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Three Witnesses to the BelieverŐs
Saving Interest in Christ
1 John 5:8
ŇAnd there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, the Water (the Word), and the blood: and these three agree in one.Ó — The witnesses to redemptionŐs accomplishment are first, the Father, then the Son, and then the Spirit (1 John 5:7). The witnesses to ChristŐs deity are first, the Word, then the blood, and then the Spirit (1 John 5:8). The witnesses to our saving interest in Christ are first, the Spirit, then the Word, and then the blood.
Witness of the Spirit
A saving knowledge of Christ begins with the revelation of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). No one on earth can know and be firmly persuaded that he is one of GodŐs elect, one of those for whom Christ died, but by the special revelation of God the Holy Spirit. No man can, nor should one man try to convince another, of his salvation in Christ. Only the Spirit of God can convince (John 16:8-14). And if he convinces, you are convinced.
He is called the Comforter, because he conveys to our hearts the comfort of our election, redemption, salvation, and eternal acceptance with God. — ŇFor as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified togetherÓ (Romans 8:14-17). At the time appointed, he manifests the glory of ChristŐs person and the merits of his work, creating faith in the hearts of all chosen, redeemed sinners (2 Corinthians 4:6; Galatians 1:15; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Titus 1:2-3; 1 Peter 1:18-20).
Witness of the Word
This saving knowledge of Christ is based upon the record of the written Word of God, symbolized by water (Titus 3:5). The Spirit never operates independently of his written Word. He supernaturally reveals Christ in the hearts of GodŐs elect. But he reveals Christ only through the instrumentality of gospel preaching. He takes the record of God in his Word and makes it the voice of God in a manŐs heart. He declares in our hearts that our redemption is accomplished by ChristŐs obedience and death as our Substitute (Hebrews 9:12-14).
Witness of the Blood
This saving knowledge of Christ is neither more nor less than faith in his blood. It is the result of his blood sprinkled on the conscience pronouncing free and complete justification and righteousness, giving us peace with God (Romans 4:25 - 5:11). Faith is the echo of my heart to the voice of GodŐs Spirit speaking to me by the gospel. The warrant of my faith is the Word of God alone. And the warrant of my assurance is faith alone (1 John 5:9-13). Faith fetches full assurance to the believerŐs heart, not from within, but from without, from the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and the naked Word of God.