I John 5: 18-21 Sermon

Subject — Affirmations
Theme — The final affirmations of John

Proposition – The final affirmations of John reminds of three basic fundamentals to the Christian faith he has been laboring to teach in his Epistle

Purpose — Therefore having considered these final affirmations let us take to heart these matters so that we might find ourselves ever more exulting in our Christian faith

Re-cap of Chapter 5

The subject of this Chapter has been that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. This theme is teased out in Chapter 5 when he begins by stressing the unity that exists between God and the believer as engendered by faith in Christ. Believers in Jesus Christ overcome the world and they reveal their love for God — a love engendered by faith in Christ — by their love for the Brethren, by their obedience to God’s commands.

John has told us that Jesus Christ came with the authority of Baptism (water) and shedding of blood (Cross). These were both events given the imprimatur of God’s voice. Not only do we have the testimony of Spirit, water and blood but we have the testimony of heaven. All this testimony confirms that Jesus is the Christ and has need to be received by men. Some men reject this testimony, thus making God out to be a liar, and some accept the testimony and are filled personally with the content of that testimony which is eternal life, so that the testimony of God is in them.

We have the assurance that God hears our prayers as we ask according to his will. Part of our prayer life includes asking for the Brother who has fallen into sin, though John tells us that there are those who are beyond the effectiveness of our prayers for them. John closes the chapter with a series of Affirmations and one vital admonition.

In his closing remarks John summarizes three facts that he has covered. He begins each of these summary statements with the phrase, “We know,”

It is interesting that he thus casts the Christian faith in terms of the understanding. By recapitulating what he has said he brings them back to a kind of Catechism. The Christian life is the life of the mind, of knowing. If we have no interest in knowing God, knowing the great truths of our Christian faith then we would be better served by calling ourselves something besides “Christian.”

I.) Affirmation #1 — The Christian Life Is Not Characterized By Habitual Determined Sinfulness (18, cmp. 3:6, 9)

As we have learned this affirmation may have need to be repeated by John because of the immorality of the Gnostics who, because of their belief system, were not concerned with the sins characterized by satiating lust and fleshly desires.

That John does not mean that the Christian never sins is seen by his reminder that if we sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin. John is not dealing with the Christian who realizes he sins every day in word, thought, or deed, but he is warning against the kind of Christianity that is unconcerned about sin.

What John says here, is parallel w/ what Paul says when in Romans 6 he talks about being raised to newness of life.

A.) Hallmark of the Christian Community is that having been saved from Sin by Christ it distinguishes itself by its increasing, though never arrived at, Christ-likeness

It is interesting that more and more I see Churches selling themselves by advertising that their gathering is safe because it is a haven for sinners. And it is true that the Church should be a safe haven for sinners. However, the sense I often get from some who go by the name of “New Calvinists” that sinning is not something we should sweat about since we are righteous in Christ.

These folks take offense at Christians that articulate that the Christian life looks like something that resembles the ever increasing obedience of and respect for God’s commands. These new Calvinists have so redefined sanctification that if it exists it becomes largely immeasurable, unknowable, and unseen. I can not help but think that they would be put off with John’s call to not sin and to keep God’s commands.

This New Calvinism focuses hard on Christ’s work for us emphasizing that all our obedience will arise from that and there is truth in that idea but obedience can’t flow from Christ’s work if the believer isn’t told from God’s word what obedience looks like. And this is where new Calvinism falls down rather definitively. New Calvinism doesn’t want to explain to people what the Christian life looks like so that John’s affirmation “the believer does not habitually sin” looks like something concrete.

The Church ought to be a safe haven — a hospital — for sinners. A safe haven and hospital for recovering sinners where the elixir of eternal life is given in word and sacrament. But, as we’ve seen in 1st John it is a place where God’s people are instructed that they are to love the Brethren and they are to keep God’s commands and where they are told that Christians do not involve themselves in habitual . It is a place where God’s people are to be encouraged to put off the old man and put on the new man. It is a place where the foundation of doctrine (indicative) is laid and the path of duty (imperative is pointed towards).

So, when we sell the Church as a “safe haven for sinners,” without also mentioning that we look for sinners to become progressively incrementally more healthy we are involved in false advertising for the Church.

Why do Churches do this?

No one can say for sure but it should be observed that such advertising and soft pedaling on sin makes it comparatively easier to build big churches and take in large offerings. If God’s law, as a guide to life for the Redeemed sinner, isn’t articulated, and if sin isn’t closely defined then people will have no reason to quit attending or quit giving.

B.) This Christian life is not one of habitual determined sin because Christ keeps His people (John 17:12, 15)

That Christ keeps His people doesn’t mean that His people don’t sin. That Christ keeps His people doesn’t mean that His people don’t struggle with besetting sins. That Christ keeps His people means that He gives them a regard for sanctification.

Text — “He who is born of God” (Does this refer to Christ who keeps us, or does this refer to the believer who keeps himself.

The word touch means to harm or injure a person

This text also reminds of the preserving power of God for His people. Being born of God we are sealed unto the day of redemption. We can be confident, not because of our holiness, or our ability (those would be very foolish things to place confidence in) but we can be confident because that God, of whom we are born, is the God who keeps us until the very end. (Perseverance of the saints).

II.) Affirmation #2 — We Know That There Is A Difference Between “Us,” & “Them” (19)

Mankind is divided into two great parties or special interest groups, those which belong to God and those which belong to the world (those in Adam).

Scripture teaches that God’s people are His portion and that he has made Jacob His inheritance (Dt. 32:9), while the rest seek to throw off his chains. Those opposed to God are not all equal in their depravity and so not all as epistemologically self-conscious in their hatred towards God (I John 5:10) and God’s people but there is this divide, this antithesis of which we must be constantly aware.

“whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”

This is another way of saying that those who are outside of Christ are under the dominion of Satan. It is not saying that the world belongs to Satan. Satan can not lay claim to creating and owning the Cosmos, though he can lay claim to holding sway over all those in Adam.

Yet, though the world lies in the sway of the wicked one we know that this same wicked one has been bound and despoiled of his goods (Matthew 12:29f) by virtue of the Lord Christ’s bringing of the Kingdom through His death on the Cross. Jesus has come to drive out the wicked one and Jesus claims the world now which rightfully belongs to God. We, who have been born of God, are the first fruits of those who have been delivered from this present evil age but we anticipate that the Kingdoms of this world becoming the Kingdoms of our Lord precisely because they are already His Kingdoms.

However, we must keep in mind that there is a antithesis between believer and unbeliever.

Further it would be wise to understand that with the passage of time the antithesis becomes more and more pronounced. Those in Christ go on in Christ-likeness and those outside of Christ become increasingly consistent in being under the sway of the wicked one.

III.) Affirmation #3 — The Son Has Come And Has Given Us Understanding

The idea of “Him who is true.” (True in opposition to what is fictitious)

Given us understanding — Christian doctrine of illumination
Given us understanding — Christianity as the life of the mind
Given us understanding — Eternal life is wrapped up, not in experience, not in emotion, but in knowing God

Dispute regarding text — How are the pronouns to be read

Application — Lack of emphasis on knowing God in the contemporary Church as seen in the despising of Catechisms and Confessions.

“In Him who is true” — Spiritual Union of Christ with the Body (Head & Members) Pneumatology / Christology

IV.) Exhortation — Idols

It may be that John’s reminding them of being given the understanding of the true God leads Him to the final Imperative.

False gods
False conceptions of God

Remember what he is fighting are those who are selling false conceptions of Jesus Christ (Gnostics) and so false conceptions of God.

Of course the temptation to idolatry has always been the bane of God’s people. Calvin could say that the human heart was an idol factory. We are forever prone to make God out of just about anything — even the best of things which are ruined because we turn them into idols, esteeming the gift more than the giver.


What are our Idols?



The encouraging matter of all this is that while we may be convicted of our idolatry tendencies that God promises His people that they will continue to look to Christ for forgiveness and will continue to be renewed so that we are more and more God centered and less and less self and idol centered.

Purpose statement.

The Pursuit To Eliminate National Sovereignty In Favor Of Internationalism

‎”We are at present working discreetly but with all our might, to wrest this mysterious force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local national states of our world. And all the time we are denying with our lips what we are doing w/ our hands, because to impugn the sovereignty of the local national states of the world is still a heresy for which a statesman or a publicist can be, perhaps not quite burned at the stake, but certainly ostracized and discredited.”

Arnold Toynbee
Spoken in a Toynbee Lecture from 1931

One can go as far back as the Congress of Vienna to find a movement to create a Global Order where national sovereignty would be a matter of the past. Of course, this movement gained steam in the 20th century with the “League of Nations” and later the United Nations. In our time the pressure is increasing to strip nations (especially of the West) of their sovereignty.

This article,


examines how Greece is on the cusp of losing its national sovereignty to the European Union.

Also, the international flow of both legal and illegal immigration is intended to strip nations of their sovereignty by turning all Western nations into universal nations, that is nations without a identifiable cultural core. A nation that has no cultural core is a nation ripe to be amalgamated into the New World order that is being pursued by the money interest.

A close look at United Nations projects like “Agenda 21” also reveal the Toynbee push towards the reduction of national sovereignty.

One great need of the time is for more people to turn off their college sports game, or their “American Idol,” and come to terms with the fact that there is a great push going on currently to destroy national sovereignty. This pursued destruction of national sovereignty implies the destruction of family units since nations cannot be destroyed without families being destroyed.

Neither A Borrower Nor A Lender Be … Or … Rabbi Bret Contra Darryl Gnostic Hart

Over at Old Life blog, Darryl Gnostic Hart inks a response to an earlier post of mine taking him to task over his inconsistencies. He titles his article,

Rabbi Bret Borrowing Capital from Those 2k Swiss Bank Accounts

One wonders if Darryl’s choice of Bank Accounts in Switzerland for his title was a Freudian slip as Switzerland is famous for its neutrality.

I really would prefer if Darryl would refer to me as, “Your Eminence,” but “Rabbi Bret,” will have to do until Darryl is cleansed from his Jewish inclinations.

In his article D. G. (“G” is for Gnostic) Hart writes,

On the one hand, I am touched that the good Rabbi would devote ten-plus paragraphs to refuting a minor question I raised about epistemological self-consciousness. On the other hand, I am hurt that Bret shows more charity to Ron Paul than to me. Despite the crusty and vinegary exterior, I am really a pussy cat in person, without claws — the effects perhaps of living with cats for more than two decades — and not to be missed I can cry with the best of them, being the son of a private first-class Marine who was a weeper. I try to console myself that Bret is only opposed to 2k as a set of ideas; he does not dislike (all about) me.

We learn from this paragraph that Darryl and I share life with cats in common. I always figured if cats were good enough for the Egyptians they were good enough for me. I don’t know what drives Darryl’s fondness.

In terms of my sentiments for Darryl on a personal level it is as Michael Corleone said to his Brother Sonny,

“It’s not personal, Darryl. It’s strictly business.

Darryl writes in his post,

Still, the tolerance that anti-2kers show to non-Reformed Protestants (e.g. Ron Paul) and even to non-Christian ideas (more below) is puzzling and suggests a level of personal antagonism that is unbecoming. In the case of Ron Paul, Bret tries to justify his intention to vote for the libertarian Republican as consistent with Christian faith because this proposed vote has received flak from a theonomist …

Here Darryl has a long quote from me lifted from a previous post of my own explaining my support for Congressman Ron Paul.

First, there seems to be some implication in what Darryl writes that a vote for Ron Paul is inconsistent with the Christian faith and yet Congressman Paul can write,

“I have never been one who is comfortable talking about my faith in the political arena. In fact, the pandering that typically occurs in the election season I find to be distasteful. But for those who have asked, I freely confess that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, and that I seek His guidance in all that I do. I know, as you do, that our freedoms come not from man, but from God….”

I offer this quote to suggest that a vote for Ron Paul is not a vote for a pagan, and quite contrary to what Darryl writes above Rep. Paul’s background is of the Reformed stripe (Lutheran and Episcopalian). But let us press on to the heart of the matter.

Darryl writes at Old Life,

“First things first? Does not the first table of the law come before the second table? Does not doing what is right in God’s eyes take precedence over what may be beneficial to the survival of the United States? In which case, could it be that Bret is letting his own political convictions dictate what comes first? As I’ve said a guhzillion times, Covenanters would not construe first things this way. They refused to vote, run for office, or serve in the military because the first thing — Christ’s Lordship — was not part of the U.S. Constitution. I disagree that the Constitution must include such an affirmation. But I greatly admire the Covenanters’ consistency and wish Rabbi Bret would be as hard nosed in the political realm as he is with (all about) me in the theological arena.”

First, I am not a Covenanter, so why Darryl brings them up is unclear.

Second, yes the first table comes before the second table, but the Law is undivided. And as God’s undivided law requires me to show my love to God by showing my love to neighbor there is nothing inconsistent or unbiblical or extra-biblical in a vote for Congressman Paul. Indeed a vote for Paul has Biblical warrant.

If we could reduce this to the simplest illustration that even a Gnostic could understand we, as US citizens, are in a position of being beat up by the schoolyard bully (The State). Now, the law (Sixth word) requires me

That neither in thoughts, nor words, nor gestures, much less in deeds, I dishonor, hate, wound, or kill my neighbor, by myself or by another; but that I lay aside all desire of revenge: also, that I [c] hurt not myself, nor willfully expose myself to any danger. Wherefore also the magistrate is armed with the sword, to prevent murder. (Heidelberg Catechism, answer Lord’s Day 105

A vote for Rep. Paul is a vehicle by which I can stop the dishonoring, hating, wounding and killing of my neighbor that I am in doing by proxy (by another) through the Leviathan State. Ron Paul is not the ideal candidate and I am not looking for societal salvation by means of Ron Paul but I have Biblical warrant to support Ron Paul in order that the violation of the 6th commandment by the State may cease. So, per Darryl’s concern, I am doing what is right in God’s eyes, and this is beneficial to the survival of these united States at the same time. No conflict at all here between the two, and nothing inconsistent in my position, despite Darryl’s insistence to the contrary.

Darryl continues,

What seems to be operative here is that Rabbi Bret borrows selectively from 2k by using non-biblical standards for evaluating the United States’ political order. He says we must follow wisdom in the current election cycle. Well, what happened to the Bible as the standard for all of life? And just how do you get a license to practice such wisdom (when 2kers are the ones who issue them)?

Above I’ve clearly shown that the wisdom I am following is derivative of explicit Biblical sanction and has warrant from the Scripture. Hence, Darryl’s questions are meaningless and without punch. There is no use of R2K methodology on my part.

Darryl continues,

Additional evidence of the Rabbi’s appeal to wisdom and implicit use of 2k comes in a good post he wrote about the differences between “classical” conservatism and neo-conservatism. I’ll paste here only one of the piece’s five points (though the entire post is worthwhile for those who don’t know the differences among conservatism):

Neo-conservatives believe that America is responsible to expand American values and ideology at the point of a bayonet. This was the governing ideology of progressive Democrats like Woodrow Wilson who desired to make the world safe for Democracy. However, before the Wilsonian motto of making the world safe for Democracy (a motto largely taken up by the Bush II administration) Wilson understood the American instinct for a humble foreign policy by campaigning in 1916 with the slogan, “He kept us out of war.” Before American entry into W.W. II the classically conservative approach to involvement in international affairs was one of modesty, as seen in the previous mentioned Wilson approach to campaigning in 1916. Classical conservatism, as opposed to neo-conservatism embraced the dictum of John Quincy Adams who once noted that, “America is a well-wisher of liberty everywhere, but defender only of her own.”

However, today’s conservatism is internationally militantly adventurous. What is sold by those who have co-opted the title of “conservative,” is the exporting of American values but the dirty little secret is that the American values that are being exported in the name of Democracy is just a warmed over socialism combined with some form of Corporate consumerism.

Good point, but where exactly is the justification for this from Scripture or the Lordship of Christ or the antithesis? I’m betting that loads of Christian Reformed Church ministers and laity who invoke the antithesis every bit as much as the Rabbi does, would never countenance Bret’s understanding of U.S. foreign policy. In which case, either the Bible speaks with forked tongue about a nation’s military involvement or all neo-Calvinists are dictating to special revelation what their “wise” observations of the created order and contemporary circumstances require. Why then are 2kers guilty of doing something illegitimate if Rabbi Bret or liberals in the CRC do the very same thing?

Bret responds,

The Justification for this from Scripture comes from the Sixth Word again (see above blockquote of the Heidelberg Catechism). I also could likewise invoke the teaching of the Heidelberg Catechism on the 8th word to show how exporting unbiblical socialism is not a Biblical thing to do. So, I have justification from Scripture for my convictions, and those justifications honor the Lordship of Jesus Christ and they keep the antithesis in place and they do not at all borrow from R2K “thought” processes. As such all of Darryl’s criticisms are irrelevant.

Darryl Gnostic Hart continues,

Which leads me back to the deep emotional wound mentioned at the outset. In his response to my post on epistemological self-consciousness, Bret says that it all comes down to this:

I mean that is what this boils down to isn’t it? Van Til repeatedly emphasized the necessity of epistemological self-consciousness while Darryl is suggesting that each man must do what is right in his own unique epistemological self consciousness. One epistemologically self-conscious Christian likes Kant, another epistemologically self conscious Christian likes Hegel. Vive la différence!

This is an odd summary of the entire difference since at the beginning of the post Bret says that the notion of the Lordship of Christ was hardly a Dutch Reformed idea, and then he goes on to say that it all comes down to a point made (as he understands it) about the Lordship of Christ by a Dutch-American.

Bret responds,

I find it fascinating that Darryl gloms on to a reference to Van Til to try to reinforce his earlier point that all this “Christ as Lord” stuff was a Dutch Reformed phenomenon. This was a point I destroyed with the below quotes from Presbyterians that he completely ignored choosing to make a silly reference to Van Til somehow being unique in advocating for the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

“It is our duty, as far as lies in our power, immediately to organize human society and all its institutions and organs upon a distinctively Christian basis. Indifference or impartiality here between the law of the kingdom and the law of the world, or of its prince, the devil, is utter treason to the King of Righteousness. The Bible, the great statute-book of the Kingdom, explicitly lays down principles which, when candidly applied, will regulate the action of every human being in all relations. There can be no compromise. The King said, with regard to all descriptions of moral agents in all spheres of activity, “He that is not with me is against me.” If the national life in general is organized upon non-Christian principles, the churches which are embraced within the universal assimilating power of that nation will not long be able to preserve their integrity.

A. A. Hodge, Evangelical Theology, p. 283-84

And again from the son of the Charles Hodge,

If professing Christians are unfaithful to the authority of their Lord in their capacity as citizens of the State, they cannot expect to be blessed by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in their capacity as members of the Church. The kingdom of God is one, it cannot be divided.

Princeton President A. A. Hodge, Respected Presbyterian

Then there is Darryl’s favorite Presbyterian, J. Gresham Machen, who could write,

“Modern culture is a mighty force. It is either subservient to the Gospel or else it is the deadliest enemy of the Gospel. For making it subservient, religious emotion is not enough, intellectual labor is also necessary. And that labor is being neglected. The Church has turned to easier tasks. And now she is reaping the fruits of her indolence. Now she must battle for her life.”

J. Gresham Machen
1912 centennial commemorative lecture at Princeton Seminary

“Instead of obliterating the distinction between the Kingdom and the world, or on the other hand withdrawing from the world into a sort of modernized intellectual monasticism, let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

~J. Gresham Machen

Then there is the granddaddy of all Presbyterian John Calvin,

Calvin’s commentary on Luke 14:23 (in Volume 32, i.e. Harmony of the Gospels, Volume 2, at page 173):

Luke 14:23. Compel them to come in. This expression means, that the master of the house would give orders to make use, as it were, of violence for compelling the attendance of the poor, and to leave out none of the lowest dregs of the people. By these words Christ declares that he would rake together all the offscourings of the world, rather than he would ever admit such ungrateful persons to his table. The allusion appears to be to the manner in which the Gospel invites us; for the grace of God is not merely offered to us, but doctrine is accompanied by exhortations fitted to arouse our minds. This is a display of the astonishing goodness of God, who, after freely inviting us, and perceiving that we give ourselves up to sleep, addresses our slothfulness by earnest entreaties, and not only arouses us by exhortations, but even compels us by threatenings to draw near to him. At the same time, I do not disapprove of the use which Augustine frequently made of this passage against the Donatists, to prove that godly princes may lawfully issue edicts, for compelling obstinate and rebellious persons to worship the true God, and to maintain the unity of the faith; for, though faith is voluntary, yet we see that such methods are useful for subduing the obstinacy of those who will not yield until they are compelled.”

Darryl continues,

But aside from the intellectual hiccup,

Bret responds,

After those quotes who is the one can’t find a cure to his intellectual hiccups?

Darryl presses as one going where angels fear to tread,

“But aside from the intellectual hiccup, does Bret really not see that his own support for Ron Paul throws the antithesis to the wind. Paul doesn’t have to be a Reformed Christian affirming the Lordship of Christ to gain Bret’s support. Bret’s analysis of conservatism doesn’t need to follow the dictates of the antithesis in order for it to be wise. And yet, if I or other 2kers don’t follow the antithesis when recognizing a common realm of activity for believers and unbelievers, or when finding truths by which to negotiate this common terrain other than from Scripture (only because the Bible is silent, for instance, on basements or how to remove water from them), we are relativists and antinomians. (We don’t even get a little credit for putting the anti in antinomian.)”

1.) I’ve shown that my support for Ron Paul is consistent with the 6th commandment from God’s law therefore I have not thrown the antithesis to the wind.

2.) Paul doesn’t have to be a Reformed Christ affirming the Lordship of Christ to gain my vote but Paul does does have to and has shown himself to be a tool who can be used consistent with the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

3.) Bret’s analysis of conservatism does follow the dictates of the antithesis either by explicit word or by necessary consequence.

4.) R2K’ers are antinomians and cultural relativists because they insist that the Bible does not speak at all to the common realm and as such all that is left is a “every man does what is right in his own eyes approach” in the putative common realm. R2k’ers insist that there is no such thing as Christian culture thus leaving culture to be animated by the beliefs in false gods since culture is defined as theology animated.

And in terms of basements the Scriptures are clear that they are not to be dug in order to bury people in them and that shovels are not to be used as cudgels to beat people with while digging. Scripture does speak to digging basements.

Darryl finishes,

“Until the critics of 2k can possibly create a world in which the antithesis applies all the time, they will be indebted to 2k for borrowed capital. The reason is that it is impossible to live in a mixed society if the sort of antithesis that will ultimately result in the separation of the sheep from the wolves is going to be the norm. The antithesis requires not only withholding support from Ron Paul, but also opposition to a political order that would allow him on the ballot (not to mention that difficult matter of what to do with Mitt Romney’s Mormons or Rick Santorum’s Roman Catholics). Bret believes that the “Escondido” theology will one day pass away like the Mercersburg Theology did. I too believe it will, whenever God chooses to separate believers from unbelievers. But until then, as long as we live with unbelievers, guys like Bret will need and use 2k theology. I only wish he’d show a little gratitude and start to pay off the debt. He is well behind in payments and snarky about it.”

The critics of R2K readily admit the world isn’t as it should be. In fact the R2K critics can really only explain why. R2K is not and most certainly cannot be agitated about a world that is in rebellion to the Lordship of Christ. Whether it is possible or not to live in a “mixed” society is hardly the issue. The issue is whether or not the Christian should in fact apply the Law Word to every area of life, and judge good and bad based on the Word of God or our feelings. R2K emphatically says “no, we should not.” Biblical Christianity most certainly says “yes.”

In this response I have shown that I am not indebted to R2K for any of their capital and have not borrowed at all from their loony tune reasoning. I have no debt to pay to the fan boys of Dr. Meredith Kline and their completely innovative “theology.” All I can say Darryl regarding those arrears payments is, (insert snarky voice) “the check is in the mail.”

The antithesis, as I have shown, does not forswear me from supporting Ron Paul, and compels me to oppose a social order that is in rebellion to King Jesus. In point of fact, consistent with the antithesis, I support Ron Paul to oppose the current un-biblical social order.

I am sure Escondido theology will one day pass away the same day Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism passes away.

See you in the funny pages Darryl.

Socialism Bromides #3 — Obama Quotes Lincoln (State of the Union)

“I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.”

President Barack Hussein Obama
2012 State of the Union Speech

Often this statement is sold as a compromise between political anarchism and hard core socialism. The thinking goes that such a position of, “the government should only do for the people what the people are unable to do for themselves,” is a statement that is some kind of middle ground between socialism and anarchism but instead it allows for all kinds of Statist intervention since this bromide leaves as an open question as to who decides what the people are unable to do for themselves.

The US Constitution already enumerates and delegates to the Federal Government precisely what it can and cannot do. When Politicians like Obama or Lincoln (Both Presidents who vastly expanded the size of the State) invoke this cliche you can be sure that the Statist Politician in question already has in mind exceeding the authority of the Constitution by doing things that they want to do that they believe the people cannot do and they believe in this extra constitutional activism without considering that what they are saying the people cannot do are things that the people do not want to do. And, even if the people wanted to do those things they really are not able to do, the Constitution requires them to amend the Constitution before those things are done.

So, this bromide does not go far enough. It has a loophole, a “leak,” through which an Statist tyrant can wiggle for what they [citizens] will not do and, therefore, “cannot” do for themselves is to implement all the utopian schemes that enter the minds of tyrants, things that such schemers think the citizens ought to do but which the citizens do not want to do.

So, the correct way to phrase this bromide would be to say, “government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more, as long as whatever it is that the government does is in keeping with the enumerated and delegated powers of the Constitution.”

Honestly, every boneheaded Utopian scheme promoted and passed by the Federal Government is always done under the rubric of this proverb. The Statists are forever saying, “Well, we are only doing this because the people cannot do it for themselves.” Whether it was the passage of Social Security, or the Tennessee Valley Authority, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or Seniors Prescription Drug laws, in all cases these extra-constitutional Socialist actions are pursued because it is a good thing that the people can not do themselves.

As Leonard Read could write,

“The formula for governmental action implies that the people lack the resources to preform such services for themselves. But Government has no magic purchasing power — no resources other than those drawn from private purchasing power. What we have here is a rejection of the market, a substitution of pressure group political power for the voluntary choices of the individuals who vote with their dollars. This criterion for the scope of the state leads away from private enterprise toward the omnipotent state, which is socialism.

The enormity of a project (i.e. — Space Exploration, Coast to coast mail delivery, Government schools, etc.) is no excuse for governmental interventionism. When the market votes ‘yes,’ capital is attracted, regardless of the amount required to do the job….

Government has no right to use force or coercion for any purpose whatsoever that does not pre-exist as the moral right of each individual from whom the government derives its power and authority.”

I John 5:9-10 … God’s Testimony & Man’s Response

Subject — God
Theme — God’s Testimony of Christ
Proposition — God’s Testimony of Christ reveals that men have no reason not to believe upon Christ.
Purpose — Therefore having seen God’s testimony of Christ let us challenge all men everywhere to believe Christ.


Re-cap from previous weeks.


In 5:9-13 John Comes to some concluding thoughts on what he has been saying regarding the “Son of God.”

In 5:1-4 the emphasis was on Faith in God’s Son
In 5:5-12 the discussion has been on the necessity to accept God’s testimony regarding the Son

In his concluding thoughts in this section regarding the Son of God John specifically states the content of God’s testimony concerning His Son, thus eliminating any misunderstanding concerning the Son.

I.) God Has Given Testimony Concerning His Son (9)

Note the continued emphasis on objective evidence. The greek word for “Testify” is used 10 times in verses 6-11 teaching us that John is concerned with the validity of the divine testimony to Christ.

This necessity for Testimony was essential in God’s economy. Jesus himself lays claim to it.

17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”

In vs. 9 the testimony of man that is being referred to is likely John the Baptist’ testimony.

John 5:31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.

But John, noting that Jesus has Man’s testimony, insists that God’s testimony is greater. And this line of thought is consistent with the words of Jesus in John’s Gospel.

37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,

This greater Testimony was given, as John says, with “The Spirit, water, and the blood.”

But this Testimony of God would also include

God’s voice speaking from heaven sanctioning the Work of His Son.


“and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Entry into Jerusalem

John 12:18 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

Mt. Transfiguration

5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son,[a] with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

So, John seeks to establish the validity of Jesus and His ministry by appealing to the very requirement that God’s word gives us for seeking to establish truth. All of this reminds us that our faith appeals to objective evidence and not merely subjective inclination. We do not have faith in faith (existentialism), rather the faith we have rests in the Testimony of God.

Illustration — The Faith that will walk off a 50 story bldg. vs. the Faith the Scripture advocates. Not faith in faith.

Now, this evidence is true, but the evidence itself does not convert. Remember the story of the Rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16

He said, ‘I ask you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house; for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, so they won’t also come into this place of torment.’

“But Abraham said to him,
‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

“He said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

“He said to him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.’

The Rich man want’s Lazarus to go back and Testify to his brothers, but Father Abraham says not even that testimony or the testimony of line rising from the dead would by itself lead to persuasion.

The point here is that Divine testimony to the truth of Christ does not guarantee that people will believe in Christ. The proof of something does not always lead to persuasion. God’s testimony is valid but that testimony and that evidence does not by itself convert because before the testimony and evidence can be seen for what it is men must be given eyes to see and ears to hear.

So, when we are dealing with those who know not Christ, our role is to do what John has done and to lay out the testimony… the evidence … the proof, but the persuasion belongs to the Holy Spirit.

And as John says in the next verse, some will not receive the wittness of either man or God.

II.) The God Given Testimony Has Been Accepted By Some And Rejected By Others (10)

A.) Accepted by Some

What John writes in 5:10 harmonizes nicely with what Paul writes in

Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Once we look to Christ, once we are born of God, the witness — the testimony is not merely external to us but we have the Testimony of God in us. Sooner could we deny our own Mothers than we could deny Christ or the Christian faith.

By way of application we might say that in having this testimony in us becomes the great animating engine for our whole lives and all that we do. This testimony is a restless passion that desires all to bow the knee to the glorious Lord Christ. This testimony fills us with the longing to Know him ever more that we might make Him known. This testimony in us works in us to love God’s law and to desire to set forth the beauty of God’s grace in reconciling Himself to sinners. The Testimony of God in us, makes we ourselves the Testimony of God to others regarding the person and work of Christ.

Note also in vs. 10 that for John that Faith is the constant bond between the believer and Christ.

Here we have the doctrine of faith alone emphasized. This idea of faith alone is central to Biblical Christianity.

B.) Not Accepted by Others

John says of those who refuse to believe God have made God out to be a Liar.

Liar is another one of those words that John likes

I John 1:10, 2:4, 2:22, 4:20, 5:10

Sometimes he applies the “Liar” label to men (i.e. — men are liars), and other times he says that men who act a certain way are calling God a “Liar.”

1:10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

5:10 Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son.

Now to make God a “Liar,” is to attribute to Him a cornerstone attribute of Satan.

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

So, those who make God out to be a “liar” have inverted reality. They have become those who call evil, “good,” and “good,” evil.

We see hear a foundation premise on the part of the unbeliever that colors their view of all the rest of their reality. If they have made God out to be a liar then all of reality for them, in principle, is a tissue of lies. One cannot make God out to be a Liar and discern the true truth about anything else.

Note that when they make God out to be a liar they have attributed to God the foundational characteristic of Satan who our Lord said was “a liar from the beginning.” With this characterization of John of unbelievers in Christ “making God out to be a liar,” we see both the tendency for the unbeliever to call “evil,” “good,” and “good,” “evil” and we see the antithesis in action. Either a person accepts God’s testimony of Christ and so is epistemologically whole in their ascertaining of the rest of reality or they don’t accept that testimony of Christ and so have taken up league against God. In making God out to be a liar, they have made themselves walking incarnations of lying and liars. They are indeed, children of their Father the Devil, who was a murderer from the beginning.

Such a sin as “Making God out to be a liar,” is the sin of the Garden and is the sin that all those outside Christ are chiefly guilty of. For man to “make God out to be a Liar,” means that such men have claimed for themselves the position of Deity because in making God a Liar they are accepting their Word over God’s word on who God is.

This is the Reformed Anti-thesis once again. Those outside of Christ who do not believe the God of the Bible have made God out to be what Satan is… a Liar. The contrast between belief and unbelief could not be made more stark.

Calvin offers here,

“John makes the ungodly to be guilty of extreme blasphemy, because they charge God w/ Falsehood. Doubtless nothing is more valued by God than His own truth, therefore no more atrocious wrong can be done to Him, that to rob Him of this honor.”

The truthfulness of God is not a take it or leave it proposition. If God’s testimony is rejected man will become twisted and distorted much like old Gollum living in the roots of the Misty Mountains. If God’s Testimony is accepted then man will become increasingly human.

We conclude then this section by noting with John Stott that

“Unbelief is not a misfortune to be pitied; it is a sin to be deplored.”