Walking in Confidence
Alex Enabnit – Research Editor
This weekend we finished our “God Is” series in 1 John.
To wrap up the series, we looked at 1 John 5:13-17
13 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. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin,and there is sin that does not lead to death.
From these verses, Cal walked us through three things that we can have confidence in because of our relationship with Jesus. First, we can have confidence in our salvation! If we believe in Jesus, we can be assured that He forgives our sins and we will be in heaven with Him. Second, we can have confidence in praying for ourselves. We can approach God with confidence – not tentativeness – when we make requests for ourselves. Third, we can have confidence when we pray for others as well. John makes it a point to tell us that we should be praying for our brothers and sisters in the church when they sin, so that God will restore them to life. One thing to note, however, is that this is near-impossible if we’re not living in close community with others!
There is a bit of a tricky part of this passage that I glossed over just now… You may have read it – “a sin that leads to death.” What?! What are you talking about, John?? That is actually a topic that theologians have debated for a long time but still haven’t reached a consensus. The reality is, nobody knows for sure! Cal told us that he believes it is a reference to the heretics who left the church and pulled others away with them – they experienced the grace and blessings of Jesus and turned their back on Him and walked away. I believe this is most consistent with the entire epistle of John and I agree with this view. But the reality is, there are other possibilities as to what “a sin that leads to death” could mean.
This is one of the difficult parts of reading the scriptures – sometimes things look a bit fuzzier than we’d like. The good news is, Jeremy will be addressing the other possible meanings of “a sin that leads to death” for this Theology Thursday post. Be sure to come back Thursday where we can explore the idea in depth and hopefully you can arrive at a more informed decision about it yourself!
Verses and quotes from the message:
1 John 5:13-17; John 20:30-31; Hebrews 4:16; John 15:7; James 4:3; Galatians 6:1-2
“Prayer is not a convenient device for imposing our will upon God, or for bending his will to ours, but the prescribed way of subordinating our will to his. It is by prayer that we seek God’s will, embrace it and align ourselves with it. Every true prayer is a variation of the theme ‘your will be done.’” John Stott
You Make Me Brave – Bethel Music Publishing
Resurrecting – Elevation Worship