February 24. 1 John 5:13-21
We are finishing up John's first letter to the churches in his area today. It's clear he wants true believers to walk in the light and to love well. He has warned these believers against those who would pretend to be one of them, but who in reality have no desire to walk in loving obedience with Christ and who do not believe Jesus is true God and true man, Son of God, Messiah. John reassures us that those who received Christ genuinely can rest in that. I think verse 13 is such a comfort: "I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life." Do not fret, friend. If you love Him and know Him, even if you do it imperfectly, you are His! You can know it and rest in it.
We also are encouraged to pray big and bold prayers, aren't we? When we align ourselves with God's will and pray, He answers big. The tricky part, of course, is knowing God's will as we pray. Jesus asked for the cup of suffering to be taken from Him right before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane and God did not grant that. Jesus made it clear, however, that what He wanted most was that God's will be done. We can pray in faith believing God can do mighty things. And that faith ought to extend to the belief that when God does not answer as we wish, it's not because He didn't hear us, it's because He has a purpose in refusing us at that time.
We also are confronted by "the sin that leads to death" and left (if you are like me, anyway) pretty puzzled by it. There are at least four interpretations of what this sin might be, I discovered. The Gospel Coalition has a very detailed article about it if you want to search it out. I found a simpler article, though, that satisfied me from Ligonier Ministries. You can read it here: LINK: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/sin-leads-death/
No matter what the answer might be, I will always pray for those I love who don't know Him or who have wandered from Him, because "nothing is impossible for God" and I am not smart enough to ever know for certain if someone has committed that sin. I also know I am His child, and feel very safe with Him, not worrying I might accidentally commit some unforgivable sin. Nope. He told me I could know I have eternal life. Any fearful thoughts are the enemy talking, and I don't listen to him.
I love the way John ends his letter with a stark reminder that God needs to own first place in our lives. The NLT version says it like this in 1 John 5:21: "Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts." This hits at the heart of it, doesn't it? Our loyalty and our love and our obedience are all to be for Jesus, the One who loved John and Whom John dearly loved!
My verse: 1 John 5:20 "And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God."
My response: To know You, Lord God, the Source of Life and Love, is the greatest thing of all! Thank You for revealing Yourself to us, and for wanting us to know You. Amazing love.