Let’s finish off 1 John: 1 John 5:13-21
In order to have an effective life before G-d we have to have an effective prayer life.
v13: You: Those who have a right understanding of the identity of Messiah Yeshua. If we do not believe that Yeshua is the divine and eternal Son of G-d then we cannot be saved. In this First Epistle, John is writing to those who want to live a holy life, to those who want to behave righteously and to those who want to demonstrate the truth of G-d (i.e. to those who want to have a testimony that is praiseworthy).
- Name: Biblically a name is related to identity and to character. We need to know the identity of Yeshua (that He is the Son of G-d and therefore divine), but we also need to know His character (He is holy, righteous, good, perfect … – just like His Father). If we deny that G-d the Father and G-d the Son are one then we are denying the gospel.
- That you may know that you have eternal life: This promise is a benefit/outcome of believing in the name of Yeshua. It gives us assurance.
- Eternal life: Although ‘eternal life’ includes life everlasting (life without end) it also includes living a life of quality now – living a Kingdom life in this present age (as well as in the age to come).
v14: In Him: This hints at redemption. Yeshua (‘salvation’) is also prophetically called “Immanuel” – G-d with us (Isaiah 7:14). We can only be “with/in Him (G-d)” through redemption.
- According to His will: Asking for things according to our own wills is idolatrous. We need to find out what the will of G-d is and ask according to that.
- He hears us: The implication is this: G-d knows and hears everything. However, He will not listen and respond to us unless we ask according to His will.
v15: If we know: This is experiential. Our inward being testifies to this.
- We have the petitions that we have asked from Him: The one who prays effectively is the one who prays according to the will of G-d.
v16: Brother: Fellow believer
- Sinning a sin which does not lead to death: There are many different thoughts/opinions/interpretations regarding verse 16 and 17. For the purpose of this study we are only going to look at what we can be assured of in regard to these two verses – i.e. what we can absolutely know. For a believer there is no sin that leads unto death (meaning, eternal separation from G-d). G-d has promised to forgive us of all of our sins, and to remember them no more – from an eternal standpoint (Hebs 8:12). The believer spoken of here is one who is not exercising his faith – i.e. he is in disobedience.
- Ask: When we see fellow believers committing sin we need to pray that they repent and that they begin to embrace a G-dly lifestyle – one which is committed to the purposes of G-d. We need to pray according to G-d’s will, and so too do we need to live according to G-d’s will. When we do not want G-d’s will in every area of our lives then we are moving in sin; and sin brings about destruction.
- Life: A G-dly life.
- Sin (leading to death): The sin referred to here is the sin of not believing in and receiving the gospel (Unbelief).
- Death: Eternal damnation.
- I do not say that he should pray about that: We cannot pray for eternal life for an unbeliever if they have rejected the gospel (if they are not interested in the will of G-d). An unbeliever will never receive eternal life. We can, however, pray that this unbeliever comes to faith and therefore be saved.
v17: A sin not leading to death: Only applicable to believers. Although sin is shameful and reveals disobedience, it does not keep us out of heaven. Our sins do not keep us from being able to express Kingdom life.
v18: Whoever: Everyone
- Whoever is born of G-d: Those who have been saved, regenerated – living according to their new lives (born again, new creations).
- Do not sin: Sin is not the normal behaviour for believers. It is not what defines them. Those who have been born again are not going to be interested in sin. However, if we should sin we can thank the L-rd that others can pray for G-d to restore us (1 John 5:16). We are not restored back to salvation – we are already saved – but we are restored back to Kingdom life and Kingdom character (doing the will of G-d, like Yeshua did).
- The wicked one does not touch him: When we are in G-d’s will, satan may attack us but he has no authority over us. Although he might move against us he cannot harm us eternally. The safest place we can be is in G-d’s will.
v19: We are of G-d: We have been born again. Everyone who has been begotten by G-d is from Him.
- The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one: We do not want a connection to the world. We do not want to live according to its evil ways, but we want to live according to the will of G-d. Those who are a friend of the world are an enemy of G-d. G-d’s judgement is going to come upon this world before His Kingdom is established.
v20: Understanding: The word used here is a word that means a mindset, a perspective.
- True: Messiah has given to us a new mindset whereby we can know truth. When we are not in truth then we are in sin. When we are not in truth then we are outside of G-d’s will.
- Him: Yeshua Messiah
- Eternal life: Knowing Yeshua gives us Kingdom life/eternal life. There is no other way to have eternal life.
v21: John ends this epistle rather abruptly.
- Children: He again emphasises that he is writing to those who are believers in Messiah.
- Keep yourselves from idols: If we are not in truth we are in idolatry. John knows that Israel, as well as the church, tended to easily fall into an idolatrous mindset. This mindset is based on wanting what we want and pursuing it. It is only when we are in Messiah Yeshua that we will experience Kingdom life. There is a big difference between having the promise of eternal life and demonstrating eternal life. When we are not demonstrating eternal life it is because we are not operating in the knowledge that we supposedly have of the Son of G-d – we are not behaving according to His will, we are not operating in the truth. When we are in the truth we behave in a way that demonstrates Kingdom life.