I John 5:18-21



1 John 5:18-21, “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”

With these last verses the Beloved Apostle brings his most awesome letter to a close with a reiteration or a summary of what he is teaching all those who abide in Christ Jesus. The one thing he has attempted, and succeeded in my humble opinion to do, is to express the CERTAINTIES of our Christian faith.

The Apostle has never been one to mince his words and here, in his summary, he remains emphatic in his remarks. “We know, we know, and we KNOW.” Three times he leads each statement with emphatic certainty. As a branch abiding in the Vine of the Son of God, as a child of the Father, God Almighty, we KNOW. There is no room for doubt. There is no room for a lack of faith for our knowledge is certain.

“We know that whoever is born of God does not sin.” As we have stated before, we all sin, even Christians, but the difference between us and the world is that we are NOT slaves to sin AND even greater still because we ARE abiding in Christ Jesus and His Spirit abides in us, we have an Advocate, and Intercessor with the Father who argues our case. We have the right to forgiveness when we ask for it and repent. We no longer “practice” sinning.

Remember, we are in a daily battle between the carnal flesh, which is the natural, temporary part of our being and the spirit, which is the reborn and reawakened, eternal part of our being. We MUST willingly and voluntarily take up OUR own personal cross daily and determine to follow after Christ, willing, as He was on the Cross, to crucify our fleshly passions. The Holy Spirit abiding in us gives us that ability and power. The world does NOT have the liberty of that power, but those of us in Christ do. As we “practice” this daily, and it is a practice, a determination to strive ahead and pursue holiness, as we practice this, we DO get better and better and become closer and closer to our Lord, our Heavenly Father, through Christ Jesus!

The answer, the reason as to WHY we are able to accomplish this and the world cannot is found in John’s next statement, “But he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.” Since we HAVE been born of God, reborn in spirit to be no longer SLAVES to sin, we have the liberty, the freedom, something a slave does not have, to overcome the temptations and the wiles of the enemy. We are able, we are empowered by God, Himself, by His Holy Spirit to be overcomers, and when we do slip and stumble, He is there to hold us up and not fall headlong.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.” – Psalm 37:23-24.

“My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” – Psalm 63:8.

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10.

The wicked one, the devil, the enemy of our soul cannot touch that man of God. Any enemy, even the world, cannot touch that man of God who keeps himself because being born of God means we are ABIDING IN GOD! We truly ARE His heirs and co-heirs with Christ Jesus.

The Apostle John is confirming Paul’s writing to the Romans in this, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” – Romans 8:16-17.

Remember what John stated just a chapter before, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4.

So again, the Beloved Apostle reiterates emphatically, with all reason too, “We KNOW!

As I stated earlier also, John doesn’t mince words. In his mind there are two avenues in which a person goes, in Him, God Almighty, or under the sway of the wicked one, the devil and his forces! Yet John is only confirming the words of the Savior when He walked along the shores of Galilee and other places with His disciples teaching the true meaning of the word. In that often quoted chapter of Matthew, Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14.

So therefore, John is right on target with Jesus’ message. There are only two ways to go in this lifetime, either reborn of God, our Heavenly Father, or under the sway of the devil and his minions with the rest of the world. To bring this to our modern age and in practical terms, you are either saved, unto Christ Jesus, or you are lost without Christ Jesus. It ALL depends on your relationship with Jesus Christ and understand this, even no relationship, IS a relationship. When it comes to Christ Jesus, you either accept a relationship with Him, or you reject a relationship with Him, but it is still a matter of how you CHOOSE to relate to Him.

The Apostle opened this letter with the theme of the Incarnation. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life – the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us – that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” – 1 John 1:1-3.

Now, he ends it upon that great TRUTH just as he opened it: “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” – 1 John 5:20.

Jesus came to show us the Father. Again, “we KNOW!” What do we know? We know that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, came to give us understanding. Understanding in what specifically? Now read this again, and then again if you have too and I will explain something, “that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

Jesus came to give us the understanding of that last sentence. So we can understand Him who is AND as TRUE, and we are IN Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. So Jesus Christ came to show us and help us to understand that He is true and that we may KNOW Him as being true, and we can abide in Him as true. To KNOW Him, Jesus Christ as TRUE then is to KNOW “this is the true God and eternal life.”

The reason I have spent so much emphasis on this last part is because since I started the “For The Love of God” group on Facebook, I have had people who claimed to be “Christians” who say they do NOT believe Jesus is God, in other words “equal with the Father.”

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” – Philippians 2:5-7.

Jesus spent so much time telling AND demonstrating to His disciples that when you were looking at Him, Jesus Christ, you were seeing the Father. The Incarnation teaches us that Jesus, fully God, came in the form of man, fully man. God is Spirit, His Spirit is everywhere, every time, in other words, there is nothing that can fully contain God’s Spirit. That is the Father’s Character AND Nature. We worship Him in that Spirit and in that TRUTH! (John 4:24).

Yet just like the Gnostics of old, they do not believe that Jesus was Himself God, incarnate. They will not teach that God’s Spirit can be within the bodily form of Jesus Christ, the Living Word who was WITH the Father in the beginning according to John (John 1:1-3), and yet still be everywhere, and in every time. They have put God Almighty, the Creator of all that was, is and is to come, in such a little box that they want everyone else to limit God as well! The Beloved Apostle spent this whole letter (Epistle) showing that God cannot be put into ANY box!

When the Holy Spirit comes to abide within us to teach us, to counsel and instruct us into ALL truth, it IS the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ Jesus, reminding us of His Words and His Truth. We RECOGNIZE the Father of Heaven and Creation because of His Son, Jesus Christ and it’s His Spirit that illuminates and reveals that to us!! This is basic, milk of the Word truth! Those who do not believe this are still feeding on the milk (if they even believe the Word) instead of the MEAT of the Word according to the writer of Hebrews!

“(The Son of God) of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” – Hebrews 5:11-14.

I would hope that if you have gotten to this point in this most important Letter that the Beloved Apostle John wrote, that you would have grasped where you stand in relationship to Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.

The Holy Spirit abiding IN you has been promised AND will deliver the knowledge of the truth to any of Christ’s followers who are willing to seek it and desire it!

Now, this is how John summarized his letter. But in closing he also gives one last admonition, one last bit of wise and important instruction. If you have read, and taken to heart what he has laid forth in this letter, his last admonition takes that into consideration.

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”

Sounds simple enough. Especially in this day and age we live in. We don’t worship little stone, wooden or metal statues of false gods. But there is so much more to this in light of his letter.

John is reminding the readers in closing to guard themselves from any ideas or teachings that would divert their eyes, ears, hearts, minds and spirit from what he has just taught. Anything that would contradict his teaching in this letter, can be construed as an idol. An idea placed above the TRUTH and understanding of what you KNOW, through the Holy Spirit within you, can be considered an idol. In other words, here John is not talking so much about a material idol as much as false teaching.

Sadly, we live in an age that has probably surpassed any other age when it comes to false teachings. There are too many teachings today, coming from behind pulpits that are meant to get your eyes more upon your selves than upon others, let alone in service to God. God is the “religious genie” that will grant you your every desire if you just have faith! It sickens me how much of this lie has been swallowed by so many mainstream denominations! This lie gets your eyes off God’s will for your life and unto what you desire most out of THIS life as if God is your Santa Claus with a bagful of whatever presents you want!

These things, these selfish and self-centered wants and desires become your idols as sure as any image made of stone, wood or metal! Do NOT let yourselves be fooled! If you truly abide in Christ Jesus and His Holy Spirit is abiding in you, then you KNOW the truth!

If you self-reflect and find areas in your heart where you are not sure of, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman, full of unfailing and unconditional love from our Heavenly Father willing AND desiring to lead you into ALL truth. Just ask the Father to renew your spirit and to cleanse your heart and you have a guarantee from Him that He will be MORE than willing to answer that prayer.

As I mentioned above and many times before, our Heavenly Father is looking, He is seeking for a people who will voluntarily and willingly worship Him in Spirit AND in Truth! He knows and sees the true desires of our hearts. He knows those of us who desire a more intimate and close personal relationship with Him and as He stands knocking at the doors of our hearts, He is just waiting for us to open wide to Him!


Next we will begin with 2 John Introduction and verse 1.

*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of intercessory prayer, encouragement and exhortation of the Word of God and author of the ministry blog, For The Love of God. I live in Delta, Colorado with my beautiful wife of 47+ years and a young yellow lab whom we affectionately call Bella.
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