Now follows the so-called “Johannine comma,” which heretics and liberal scholars have long attempted to excise from the biblical text.  The reason is obvious: 1st John 5:7 is the plainest Trinitarian formula to be found in all the Bible.  I would hasten to add that this sacred mystery of a trinity of persons in the one Godhead can be proven apart from this passage; yet that is no reason why this one should be discarded.  This verse can be traced back to very early ages, and it has been shown by some that the Greek scholar Constantine Simonides, who claimed to be the author of the Codex Sinaiticus, identified a document containing this verse as belonging to the 1st century, which should have been just a few years after John wrote it.  At any rate, if we accept the Textus Receptus as the true and stable Word of God, then we should receive this verse as part of the inspired record.

Throughout this epistle, John has proven his belief in the Trinity, by ascribing divine power and activities to the Father, then to the Son, and then again to the Holy Ghost.  Here He speaks of these three sacred persons “bearing record in heaven.”  I suppose John means by this that Father, Son, and Spirit together, bear record to the truth of the Gospel.  They testify to the efficacy of Christ’s blood, and secure the fulfillment of the divine promises to all those who believe them.

The three who bear record are “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost.”  The Father is, as some have called Him, “the fountain of deity,” always put in the first place whenever a Trinitarian formula is delivered in the sacred writings.  It is He Who chose a people, ordained the means by which they should be saved, and committed the outworking of His purpose of salvation to His Son.  God’s only begotten Son is often called in John’s writings “the Word,” showing that He is the expression of the mind, will, and purposes of His Father.  He is, as Paul puts it, “the image of the invisible God.”  Everything that the Father is, is reflected in Jesus Christ, His eternal and well-beloved Son.  The Word is of the same character, attributes, and essence as the Father.  And likewise is the Holy Ghost clothed with all the trappings of deity, being eternal, immutable, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.  “And these three are one.”  They are three distinct persons, to be certain.  Yet these persons together compose but one God.  They are of the same essence, of the same mind, always working in absolutely perfect harmony to the same purposes.  Truly, “this is a great mystery,” yet it is a divinely revealed mystery, and therefore is to be received with all humility of mind.  We subscribe to this glorious mystery of the Trinity each time we baptize a new believer in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  We confess our belief in this wonderful doctrine each time we repeat Paul’s benediction from II Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all.”  We believe that this doctrine is a vital element in the outworking of our salvation, for each divine person plays an indispensable role in the outworking of redemption.  It is the Father Who chooses us to salvation, and appoints the means by which we should be saved.  It is the Word Who is made flesh, submits Himself entirely to the law, makes an atonement by His bloodshedding and death, and then is raised again for our justification.  It is the Spirit Who quickens those who were once dead in trespasses and sins, bringing them out of a state of death into a state of life, and empowering them to walk with God.  Remove any of these elements, and we have no salvation at all.  Therefore, all sound Christians subscribe wholeheartedly to John’s dogma, that the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, are one God in three persons.

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