The Water and the Blood

or The New Commandment

1 John 5: 1-12   |   Sermon Notes   |   17 June 2012


Jewish Christians were first opposed by unbelieving Jews, then by Jews who said they believed. Members of this latter group are called “Judaizers,” and they were the false teachers whom the apostles condemn in their letters.

Not only did these men pervert the gospel by including adherence to the Law of Moses, they also failed to keep the commandments of Jesus. This was Pharisaism dressed up in Christianity, the old leaven carried into the new age. The Pharisees loved to control people, while they failed to control themselves. This is the context of John’s letters to Jewish Christians: despite their profession, these men would be exposed by their lack of of certain things in their character.

1    Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

  • The first “child” we love is Jesus. The Jews claimed, and still claim, that they love God, but hate Jesus. John says this is impossible. One cannot love Japan and show disrespect to a Japanese ambassador. Jesus was sent by the Father, and did only what the Father asked Him to do. He spoke the Father’s words. To reject Jesus is to reject the Father — and to replace Him with an idol of our own making.
  • First century Judaism became a “doctrine of devils,” and it remains demonic today. In Galatians, Paul refers to it as witchcraft. Judaism is rebellion against Christ and is thus rebellion against the very God of the Jews. (However, when they convert, Jews usually become remarkable Christians.)

2    This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

  • And if we love the firstborn, we will love God’s other children, whether we actually like them or not. And if we don’t, the Spirit will be calling us to do so. True Christians know how much they have been forgiven and will be forgiving. Those who refuse, and continually harden their hearts, are most likely not born again.

3    In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

  • Christians keep God’s commands not because they are terrified of God, but because they both love and fear Him as a father. We fear discipline from God, but we also come to understand how much we hurt Him when we sin, and what it cost Him to cover that sin in Christ.

4    for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

  • What does this mean? It means that any pain can be born if there is a great reward to be had on the other side of it. A mother endures childbirth for the sake of a child. Jesus bore the cross for the sake of plundering the devil’s house of its captives.
  • So, the faith spoken of is faith in the promise God makes of what is on the other side of suffering. We take His word for it and endure until what we heard becomes visible to our eyes. Overcoming the world means not believing what the world says, and not believing our eyes. Faith looks at ruins and sees a new house based on the blueprint in the promises of God.

5    Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

  • Our faith is based on the fact that Jesus overcame the world. Christians persevere, even when threatened with death, because Jesus, as the Son of God, overcame death.
  • The period between AD30 and 70 was characterized by the rivalry between the testimony of Jesus and the testimony of the Jewish rulers. Would it be the Temple or the Church which survived the tribulation? Only one of them “overcame.” Likewise, only the true believers persevered to the end.

6    This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

  • This point is where I twigged that in this passage John is working his way very subtly through the Ten Commandments. John is up to “false witness.” Two or three witnesses were required for God to make a judgment. Remember the witnesses against Cain? And Sodom? And the false witnesses brought to testify against Jesus? Here we have the water and the blood as witnesses, and the third witness is the Spirit, who unites the water and the blood. But why is it water and blood?
  • Water and blood are both liquids required for life. One comes out of the body and one goes into the body. The Jews were the blood, the circumcision, the genealogy of Christ, the Land rising out of the water. The Gentiles were the water, the baptism, the office of Christ, brought into the household of faith in the first century to bring new life to the Old Covenant body. The body of Christ is one new man, made up of Jew and Gentile, blood and water.
  • Jew and Gentile had been separated in Abraham as “Land and Sea.” [1] Water and blood poured out of Jesus’ body when He was speared. Being separate, they were two witnesses that He was dead. But they were reunited in His resurrection body. The old division was torn down. The last sacrificial blood was shed, and now there is only “office.” Genealogy no longer matters. Baptism wipes out all heredity and confers basic Christian office upon all believers.
  • Why it is not “blood and water”? The water ended Jesus’ perfect life and began His earthly ministry. The blood completed that ministry. So it’s:
    Circumcision (blood) > Baptism (water); Atonement (blood) > Ascension (water)

7    For there are three that testify:
8    the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

  • Unlike the witnesses against Jesus, the witness of Jesus’ baptism and Jesus’ death both corroborate the story of His identity. Not only did the Spirit testify at His baptism, it testified at His resurrection. He came up out of the water, then came up out of the Land.
  • The process is actually blood to water: Circumcision to baptism, death to resurrection. But it is the baptism and death in the centre here that John has in mind. If Jesus was only baptized but not resurrected, He would have been a false teacher.

9    We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.

  • The Spirit not only witnessed to Jesus’ sonship in history, His testimony continues in us now.

10    Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.

  • Christians believe the Spirit’s legal witness, and that is why Christians gather as further witnesses, even though we are not eyewitnesses.

11    And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

  • Our very life is a testimony to the truth of the Gospel, because the Spirit is making us like Jesus. And now God says of us, as He did of Jesus, that we are “beloved sons.”

12    Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

  • Here we have the inside/outside of the new household of God. Only those inside Christ, inside the ark, inside the passover household, are safe.

The Ten Commandments in 1 John 5:1-12

  1. Worshipping the True God
  2. Responding faithfully to the New Covenant Oath — Jesus’ name
  3. Overcoming the world brings Sabbath rest
  4. Honouring father and mother (God and church) because Jesus is the Son of God
  5. Water and blood testify to the murder of Jesus
  6. The Spirit of Jesus is not “strange fire,” or spiritual adultery
  7. The Spirit unites water and blood into Kingdom (Adam believed a lie and stole kingdom)
  8. We accept God’s testimony, in the cursing and blessing of His Son
  9. Eternal life is a new house
  10. Whoever believes is in that new house [2]


[1] See Cosmic Language.
[2] I follow the ancient Jewish “scroll” division of the Ten Words, followed by St. Augustine, because it fits the Bible Matrix. See Bible Matrix II: The Covenant Key, chapter 4, “God-In-A-Box.”

Art: Land, Sea Alchemy by Lisette, Textile Seahorse

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