If we accept human testimony, then God’s testimony should be greater, since God’s testimony is what testifies to His Son. Those believing in the Son of God have this testimony through Him, but those who do not believe God make Him out to be a liar, for they didn’t believe what He has testified to concerning His Son.
This is the Martin Glynn translation.
Let us consider what John is saying here. We are not merely dealing with the opinions of men, but the very words of God. Talking about the testimony of God is more than just some lofty idea of the “inner sense of things” or a “higher testimony”. It is an assumption that God is speaking! That God has said something!
A couple of verses early is addresses how God speaks: with His Spirit. So we have the Spirit of God speaking to us, and He speaks to us concerning the Son: Jesus Christ.
And yet, we are so interested in hearing what others have to say. We may listen because they have authority, or because what they say sounds convincing, or because it supports something we want to hear. Occasionally these testimonies are good, but the problem is that God’s testimony is better.
Why can we not rely fully on God’s word? I’m not just speaking of the Scripture, though the Scripture is included. Instead I’m speaking about listening for the Spirit, and hear what He says concerning God and the Son. We will spend so much time listening to theologians and exegetes, but how much time to we spend listening to God? Do we say a few words to Him before eating, and an occational word at Sunday? Maybe we do have a daily devotional time, where we spend a good hour talking to Him in prayer. But do we stop to listen?
This week, I have an assignment for all of you. After this paragraph, just stop reading, stop speaking, and just listen. Listen for the Holy Spirit. He is still speaking to us if we give Him our ears. Try to listen for 5 minutes. Set a timer so you don’t keep watching the clock.
A little harder than you may have expected? I remember for seminary when they first asked us to do that for 15 minutes: drove me nuts. But then, we are trained to talk to God, not to listen to Him. It is a hard lesson to learn, but in the end, it is far more important to listen than it is to speak. So I encourage you to take the time to practice, learn what it means to hear God. You will be greatly rewarded for it.