“…we have confidence before God…” 1 John 3:21
The confidence John described has more to do with what God has done for us in Christ than for any righteous act we have done. Nevertheless, it is the very work Christ accomplished on the cross which empowers Believers to be like Him in sacrificial living. (Go back and read verses one and two.)
The greatest commandment given to us is to love one another… to love one’s neighbor as yourself… to love as Paul described to the Corinthians (1 Co. 13). In my last blog, I concluded my vignette with an exhortation to love… not only in word, but also in deed (v.18). I presented the great national need before us. When we respond to an obvious need, we see God’s love in action through our lives, and the truth of God’s love is validated in each of our hearts (v.19a). That validation affirms our faith to enter before God’s presence in peace… even when our hearts condemn us. (v.19b)
One of my favorite verses follows, when John declares, “For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.” (v.20) God is greater still… greater than the strength of those bonds we find ourselves in from time to time: sometimes it’s from sin; other times from pride; and still, other times from ignorance. God is still greater. And because He is greater, we have confidence before God to approach Him as His child… fully accepted on the merit of His Son, and validated by His power working in and through us to make a difference in the lives of others.
There is a benefit for ministry in being declared free from condemnation: the confidence to come before God and receive from Him anything we need to do what pleases Him (v.22). We are only as much in His will as He is in us. By that, I mean, the more we are in His Word and in prayer, the more we become like Him. The more we are like Him, the more of Him lives in and through us. John concludes this portion of the letter with these words (v’s 23-24):
“And this is His command, to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: we know it by the Spirit He gave us.”
The commands John is referring to come from the ancient sacred texts… the decalogue and the Levitical law point to The One Who claims ownership over our hearts, and thus has the right to expect His children to conform to His will and way. As His children, may we never neglect the benefit of time well-spent in His Word… in becoming more like Him. In John’s gospel, He summed this precept with these words: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” In today’s vernacular it could be understood as, ‘more of Him, less of me’. Jesus must become greater simply because, God is greater than our sin – and He demonstrated from the cross. May Jesus’ name become greater throughout the earth!
Because of Him we have confidence before God!