1 John 5The Christ; the promised Messiah. Compare Matt. 1:16, and note. The meaning is, Whosoever truly and from his heart receives Jesus as his Redeemer, and obeys him as such, is born of God; that is, this new spirit of mind is formed in him by divine power.—Him that begat; the Father.—Him also that is begotten; the Son.
Grievous, oppressive and impracticable.
Overcometh the world. By being born of God, he is endued with a spirit which enables him to rise above the world, and resist its allurements to sin.
Not by water only, &c. Water is the symbol of purification,—blood, that of an atonement. The meaning, therefore, is, that this is he who came not only to imbue the heart with future purity and holiness, but to atone for its sins.
Whether that portion of these two verses, beginning with the words in heaven, and ending with in earth, properly belongs here, has long been a subject of dispute. The controversy respecting the triune nature of the Godhead, arose in a very early period of the church, and it is supposed that, in the unhallowed heat of it, this passage was either inserted without authority in some copies, by one party, or omitted by the other. The reason for this supposition is, that the ancient manuscripts which have come down to us, disagree, the passage being found in some of them, while it was wanting in others. The preponderating sentiment among biblical scholars is against its genuineness.—Agree in one; agree in bearing witness to one,—that is, to Christ.
In himself; in his heart,—in the moral change which has been effected in him.
There is a sin unto death; that is, there is an extreme of inveterate and outrageous hostility to God, which transcends all bounds, and leaves no hope of reformation and pardon. This most solemn declaration of the apostle corresponds with what the Savior expressly taught, and what his terrible denunciations against hardened and determined offenders often implied. (Compare Matt. 12:31, 32, Mark 3:28-30, Matt. 23:29-36, and note.)
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