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The purpose of this explanation of Holy Scripture, is to show how both 1 John 5:7 and 5:8 do not speak of the man made doctrine known as the ‘trinity’.
Rather, verse 7 speaks of heaven and how God, Christ, and God’s Holy Spirit are unified (Christ serves God, the Holy Spirit comes from God – these do God’s will).
And verse 8 speaks of earth and how a successful baptism by believing in Christ is so important, and is thus to be sought after rather than the approval of men.
1 John 5:6
Before we begin, 1 John 5:6 will assist with reference for the subject verses – and so here is it briefly with its explanation;
This is he [(Christ/ Messiah)] that came by water and [his own] blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water [John’s Baptism (ref. Matthew 3:14)] and [his own faithfully observant] blood [by which he was obedient unto death and sinless (Hebrews 12:4, Isaiah 53:9)]. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness [as it even bore witness when it descended upon him at his water baptism (Luke 3:22)], because the Spirit is truth.
1 John 5:6 KJV (explanation in [brackets])
1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
1 John 5:7 KJV
Verse 7 here is written after Christ was resurrected.
It speaks of what is in heaven as being one – meaning; ‘united in purpose’;
Christ serves G-d and the Holy Spirit (G-d’s power) proceeds from God.
God and Christ are naturally unified in purpose, this is quite easy to grasp – as Christ serves God.
The Holy Spirit proceeds from God (John 15:26), and as it is G-d’s power (if you will), it also it naturally does the will of God – and thus is also one (unified) with God.
Any good works/fruit that come as a result of the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) in a believer’s life, are also indicitive that a believer is unified with God’s (the Father’s) will.
Lastly here, we know that this expression ‘…these three are one.’ means unified in overall purpose – as we see that believers can also be one (unified) as God and Christ are one (unified);
‘that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you….’
(John 17:21 NIV)
As believers can all be one just as God and Christ are one, this means we are not speaking of the in correct man made doctrine known as the ‘trinity’.
1 John 5:8
And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
1 John 5:8 KJV
Verse 7 was speaking of what is in heaven. Verse 8 is now speaking of what is on earth, and encourages us to seek it – and that is a fruitful baptism.
If we explain the three elements in dot points that are presented here in verse 8 they are;
• the Spirit –
The Holy Spirit is present at or before baptism in a believer (Mark 1:10, Acts 10:44-48).
• the water –
The water is necessary for baptism, however unlike standard bathing or even John the Baptists baptism – by believing in the next element (Christ), one may obtain the first element (the Holy Spirit) for newness (Matthew 3:11, 1 Peter 3:21).
• the blood –
The blood represents a person believing that God raised the Lord Jesus (Yehoshua/Yeshua) Christ (Messiah) from the dead. (Romans 10:9-10 ESV).
The next verse (v.9) then goes on to support this by saying that the testimony of men is not what is important;
If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son.
1 John 5:9 ESV
This is referring to yearning for acceptance among men – namely the devout unbelieving orthodox Jews, as not being what a person should strive for or value (e.g. in a similar fashion to how Galatians 4:9, 4:17, 6:12 describes Pharisees who try to destabilise new believers, and try have them put their confidence in their deeds as opposed to in Christ whilst they uphold their deeds).
Rather, the testimony of G-d is greater. It includes the new heart and spirit, and so a fruitful baptism by believing in Christ is what is to be sought, as it is condisive of appealing for such goodness (1 Peter 3:21).
Verse 10 then confirms this even further, by stating that the testimony of Christ (that a person believes in Christ) is found within a believer – and this speaks of both the newness (heart, spirit) found believing in Christ (Ezekiel 36:26-27, 2 Cor 5:17), which expresses itself in fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) and deeds (Romans 3:31 ESV, Matt 5:19).
This is also spoken of in verse 5, where a person can only overcome the world (which means to overcome slavery to sins – public or private), with God’s Holy Spirit (Rom 8:13).
This verse also thus states that a person who does not believe, will not have said fruit or deeds – at least in Spirit and truth (John 4:24), and despite this, will sadly still be a slave to their sinful desires.
This confirmation of how 1 John 5:8 is about fruitful baptism (an instruction Mtt 28:19-20, Mark 16:16) and in turn about a person believing in Christ – is spoken of up to the end of verse 13.
For sake of fuller context, people can be born again prior to baptism, such as the example of Cornelius in Acts 10-11, however faithful baptism still remains a type of seal for a believer (Mark 16:16).
Hoping it is of help.
May the Holy G-d bless you beyond maximum, believing in His risen Son the Lord Jesus Christ (Adonai Yehoshua HaMoshiach). Amen.