Monday Minutes by Pastor Chris McCool (June 27, 2022)

Today, I am sharing another article by Elder Buddy Abernathy. In this article, Bro. Buddy emphasizes the importance of believing and trusting in Jesus. As Primitive Baptists, we certainly do not believe that “belief” is a prerequisite to the new birth, or to eternal salvation in any sense. However, we DO believe that “belief” is absolutely essential to our discipleship and peace of mind here and now!

Bro. Buddy shares some rich thoughts about the importance of believing, and the nature of Jesus and the Godhead. I trust we all need to know Him more and more, and hopefully we can glean just a little more about our Lord from this excellent writing by Bro. Buddy!

May the Lord bless you is my prayer!

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor


by Elder Buddy Abernathy

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (1Jo 5:5-8 KJV)

According to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, “overcometh” describes one who “by Christian constancy and courage keeps himself unharmed and spotless from the devices, solicitations, and assaults of his adversary, the devil.” The Apostle Peter described this concept as, “saving ourselves from this untoward (crooked or perverse) generation” (Acts 2:40).

John is emphasizing the important practical implications of believing that Jesus is the Son of God (Mat. 3:16-17). An understanding of this profound truth revealed in the gospel is the prerequisite to water baptism (Mat. 28:19, Acts 8:34-38) and becoming a part of the local church, the visible body of Christ (Acts 2:41-47). To believe that Jesus is the Son of God is to believe he was born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14, Mat. 1:18) who conceived by the Holy Ghost coming upon her and the power of the highest overshadowing her (Luke 1:35). Jesus was God manifest in the flesh (Rom. 8:31, Tim. 3:16, John 1:14, Php. 2:5-8). He is our hope of salvation (Tit. 1:2, Heb. 6:19-20), the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29), our advocate (1 John 2:1) our intercessor (Heb. 7:25, 4:16), and the friend of sinners (Luke 15:1-2). If Jesus is not the Son of God, our faith is vain, and we are yet in our sins. Our loved ones who have already died are perished, and we are of all men most miserable (1 Cor. 15:17-19).

The Deity of Jesus Christ is one of the most important doctrines in the Bible. Sadly, all the modern English versions of the Bible chip away at this crucial truth. For example, most of them eliminate the text of 1 John 5:7 as recorded in the King James Translation, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” Though concealed from mortal sight, the sonship of Jesus is on eternal display among the three persons which make up the Godhead or Holy Trinity. Jesus has always been and will always be God. He only laid aside his glory when he came to earth to save his people from their sins. As Jesus thought about returning to the glory world, he prayed, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5 KJV).

The three that bear witness in earth are, “the Spirit, and the water, and the blood” (1 John 5:8). Notice that God, the Father, is not included in this description. Jesus said, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].” (John 1:18 KJV). God spoke to Moses out of the midst of the burning bush, but it was God’s angel that appeared to him (Exodus 3:2-6). Even though Moses asked to see God’s glory, the Lord said, “thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20). Moses was only allowed to see God’s “back parts”. (v. 23). Although Isaiah saw “the Lord sitting upon a throne” (Isa. 6:1-3), he was not in the physical presence of God as Moses was when the Lord passed by. The Apostle Paul speaks of a man being “caught up into paradise”; however, he didn’t see God. He only heard “unspeakable words” (2 Cor. 12:2-4). The Apostles Paul and John also had visions and revelations, but they were not in the presence of God (2 Cor. 12:1, Rev. 1:1-2). Mortal, sin cursed bodies are unfit to dwell in God’s presence until they are changed on resurrection day. (Job 14:14, 1 Cor. 15:42-50).

In 1 John 5:1-13, John refers to Jesus’ sonship about ten times: “begotten of him.” (v. 1), “Jesus is the Son of God” (v. 5), “his Son” (v. 9), “the Son of God” & “his Son” (v. 10), “his Son” (v. 11), “the Son” & “the Son” (v. 12), “Son of God” & “Son of God” (v. 13). During his earthly ministry, Jesus was the Son of God in both his divine and human nature. He was verily God and verily man. These two natures are described by John as “the water” and “the blood”. Oftentimes in the scriptures, water represents the Spirit (Isa. 12:2-3, 44:3, 58:11, Jer. 2:13, Eze. 36:24-28 John 3:5, 4:7-15, 7:38, Heb. 10:22). In one of Isaiah’s prophecies of Christ, he likens him unto, “rivers of waters in a dry place” (Isa. 32:2). The apostles described being baptized with the Holy Ghost as the counterpart to water baptism (Mat. 3:11, Mar. 1:8, Luke. 3:16, Acts 1:5).

“This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. (1 John 5:6a) In addition to his divine nature, Jesus also had a human nature. John wanted his audience to understand that Jesus was God manifest in the flesh. (Isa. 53:3, Php. 2:6-8, Mark 15:39). He was verily God and verily man. In his account of the gospel, John describes the recipients of spiritual birth as those, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13). The new birth is “not of blood”. It is not a consequence of one’s natural lineage. John’s point regarding Jesus is that he’s not just a spirit (Luke 24:36-39). He was also a man, he “came by water and blood.” As the Roman Centurion looked upon the marred visage (Isaiah 52:14, 53:5) of the Lamb of God, he exclaimed, “Truly this was the Son of God.” (Mat 27:54)

Jesus eternally exists (John 17:5) in his divine nature (the water). He existed with a human nature (the blood) for about 33 years (John 1:14, Rom. 8:3, Php. 2:8). At the conclusion of his earthly ministry, he promised to send “another Comforter” which is “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:15-18). This third witness, “beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Rom. 8:16). Being led of the Spirit assures us that we are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14). Only those who are born of the Spirit can be led of the Spirit (Rom. 8:9, 1 Cor. 2:14). The degree to which we enjoy the fellowship of the Spirit is in proportion to our efforts to “draw nigh unto God” (James 4:8) and obey his commands (John 14:22-23). In these two references, James refers to God and Jesus refers to Himself and his Father. However, both are speaking of the person of the Holy Spirit. Remember, “these three are one” (1 John 5:7).

As an automobile has no function without fuel, God’s children can not function in his kingdom without the Spirit (John 15:5). This applies to the pastor (1 Thes. 1:5) and the members (1 Cor. 12:4-11, Rom. 12:4-8). The local church is a body of baptized believers. However, in the book of Revelation, Jesus describes it as a golden candlestick. (Rev. 1:20) He warns the church at Ephesus that, unless they repent, he will remove the candlestick out of his place (Rev. 2:5). Jesus is speaking of the removal of his manifest presence in the person of the Holy Ghost. Once this happens, the vitality of the church deteriorates. The church is not a self-propelled vessel. As a sailboat travels by the influence of the wind, so the church passes through this world under the influence of the Spirit (Isa. 33:20-24). The church is a spiritual organism (1 Pet. 2:5), not a religious organization. Jesus opens and closes churches (Rev. 3:7); however, he does so in accordance with the spiritual vitality of the church. His actions are neither random nor unpredictable. God opens the windows of heavens and pours out blessings in accordance with our obedience to His word (Mal. 3:8-12).

So, what can we do to keep the church alive? Pray for revival (Psa. 85:4-7, Isa. 62:6-7, Psa. 122:6, 1 Th. 5:17), prioritize the kingdom of God in your personal life (Mat. 6:31-33, Heb. 10:23-25, Jas. 1:27), read the Bible and be ready to talk to others about it (1 Pet. 3:15), be mindful of how you interact with others (Ehp. 4:29-32, Col. 4:6, Php. 4:5), remain faithful (1 Cor. 15:58, Gal. 6:9-10), and never give up:

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Hab 3:17-18 KJV)