of time. He is not bound by our place and time. And that what He has spoken already has eternal relevance, for it speaks past the things which so easily catch our eye – to the things of transcendent importance.
Reading the Messianic promise of Psalm 132; the dark pronouncements on Israel’s sin in Ezekiel 20:1-24:14; the self-revelation of Jesus in John 5:18-29 and then the testimony of God in 1 John 5:6-21 – all work to make us relevant to what God is about – not trying to make Him relevant to us. And in righting that upside understanding, He gives us His context for life.
This is Through the Word in 2020. I’m Reid Ferguson.
The place where our minds most commonly go when we hear the word “testimony”, is to a court of law. Rightly so. When someone is on trial for any cause, witnesses are called to give testimony as to what they know first hand regarding the case before them. And their witness, their testimony must be germane to this case.
It is a curious use of words then that in 1 John 5:9, God Himself is said to give testimony. What could possibly be so important that God must bear witness to something? Indeed, it should prod us to consider God’s testimony about things the most important things to be known. That should be self-evident. So what is it that is just so important?
Simply this: Who Jesus is.
Nothing in all the cosmos is more important for an individual, for the entire human race and all of creation to know aright – than who Jesus really is. And here, we’re told that God’s testimony regarding Jesus comes to us in 3 ways: “For there are 3 that testify” (vs. 7) which vs. 9 summarizes as “the testimony of God.” The Spirit, the water and the blood. 3 things which when taken together establish once and for all the identity, the person and the work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The Water: Jesus came in the likeness of sinful man, and as a man was baptized in identification with us. The testimony of the incarnation in the waters of baptism.
The Blood: And this same Jesus died for us on the Cross. Fulfilling all of the Old testament types and shadows which pointed to a substitutionary sacrifice for sins. Jesus was numbered among us in baptism, though He came from Heaven. And in that union, died, taking the wrath of God against our sins in Himself. Shedding His own blood on our behalf.
The Spirit: The Spirit testified to this in raising Him from the dead. As Rom. 1:4 says Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by His resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.” And by which Spirit being poured out on us and indwelling us, we know beyond any shadow of a doubt who He is.
This, God finds the most important thing of all to give testimony about. And in the light of it, how everything else around us pales in comparison. So the question is – do you believe Him? For: “Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Nothing, is more eternally and perpetually relevant than that.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.