“For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.” 1 John 5:7-8
According to Deuteronomy 19:15 at least two or three witnesses were required in order for a conviction to be established in the court of law. Such a requirement was not needed to demonstrate truth or innocence. It was the accuser that had to prove his case most strongly. However, in matters in which doubt needed to be allayed people would sometimes resort to the use of two or three witness to demonstrate their truthfulness and innocence as well. Sometimes it’s not enough to be merely legally correct. In order to be convincing you need the evidence of witnesses.
God’s given himself the task of proving himself to us. He must prove the reality of his presence on earth and he must prove the reality of his goodness, love and salvation. For this task John says he has three witnesses. In heaven three members of the Godhead are sufficient but not all three are present and active here on earth. The Spirit now works on behalf of all three members of the Godhead so there needs to be two more witness. And these are provided by the experiences of the waters of baptism and the cleansing power of Christ’s blood working in our lives.
When Christ was baptized the gospels record that the heavens opened and the Father was heard affirming the Son with the words, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Ellen White, in the book The Desire of Ages, tells us that whenever someone opens their heart to Christ and in faith and obedience follows Christ’s example and is baptized our Heavenly Father declares the same words over them. The audible words may not be heard by the ears but the but the heart hears heaven’s proclamation, as we receive the waters of baptism, and it’s effect is felt profoundly in both the heart and the mind.
What follows is a life in which the Spirit applies the blood of Christ so that he can remove the sin that sullies and defiles every part of our natures. And the blood has the power to cleanse. Every Christian I know can testify to the fact that they’re not the same as they were. And it’s not merely attributed to the natural process of maturing that every person experiences. Essential parts of our characters, that have resisted any effort from ourselves or others to modify, have been changed when we’ve consistently and persistently submitted to the Holy Spirit and allowed him to wash us clean.
People scour the earth looking for proof that God exists and is active on the earth. But God hasn’t accepted the task of incontrovertibly proving his existence to the world. He has, however, accepted the task of proving himself to you if you will open your heart and let him in. You must accept him on the basis of the inconclusive evidence that exists in the world, the knowledge that this world is dying, and the hope that he’s real and can answer our need. And if you will accept him he will prove himself to you. The proof is in knowing him.