1 John 5:4-13

The conquering power. Testimony concerning Jesus Christ.

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4Everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith5Now who is the person who has conquered the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5)
So far, it appears that I have been critical of nearly all of John's writing. But in this case, I almost agree with him. Because he's not talking about what we need to do to be saved, but rather about Him who can give us eternal life. I'll explain why I don't completely agree with John.

We have nothing we can do to be saved because:

For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law (Romans 3:20)

“This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith,” John appears to agree with the writer of Romans. This “faith” is further qualified by John as “the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

However, I do not believe that simply believing that Jesus is the Son of God is sufficient, because even demons believe this (James 2:19; Acts 16:16-18). Faith in Christ entails abandoning one’s reliance on the works of the law to achieve God’s righteousness and coming to believe that only Christ’s death on the cross for sins can reconcile us with God.


6Jesus Christ is the one who came by water and blood – not by the water only, but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.’ 7For there are three that testify, 8the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three are in agreement. 9If we accept the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, because this is the testimony of God that he has testified concerning his Son. (10The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has testified concerning his Son.) 11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life. 13I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:6-13)

In verses 6–10, John explains how the testimony about Jesus works. But the whole thing felt like an alphabet soup that I’m not sure I understand. However, I’d like to concentrate on some key concepts in verses 11 through 13: eternal life is in Christ, and it is available to those who believe in his name.

Again, I do not believe that this requirement for eternal life is sufficient for the same reason that even demons believe in the name of God’s Son (James 2:19; Acts 16:16-18). I’d like to refer back to the previous section’s final paragraph about faith in Christ.

Nghi Nguyen

- Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion on the topic, which does not necessarily reflect the church's theology, or beliefs of the individuals in it — Nghi Nguyen

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