Post 15 looks at a second passage that teaches salvation is by faith alone; namely, 1 John 5:1 (NASB95), which reads:
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.
As is readily apparent from a plain and simple reading of the text, water baptism is not a requirement to be “born of God,” i.e., attain salvation. A more detailed analysis confirms 1 John 5:1 teaches that salvation is NOT dependent upon water baptism.
1 John 5:1 must be read in light of the purpose statement of 1 John 5:13 (NASB95), which reads:
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
John’s audience had been attacked by false teachers, causing them to question their salvation. Kruse [Kruse, C. G. (2000). The letters of John (p. 188). W.B. Eerdmans Pub.; Apollos] presents a brief commentary in reference to the relevant circumstances:
The author’s purpose in writing, he says, is that ‘you may know that you have eternal life’. His readers had been disturbed by the denials and claims of the secessionists. These people denied important elements of the message the readers had embraced at the beginning. They also claimed to be recipients of special revelation through the Spirit to which the readers were not privy. The readers’ assurance had been shaken by these denials and claims, and the author’s primary reason for writing the letter was to bolster their assurance by counteracting the false teaching of the secessionists.
In verse 13a, John defined a Christian as “you who believe in the name of the Son of God.” The NASB95 translates the Greek verb pisteuō as “believe.” Arndt et al. [Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). In A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 817). University of Chicago Press] defines pisteuō in this context:
② to entrust oneself to an entity in complete confidence, believe (in), trust, w. implication of total commitment to the one who is trusted. In our lit. God and Christ are objects of this type of faith that relies on their power and nearness to help, in addition to being convinced that their revelations or disclosures are true.
Louw et al. [Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). In Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 375). United Bible Societies] defines pisteuō to mean:
31.85 πιστεύωb; πίστιςb, εως f: to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance—‘to believe in, to have confidence in, to have faith in, to trust, faith, trust.’
The grammatical attributes of pisteuō reveal that John intended to convey to his audience that a believer’s trust “in the name of the Son of God” was an ongoing attribute with no assessment of completion.
Kruse [Kruse, supra] explains the expression “in the name:”
To believe ‘in the name’ (an expression found also in 3:23) means the same as believing ‘in the person’ who bears the name. Texts from the Fourth Gospel, such as John 1:12 (‘Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’) and John 3:18 (‘Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son’), confirm this by placing the idea of believing in his name and believing in his person in parallel.
The term “Son of God” refers to Jesus Christ.
Per verse 13, John intended to convey to his audience with clarity that his purpose in writing his first epistle was to give Christians assurance of their salvation. Akin [Akin, D. L. (2001). 1, 2, 3 John (Vol. 38, p. 204). Broadman & Holman Publishers] writes:
John writes to those “who believe in the name of the Son of God” and not to the heretics who were deceiving God’s people. This fact indicates that “John was therefore writing not to persuade unbelievers of the truth of the Christian faith but rather to strengthen Christian believers who might be tempted to doubt the reality of their Christian experience and to give up their faith in Jesus.”
According to the purpose statement, those “who believe” in Jesus Christ alone are Christians. 1 John 5:13 does not teach that water baptism is a requirement to be a Christian.
1 JOHN 5:1
A simple straightforward reading of 1 John 5:1 teaches that salvation depends upon pisteuō alone in Jesus Christ.
This verse begins with the adjective pas, which, along with the article ho, the NASB95 translates as “whoever.” Louw et al. [Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). In Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 596). United Bible Societies] defines it to have a sense of completeness: “59.24 πᾶςb, πᾶσα, πᾶν: any one of a totality—‘any, anyone, anything.”
The next word is the Greek verb pisteuō which possesses a very similar, but not exactly the same, meaning as the usage in 1 John 5:13. Here, Louw et al. [Louw et al., supra at p.369] defines pisteuō to mean:
31.35 πιστεύωa: to believe something to be true and, hence, worthy of being trusted—‘to believe, to think to be true, to regard as trustworthy.
Arndt et al. [Arndt et al., supra at p. 816] defines pisteuō to mean:
① to consider someth. to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust, believe ⓐ believe (in) someth., be convinced of someth., w. that which one believes (in) indicated
The grammar shows that John intended to convey to his audience that a believer’s pisteuō was an ongoing attribute with no assessment of completion.
The object of belief is “Jesus is the Son of God.” Wuest [Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 13, p. 172). Eerdmans] explains the expression “Son of God”:
(5:1) The Cerinthian Gnostics denied the identity of Jesus and the Christ. That is, they denied that the individual whom the Christian Church knew by the name “Jesus” was also the Christ. The word “Christ” is the English spelling of the Greek word christos (χριστος) which means “the anointed one.” But the predicted Anointed One was to be God-incarnate, virgin-born into the human race. Thus, the incarnation is in view here. But this belief is not a mere intellectual assent to the fact of the incarnation, but a heart acceptance of all that it implied in its purpose, the substitutionary death of the Incarnate One for sinners, thus making a way of salvation in which God could bestow mercy on the basis of justice satisfied
Matthew Henry [Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2452). Hendrickson] describes the expression “Jesus is the Son of God.”:
v. 1. Here the Christian brother is, 1. Described by his faith; he that believeth that Jesus is the Christ—that he is Messiah the prince, that he is the Son of God by nature and office, that he is the chief of all the anointed world, chief of all the priests, prophets, or kings, who were ever anointed by God or for him, that he is perfectly prepared and furnished for the whole work of the eternal salvation-accordingly yields himself up to his care and direction; and then he is,
The text goes on to say that the result of a person’s belief that Jesus is the Christ “is born of God.” The NASB95 translates the Greek verb gennaō as “is born,” and it means, “23.58 γεννάωa: the male role in causing the conception and birth of a child—‘to be the father of, to procreate, to beget.” See Louw et al., supra at Vo. 1, p. 256. In this context, it is a birth from above, i.e., “born again” indicating salvation. Little Kittel [Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). In Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume (p. 115). W.B. Eerdmans] reads [emphasis added]:
4. gennēthḗnai in John. John always gives the point of origin of gennēthḗnai God in 1 Jn. 2:29; Jn. 1:13, the Spirit in Jn. 3:5, water in Jn. 3:5, the flesh in Jn. 3:6, the will in Jn. 1:13. The seed of 1 Jn. 3:9 is the Spirit rather than the word. Birth from God or the Spirit is a reality but also a mystery. Statements about it are not based on experience but are made in faith and are true in virtue of the believer’s fellowship with God (1 Jn. 1:3, 6ff.; 3:9). This birth results in doing righteousness (1 Jn. 2:29), in not sinning (3:7ff.), in love (4:7), in overcoming the world (5:4), in faith in Jesus as the Christ (5:1). Birth from above belongs first to Jesus himself (5:18) and then to believers who, as members of the new aeon, have a share in the Spirit and are thus united to Christ, passing from death to life (3:14; 5:24). This concept of divine gennán has little in common with what may be found in the mysteries; the view of piety is totally different.
The rest of verse 13 (NASB95), which is not particularly relevant to this discussion, reads, “and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.”
In conclusion, by writing 1 John 5:1, John intended to convey to his audience that salvation was through believing alone in Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:1 contains no mention of any other requirement (e.g., water baptism) to possess salvation other than pisteuō in Jesus Christ.
The purpose statement in 1 John 5:13 and what John wrote in 1 John 5:1 make it clear that salvation occurs through pisteuō alone and nothing else. 1 John 5:1 and 13 teach that:
Pisteuō + nothing = salvation
Water baptism is not a requirement for salvation per 1 John 5:1, 13.
IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT YOUR SALVATION
If you are unsure about your salvation, you need to check out my book The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth (book link at Xulon Press: https://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781662828638 ). At Amazon the book link is https://www.amazon.com/Salavation-Meter-Biblical-Self-Diagnostic-Spiritual/dp/1662828632 . I also have a website in which I am updating the content in the book. The link to my website for the book is https://thesalvationmeter.com .
IF YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN
… please (1) read through “God’s Plan of Salvation” so you can understand what God did for you through His only unique Son, Jesus Christ, and (2), from the bottom of your heart, pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” meaning every word. If you do, you will be reconciled to God – saved – through Jesus Christ.
God’s Plan of Salvation
In the beginning, God, who is holy, created the entire universe. As a part of His creative actions, He made humans in His image to know Him. For a while, everything was right between God and our ancestors, Adam and Eve. But Adam sinned, and his sin was passed down to all of humankind whereby we became separated from God. Nothing we could do on our own could bridge that separation so that without God’s intervention, hell would be our eternal destination.
Fortunately for us, in His great love and mercy God provided humankind with the only means of salvation, which is through Jesus Christ who is God’s only unique Son. While retaining His deity, God the Son became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law Himself and taking on Himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever repent and trust in Him for their salvation. Jesus rose from the dead, showing that God the Father accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us has been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and trust alone in what Christ did to save us.
If we repent of our sins and completely trust in Christ alone that He died for our sins and rose to life from the dead, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.
Scripture References: Genesis 1:1, 27, 31; Habakkuk 1:13; Genesis 2:7, 18, 21-25; Genesis 3:1-7, 23-24; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:19-20, 23; 5:17-19; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:23; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 John 4:10; John 3:16-18; Mark 1:15; Romans 1:4; 4:25; John 3:5-8; 1 Peter 1:3.
Lord, Jesus Christ, the only unique Son of God, thank You for Your free gift of eternal life. I know I’m a sinner who cannot save myself no matter what I do, and I deserve to spend eternity in hell. But, I know that because You loved me so much, You voluntarily died on the cross for me taking my sins upon Yourself, and You physically bodily rose from the grave showing that Your sacrificial death was sufficient payment to give me eternal life in Heaven. I now repent of my sins and trust alone in what You did for my eternal salvation. Please take control of my life as I now receive You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You so much for saving me. I am now Yours forever! (Scripture references: John 1:1-4, 11-14; John 3:16; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:21-26; Isaiah 53:4-6; Mark 1:15; Acts 16:31; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9-10, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; John 10:27-29).
Upon your salvation, you must find a spiritually solid Bible-believing church that (1) teaches that the sixty-six books of the Bible are the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God, (2) believes in the doctrine of the Trinity, which means that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and each Person is fully God, and (3) teaches that salvation is by grace through faith and not by works (e.g., water baptism by immersion).
ONE CAUTIONARY POINT. Please do not make the mistake of thinking that once you become a Christian, your life will become easy. Most likely, it will become more difficult. God’s blessing of salvation and life’s difficulties are not mutually exclusive. Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” John 15:18 (NLT). Always keep in mind that you have an eternal home in heaven waiting for you per John 14:2–4 (NLT):
2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
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