Internal Evidence.

Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. 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. – 1 John 5:10 ESV

John has mentioned three witnesses that testify to the truth of Jesus' claim to be the Messiah, the Son of God. “For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree” (1 John 5:7-8 ESV). Then he adds the testimony of God Himself. “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son” (1 John 5:9 ESV). Even God the Father has testified on the behalf of Jesus, declaring Him as His Son and claiming to have sent Him to “to bring good news” and “to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed” (Isaiah 61:1 NLT). But John had more evidence to add to his argument. So far, his proof has all be external in nature – the baptism of Jesus, His crucifixion, the coming of the Spirit, and the verbal acknowledgement of God. Now he brings us the testimony within – the very indwelling presence of the Spirit of God that every believer receives upon acceptance of Jesus as their Savior. The apostle Paul tells us, “but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:15-16 ESV). When brought before the Jewish council, Peter said, “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him” (Acts 5:30-32 ESV).

The Holy Spirit is living proof of Jesus' messiahship. The very presence of the Spirit within the life of the believer should unequivocally convince us of any of His other claims. Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17 ESV). He had told them that the Holy Spirit would testify to them regarding Him. “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me” (John 15:26 ESV). And that's exactly what the Spirit does. He bears witness, testifies and gives evidence of Christ's life-changing, heart-transforming power in the life of the believer. “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT).

We have the very Spirit of God within us, empowering, equipping and testifying. His presence should make a profound difference in the way we live our lives. Paul explains it quite succinctly. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24 ESV). As we see that fruit produced in our lives, we can know that Jesus' death and resurrection are what made it possible. Had Jesus not died, rose again, and ascended back into heaven, the Holy Spirit would not have come. His presence here is proof that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, and that someday He is going to return to this earth to finish what He began. He will restore this world back to its original God-ordained glory. He will destroy sin and death once and for all. He will remove all pain, sorrow, tears, heartache and any other evidence of the fall – forever.

The evidence is overwhelming in favor of Jesus. He is the Son of God. He is the Savior of the world. He is the long-awaited Messiah whom the prophets of old had long-ago predicted. And over the last 2,000 plus years, His claims have been proven true by the miraculous spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ around the world. Millions have come to faith in Christ, of all walks of life and every conceivable people group. And the Kingdom continues to expand. The Holy Spirit is hard at work, guiding, motivating, sending, and equipping God's people to do His Work. But at the end of the day it all boils down to a fairly simply formula: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12 ESV).

I Know That I Know.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. – 1 John 2:3 ESV

The knowledge of God is far more than an academic or cognitive kind of knowledge. You can know details and even personal information about the Prime Minister of England or the President of the United States, but that doesn't mean you know them. You simply know something about them. You have no personal knowledge of them and cannot claim to have a close relationship with them. Sadly, this describes the relationship that many have who claim to know God. Their knowledge is Book-knowledge, fed to them from the pulpit or Sunday School classroom, or passed on to them by their parents. If you were to ask them if they know God, they would say, “Of course, I know Him.” They could probably tell you facts and details about God, concerning His character, His creation of the world, His miracles recorded in the Bible, and even His offer of salvation made available through belief in His Son. But according to the apostle John, the proof of their knowledge of God would be far more simple and conclusive. “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3 ESV). In other words, obedience is the true test of our knowledge of God. But we must be careful here. John is not telling us that obedience is the way to come to know God. He is not saying that you have to obey God in order to know Him. No, John is telling us that obedience is a proof of our knowledge of God. It is how we can know that we truly do know Him. The kind of knowledge John speaks of is intimate and experiential, not academic. He uses the Greek word, ginōskō, which was a Jewish idiom referring to sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. This isn't some kind of a head-knowledge. It is an intimate awareness of God's involvement in one's life. Because the only way we can keep His commandments is IF we know Him. It is His power, made available to us through the presence of His Spirit, that makes it possible for us to live in obedience to His will. It is our relationship with God's Son, Jesus Christ, that makes a life of obedience, a life of righteousness, possible. So when John states, “whoever says he abides in him [Christ], ought to walk in the same way in which he [Christ] walked” (1 John 3:6 ESV), We can and should live our lives as Jesus lived His – humbly, sacrificially, and in complete obedience to the Father's will. No, we cannot live our lives completely without sin, as He did, but we can live in obedience. Because we know God, we can put to death the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13). Paul tells us, “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires” (Colossians 3:5 NLT). We can live differently and distinctively. We can say yes to God and no to sin. Again, Paul writes, “Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God” (Romans 6:13 NLT).

We can know that we know God, that we have a relationship with Him, when we see the remarkable change take place in our character that is only possible through the redemptive work of His Son. When we come to know Christ as our Savior, we receive a new nature, a new capacity to live in obedience to the will of God. He sets us free from slavery to sin and provides us with the freedom to live in willing obedience to God. “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life” (Romans 6:20-22 NLT). When we obey God, we don't get the credit, He does. What we get is the assurance that we know Him. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 NLT). I know Him. He knows me. Not only that, He loves me. And He empowers me to live righteously, even when surrounded by unrighteousness. He has given me His Spirit to help me do battle with my own sin nature. I don't have to give in to sinful desires. I don't have to fall for every temptation that comes my way. I can walk like Jesus walked. And when I do, I can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I know God. Over in his gospel, John recorded a fascinating statement from the lips of Jesus. It was part of His prayer that He prayed to the Father not long before His trials and crucifixion. Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV). Eternal life is NOT simply heaven. It is not an opulent residence reserved for us somewhere in the future. It is the knowledge of God and His Son. It is a relationship with the Creator of the Universe and the King of kings and Lord of lords. And I can know that I know them because I can see their life-transforming power at work in my life – right here, right now. And THAT is eternal life.