The Spirit, and the water, and the blood

Posted: April 29, 2019 in Deity of Jesus Christ, Shared Thoughts
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Note: This post is actually a response to a Brother who asked me to consider a perspective he was reasoning about 1st John 5:8 below. The following is my reply.

For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one. (ASV)

I must say, I’m not sure you could have picked a more widely interpreted verse to endeavor to expound upon. To borrow a somewhat-paraphrase comment which is often used by commentator Adam Clarke, who regularly shares freely the views of other scholars along with his own, that I too am obliged to acknowledge that “When such learned men are not in agreement, who can boldly attest to their own being correct?” However, I will present my personal convictions, as well as how I personally share and reason these verses in 1st John with others.

First, I must present my perspective on John’s first epistle; in that it seems obvious that it isn’t a letter like his 2nd and 3rd epistles written to specific people. Rather, 1st John appears to written as a thesis presenting “The Doctrine of Christ” to the Church in general, as it such is referred to in Hebrews 6:1, as well as the righteous obligation of all in response to the foundation of their salvation in that God gave His only begotten Son for the atonement of their sins.

Hebrews 6:1 – Therefore, leaving the principles of the Doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.

This “Doctrine of Christ” isn’t a reference to the things which Jesus Christ Himself taught, as that would be in plural, i.e., doctrines/teachings. This reference being made by the Apostle Paul is clearly to a single “doctrine,” and that being the doctrine/teaching about Christ Jesus Himself, specifically defining both who and what He was .

The answer is He was the only begotten Son of God, who was 100% man and also 100% God, an earthen vessel of humanity that had the Spirit without measure, for in Him dwelt the fullness of divinity.

The reason Apostle John wrote this thesis was to warn the Church that even in his day there were “many false prophets [teachers which] are gone out into the world” that had “went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us. But they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

The apostle warns us that these false teachers are “antichrists,” because they were teaching what the Apostle Paul clearly said was “another Jesus, whom we have not preached,” and it was of “another spirit;” which in the context of Paul’s warning may have been in reference to an angel some may refer to as being sent to Christians to gain healing or power. This has been done by many throughout history, and we have the more recent false prophets such as Joseph Smith who founded Mormonism, and Todd Bentley with his angel “Emma.” Such nonsense is assuredly what the Apostle stated was “another gospel” that is false and therefore powerless to save men from their sins.

2nd Corinthians 11:4 – For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.

The latter part of that verse is understood differently by some, as if Paul was berating the Corinthians (who he indeed acknowledge as being carnal believers) in that they would tolerate such false teachers, but I believe what he was asserting is that they would do well to continue with him, meaning Paul himself, who had laid the foundation by teaching them the Doctrine of Christ, for he immediately follow with asserting “For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.”

1st Corinthians 3:11 – For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Those false teachers in the apostles’ days were teaching all sorts of various heresies, such as, Jesus was not truly born, rather His birth was merely an illusion of sorts. Or, that He was just a regular man who at the time of His baptism had the Spirit of God come on Him and at that point He became the Christ, but not the God-man. There are volumes of heresies concerning Jesus Christ, such as the Jehovah Witnesses asserting that Jesus was the Archangel Michael who came into the world, a “mighty god,” but not the Almighty Jehovah; or even like New Agers who insist Jesus was but just one of many “ascended masters.”

However, the Apostle John is very clear that “Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” It is a very critical part of the Doctrine of Christ, that Jesus Christ was “born of a virgin” and had truly come in the flesh, as you referenced with Hebrews 2:14-17 below –

Hebrews 2:14 – Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

This is also why 1st John starts with “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life, (For the life was manifested [in the flesh], and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

It is noteworthy how both the Gospel of John and this epistle both start with the assertion of truth that Jesus Christ was from ‘the beginning” and was both “light” and “life” which became “flesh” and was “seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, …the Word of life.”

Concerning the “water and blood,” I personally believe they are simply referencing to His humanity in regards to both His birth and death. For the Apostle in his gospel quotes Jesus speaking to Nicodemus as saying, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” To which Nicodemus responds, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (I know you know these verses, but for the sake of clarity I feel I should go through them.) For then Jesus responds with “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

However, I would also at this point like to make the assertion of scripture clear here that the being “born again,” while clearly being referencing to the spirit and not the flesh, that it is not insinuating that men are first born only in the flesh, and need a second birth of the spirit. No, but rather that all men when born, are indeed born both of flesh and spirit. However, at that age when they willfully and knowingly sin, and purposefully do that which they in truth know is not right for whatever self-serving reason, that at that point the Spirit of God departs from their spirit and they die spiritually, just as did Adam. At that point, they must be of the spirit “born AGAIN.”

For a scriptural foundation for this I will first use the Apostle John’s authority and testimony as an apostle, for he clearly states that Jesus was “the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world,” and “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

What exactly does that mean? Well, the word of God is clear that “The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD,” and when God’s Spirit is within that man, the man’s spirit is lit; and God’s Spirit then works to make that person a partaker of Christ divine nature by “searching all the inward parts of the [the man’s] belly,” (Proverbs 20:27).

Such is why scripture state that “The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.” Or as Job stated, “How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft comes their destruction upon them!” and, “Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle [think flesh/body – as how Peter referenced his own knowing “that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle”] and his [the wicked’s] candle shall be put out with him.” And another verse, “For there shall be no reward to the evil man, the candle of the wicked shall be put out.”

Plus, the Apostle Paul testifies he was spiritually alive before he sin both willfully and knowingly, for he says, “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came [to my understanding and I willfully chose to sin, then] sin revived [gained power], and I died. And the commandment, [just like the one “You shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die] which was ordained to [preserve] life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is indeed the law. For the law, when transgressed, declares that the transgressor is no longer guiltless before God, or compatible with God: for the transgressor has made a choice that is in disagreement with God and thus God in His righteousness and holiness must depart… and so the candle [spirit of man] is put out.

Amos 3:3 – Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Thus, that individual must be re-lit by the Life/Light of God who alone has immortality. Being “born AGAIN” is simply having one’s spirit/candle re-lit by having their spirit reunited with God’s Holy Spirit.

However, before that can happen, a person must confess their sins and repent; which is coming back into agreement with God that “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting [restoring] the soul, and the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” That all “the statutes of the LORD are right, …the commandment of the LORD is pure,” and “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever,” and “the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.”

Accordingly, by confessing one’s sin and their repenting, it is a returning of them back into agreement with all the above; and because Jesus was a partaker of our humanity, being in truth a “flesh and blood” man, His death and blood become the satisfaction of the Law that requires “death” as a reward for sin, and His shed blood becomes a propitiation/payment-in-full where by the sinners tabernacle/body can now be re-inhabited by God’s Spirit which joins Himself to man’s spirit/the candle of the Lord.

This is why the Doctrine of Christ teaches that Jesus came into the world when He was truly born of water (birth-process) and was indeed a 100% flesh and blood man.

Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23 – Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Galatians 4:4 – But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

And that “Son,” that man child prophesied by God Himself to Eve at the very first sin and spiritual deaths, was in fact “The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Those who truly serve Him with a faith that works by love are looking “for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

However, as the Apostle John stated in 1st John 5:8, “the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, these three agree in one.” And to me, this agreement is not only a testimony of His birth, but of His death as well; for some has asserted Jesus did not truly die, and therefore never really resurrected. But when “one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His [Jesus’] side, forthwith came there out blood and water,” of which some say was fluid/water that had filled His lungs. However, I believe there is room to accept as true that due to his having been dead for hours at this time, that His blood had begun to coagulate and the plasma and red blood cells had already separated significantly; and therefore this “water and blood” was sovereignly openly revealed as a witness to prophecy and scripture; that God had given His Son’s life as a ransom for humanity’s sin.

This “water and blood” that flowed from Jesus’ side, be it specifically  what the Apostle John is referencing or not, nonetheless agrees with the Spirit and scripture that “Surely He had borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” for it “pleased the LORD to bruise Him,  for He had put Him to grief… [and made] His soul an offering for sin.” For, as a man, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,” and surely “the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed [reconciled to God].”  All this because when we willfully chose to do what we truly knew was wrong, we died spiritually and became separated for God. Thus, because we “like sheep” willfully went “astray” and “we had turned everyone to his own way, the LORD had laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Because of our sins, He as a flesh and blood man willingly “was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He is [was] brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, and yet He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment” and “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” because He willingly gave His “back to the smiters, and” and His “cheeks to them that plucked off the hair,” nor did He hide His “face from shame and spitting.”

All this He did “for the joy that was set before Him” when He “endured the cross, despising the shame” all that He might bring “many sons [and daughters] unto glory” when He as a man, “the captain of their salvation,” was “made perfect through sufferings” and made perfect atonement for us. Thus, we are asked, “and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living, and for the transgression of My people was He stricken.”

Let me say as one of the redeemed of the Lord Jesus Christ, that I will declare His generation. I will testify of Him and His indwelling Spirit and Life, for this man, the man Jesus Christ, He died for my reconciliation, and I now live with my candle re-lit simply because He rose again and now lives in Me. I agreed and confessed I was a sinner and repented, and He has covenanted with me to make me a saint.

So, brother, is the “by water” a reference to Jesus coming as a cloud, either upon Mount Sinai or upon the Tabernacle, or as water out of the Rock (of which scriptures say He was the Rock, and not the water), perhaps. But I ask you this, is all that any greater, or meatier of truth, than God being manifested in the flesh, becoming lower than the angels, and giving Himself as a Lamb for our sins?

I think not. Glory in the cross my friend. For I live to testify it is all true, that He loved me and gave Himself for me, that as a man He willingly died in order to save me from my sins. So, with that, I leave you with two last verses –

Isaiah 57:15 – For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive [relight] the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

2 Corinthians 4:6 – For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Live for the Resurrected King of Glory!!

For it will make it easier to die for Him.

 

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