THREE BEAR RECORD IN HEAVEN
“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). Since his glorious resurrection from the dead, the Lord Jesus Christ possesses all power “in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). In him “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). He is now sitting at the right hand of his “Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21) in heaven, till the Father makes his enemies his “footstool” (Psalm 110:1; Mark 12:36).
THREE BEAR WITNESS IN EARTH
“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 5:7-8). The three which bear witness in earth are unmistakably and precisely identified by the scriptures:
IDENTIFICATION AND MINISTRIES OF THE THREE WITNESSES
Inspiration is ‘the act of breathing into any thing. The infusion of ideas into the mind by the Holy Spirit,’ (Noah Webster, 1828): a ‘noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin inspirare “blow into, breathe upon,”’ (etymonline.com).
Life to the first man — When God created Adam (Genesis 1:27), he “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). When God breathed his Spirit into him, “The first man Adam was made a living soul” (1Corinthians 15:45).
New life to all believers — Jesus, “the Word of life” (1 John 1:1; John 1:1), declared to the unbelieving Jews: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
At the time of this great passing unto life, God delivers the believer “from the power of darkness” and translates him “into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). “Being born again [“born of the Spirit” (John 3:6, 8)], not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God [whose “words…are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63)], which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23), the believer receives “the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5); also, “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1Corinthians 12:13).
This is when, of his own will, God the Father “begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18). Being born again, the believer is now “a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
God’s witness within believers — “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit” (1John 4:13; 14:17). By the Spirit of Christ, God works in every submitted believer, “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). In his letter to the saints at Rome, the apostle Paul wrote: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). And in his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote: “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).
Obviously, the Lord knows all whom he has baptized into his body (1 Corinthians 12:13) with the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:11); and every born-again believer knows—by the permanent indwelling of “his Spirit,” that he is in Christ.
The Spirit moved men to write the scriptures — The Holy Bible, God’s “sure word of prophecy…came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God [prophets and apostles] spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:19-21). Therefore “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2Timothy 3:16-17).
He testifies of Jesus — Jesus said to his apostles, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).
He reproves the world — The Lord Jesus, speaking to his apostles of “the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost” (John 14:26), said unto them: “And when he is come, he will reprove [blame and charge] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:7-11). The singular sin of the world is unbelief: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
Regardless of how many good deeds a man may do, if he does not “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31) and receive “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:22), he “is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:18-19). If he does not repent and believe while he is yet alive in this world, he will be among all of the “unbelieving…[who], shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
But thankfully, as long as he is breathing God’s air, there is hope for him, for Jesus declared: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
He calls all men by the gospel — In reference to the scope of his gospel ministry in the world after his resurrection from the dead, the Lord Jesus declared: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth [to die on the cross for the sins of the world], will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). Already mentioned above, the Lord has sent the Comforter (the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ) into the world to reprove the world of sin. The Lord draws men to himself by his Spirit.
After his resurrection from the dead, the Lord Jesus said unto his apostles: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), for it is God’s will for “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4), and “the gospel of Christ…is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
After the Lord commanded them to go, “they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them [The gospel ministry is the joint effort of the Spirit, men, and the word of God.], and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:20). Men preach the gospel, and God’s Spirit calls men by the gospel: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
The substance and evidence of God’s word (Hebrews 11:1) — In this passage “water” signifies the holy scriptures. The word of God is “the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son” (1 John 5:9); it is “the record that God gave of his Son” (1 John 5:10). The scriptures declare that “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Born-again witnesses — The “blood” signifies “the witness of men” (1 John 5:9). On the day Jesus ascended back into heaven, he said to his apostles: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
God’s witnesses are commanded to be filled with the Spirit — The Lord Jesus declared to his disciples: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Therefore, since the words of God are spirit, it should be no surprise to us that when believers faithfully obey (James 1:22) the following two different and separate commandments, the results are almost identical!
Believers are commanded: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20). Believers are also commanded: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). The Lord Jesus told his apostles: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:7-8).
God’s word lights the way of the just man — “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)—knowing that “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way” (Psalm 37:23), prayed and asked the LORD: “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee” (Psalm 143:8; 119:5, 33). The psalmist—and every spirit filled man, will confidently testify to the LORD: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
The word of God commands and promises him: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). He knows that the man who trusts in man is cursed (Jeremiah 17:5-9), and that only a fool trusts in his own heart (Proverbs 28:26). Therefore, because he has walked in the light of God’s word, he can testify and thank God: “Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer” (Psalm 17:4).
SALVATION IS OF THE LORD
The very dangerous error of many disciples — I have personally witnessed in regular church services, in camp meetings, and in witnessing situations, a common practice of some believers that is very dangerous to the souls of men. The erring disciple asks the sinner or sinners to repeat a ‘salvation prayer’ after him. Then the disciple tells the sinner that he is saved, because he obeyed the scripture which says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). But the most important preceding verse in that same chapter of Romans is: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
While God confirms the immutability of his promises to believers by his word (Hebrews 6:17; Romans 15:8), no man has the knowledge to confirm the salvation of the soul of another! Yet many religions claim to do so! No doubt, many men who have trusted other men, have been cursed both in this life and eternally (Jeremiah 17:5). The believer’s confirmation of salvation is the ministry of God alone: “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit” (1 John 4:13). As a born again believer, “the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:4-8).
God’s will for his witnessing disciples — God’s will is for “all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26) to be his witnesses to the unsaved in “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4). God’s disciples witness by their “good works” (Matthew 5:16), by publishing God’s word (Psalm 68:11), by teaching and “instructing those that oppose themselves” (2 Timothy 2:24-26), and by preaching “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24); for the gospel of Christ “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
In his second letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul wrote: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:3-5). If we do not preach and teach the gospel, “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14-15).
ALL UNBELIEVERS ARE INVITED!
God’s will for the unsaved — The Lord is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9); therefore God “now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30), and “That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23).
God gives all sinners the power to receive Jesus Christ (John 1:11-13) — God makes it abundantly clear in his last invitation in the holy scriptures, that the eternal salvation or damnation your soul is YOUR CHOICE: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).