By Terry Kirby
Senior Pastor of Alpha Baptist Church, Morristown
Focal Passage: I John 5:6-13
It is believed that the purchase of the first life insurance policy can be traced back to London in 1583. The buyer’s name was William Gybbon. The seller’s name is not known but the beneficiary was Richard Martin. When Mr. Gybbon died, his claim was paid after a dispute was settled in court.
Can you imagine how difficult it would have been to sell the first life insurance policy? Mr. Gybbon might have asked, “You want me to believe that if I give you some money now that you will give even more money to Richard Martin when I die?” Mr. Gybbon would have really had to trust the seller to give the benefit to the beneficiary upon his death. At the time there was no evidence or testimonies of how other beneficiaries were paid. Now that is trust.
Believing that there is a heaven and a hell also requires a great amount of trust. The passage that is the focus of our study is found in I John 5:6-13. These verses give testimonies concerning the reality of heaven and hell. John declares the promise of going to heaven or hell depends upon one’s relationship with Jesus Christ. John wants the reader to place his or her trust in this promise based upon testimonies.
In verse six, John declares that “Jesus is the One who came by water and blood.” The understanding of “water” and “blood” is that the water refers to Jesus’ baptism and the blood to Jesus’ death on the cross. Matthew 3:17 states that after Jesus came up out of the water after His baptism that God said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” God Himself gave testimony that identified Jesus as His Son. While Jesus was on the cross, God remained silent, but Jesus was on public display fulfilling the words of the prophet, from God, about His death.
John also mentions the Holy Spirit as one who testifies concerning truth about Jesus Christ. John concludes this section in verse nine by stating that source on the testimonies of the Spirit, the water, and the blood all originate with God and are the truth.
In verses 10-11 John adds the “believer” to the trio of testimonies above. Each one, who has confessed sin, repented, and turned to Jesus as Lord has a testimony within them. John contrasts the “non-believer,” the one who believes God to be a liar, with the “believer” in Jesus Christ. The testimony of the believer is that God has given the believer eternal life.
In verses 12-13, John speaks boldly in plain language concerning those who have life (eternal life in heaven) and those who do not have life (eternal life in hell). Life in Jesus is not just in heaven, it begins after acceptance of Jesus as Lord. Heaven is only reserved for those who have Jesus. To have Jesus means that a person has been forgiven of sin by grace of God through faith.
For those who do not have Jesus they are described as not having life. This person, although alive, lives with no hope or joy. Also, the reality of hell is that it is no life at all. There is no life when one is separated from God.
The last verse in this section sums up John’s entire purpose for writing this letter. John desires that all who believe in Jesus as Lord know that they have eternal life with God in heaven. That should be every believer’s desire.
— Kirby is senior pastor of Alpha Baptist Church, Morristown.