“…so that you may know…” 1 John 5:13
As we saw in my last blog, there are three that testify to the validity of Christ: the Spirit, the water, and the blood… and they are all in agreement. John asserts that we believe a person’s testimony, so it is only reasonable to believe God’s testimony through Jesus Christ – His sinless life, the miracles, His sacrificial death, and His resurrection. It all points to God Who is pointing us toward the hope of heaven given to us through Christ and Christ alone. So, John is offering another witness: the testimony of God’s inspired Word. In fact, John may have recognized the letter he was writing to the first century church as inspired by God, when he asserted: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (v.13) The witness of the written Word breathed into the heart and hand of the writer by God Who revealed the first three witnesses would continue to breath truth into the hearts of those who had walked with Christ.
We can have confidence, then, in knowing we have eternal life. It doesn’t have to be a shadow of hope for heaven. We can have the joyful hope of heaven as certainly as we know the path before us at night when using a powerful flashlight. The light scatters the darkness, allowing the one directing the flashlight to expose the path and any potential dangers. It gives the confidence needed to continue. The Greek word for confidence here is literally translated, “freedom of speech”. John described the confidence (freedom of speech) given to us for approaching God, The Creator and Sustainer of all there is: “…that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.’ He is not asserting a ‘name it – claim it’ practice of prayer, for notice the one prerequisite: “according to His will”.
The faithwalker must be so in tune with God as to know His will in matters which he/she would otherwise be clueless. John seems to show an assumption of the one approaching God in prayer as being spiritually mature enough to ask for things pertaining to God’s kingdom or which will bring God glory on earth. Following in the Master Teacher’s footsteps, John even provides an example to make his point: “If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life (abundant life in Christ). We are praying for God’s will to be accomplished in that person’s life, just as Jesus taught, “…Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt. 6:10) Robert Law’s guidance on prayer is true: “Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done on earth.” More often than not, we may only be able to pray, “Not my will, but Yours be done”, for we may not know God’s will for a situation, though the guidance of God’s Spirit, His Word, and the discernment God gives us enlightens the direction of our prayers.
Now, we KNOW the truth of Christ as Savior and Lord; we KNOW we have eternal life; and we KNOW God attends to the prayers of those who abide in His will. John then offers three final certainties for the those redeemed by the blood:
1. “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin…” (v.18)
2. “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (v.19)
3. “We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding…” (v.20)
We, of all people, are without excuse, for we are presented with the knowledge of salvation which leads to understanding for abundant living. (John 10:10) We are to take the treasure of this heavenly knowledge and tell others, teach others, and treat others by the knowledge of holiness.