I am writing this to you so that you may know that you have eternal life – you that believe in the Son of God (v13)
As John prepares to conclude his first letter, he again reminds us that we must believe that Jesus is the Messiah. This is the foundation of our faith; that by believing in Him we can become a child of God. As we love the Father we will then love his child. (see verse 1)
My first thought reading this statement of loving the Father’s child, was that John was referring to Jesus who is of course Gods Son and child, but then I realised that John is referring to US – We are his children as stated in the beginning of the verse and therefore he is referring to us loving God’s other children – our brothers and sisters. This is how we we know that we are God’s children, we love one another and obey his commands. If we love God then obeying him is not too hard as he has given us his Spirit to help us. Jesus said:
If you love me, you will obey my commandments (John 14 v 15)
In John 14 verse 24 Jesus say that whoever does not obey him does not love him. So what is that commandment?
My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. (John 15 v 12)
This is repeated again in John 15 v 17
We then see that by doing this, we can defeat the evil that is in the world. This is twofold in that we have defeated the evil in us firstly by accepting Christ’s gift of salvation and then secondly in continuing to live in his will. In John 15 verses 18 to 19, we see that the world hates us because it hated Jesus first. We are no longer of the world if we are God’s children. The world only loves it’s own, but we see in 1 John 5 verse 4-5 that every child of God – those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, is able to win victory over the world and defeat it. The world in this context refers to sin and evil.
Through faith in Jesus Christ we have the testimony that God has given us eternal life;
The testimony is this; God has given us eternal life, and this life has its source in his Son. Whoever has the Son has this life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (v 11-12)
We see in verses 6 to 10 that God has given testimony about his Son. Right at Jesus baptism in Matthew 3 v 17, Mark 9 v 7 we see God’s declaration that Jesus is his Son and that he loves him. This is confirmed through the anointing of the Holy Spirit on Jesus as he is baptised in water and later through the blood of Jesus sacrifice. The water, Spirit and blood are all witnesses of this and so we who believe can have this testimony in our hearts. It is important to note that Jesus was fully the Son of God both at his birth and at his death. There were some of that time teaching that the Holy Spirit had left Jesus before his final death, but that cannot be the case as it would have rendered his sacrifice invalid. That would have made him an ordinary human being at the time of his death, which would not have been a sufficient sacrifice for the the sins of all, it would have meant that his blood could not cleanse us. His resurrection was proof that he was the Son of God and as we saw in Hebrews, the veil being torn in two in the temple confirmed that the old covenant had been “torn up” and the new was made.
Many Christians will share their “testimony” by sharing the story of how they came to Christ. Some have dramatic and interesting stories, others have a more simple (but no less interesting story), but then they stop. This is only the start; our translations of the bible don’t always convey that many of these scriptures are written in what is known as “continuous present tense”. In other words, our salvation and testimony are not a one off event. It is continuous. We continue to be saved by continuing to repent of sin, continuing to love God and be obedient to him, continuing to love one another, continuing to be filled with His Spirit so our testimony continues with how God is teaching and working withing us to purify us as we continue our lives in him, how he blesses us and saves us daily.
We have been sharing our “testimonies” with our youth group under the theme of “Jesus and Me”, but an important part of it is where we are now – what is God doing in our lives now, not just 40 years ago or whenever we first believed.
We have courage in God’s presence, because we are sure that he hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will. He hears us whenever we ask him, and since we know that this is true, we know also that he gives us what we ask from him (v14 & 15)
Note that verse 15 is conditional on verse 14. We cannot take it out of context and simply say that God will give us whatever we ask from him. It must be according to his will. If you are asking for something which is not in line with God’s word, then the answer will definitely be NO! (eg if you are asking for God to give you a promotion or a job which will mean you being away from Church a lot, or may cause you to compromise your faith then it is probably not going to be in his will).
This is where staying close to God and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us is so important. We will have this witness that we are praying according to his will. We may not get the answer we want but we still pray according to his will.
A friend who was given a terminal diagnosis stated that he was in a “Win Win” situation – if God healed him, he won, if God chose not to and take him home – he still won, but we knew that it was still within God’s will that we should pray for his healing. In this situation he received complete healing in being given his new heavenly body.
In John’s concluding remarks he refers to “the sin that leads to death”. From our study of Hebrews and James, we concluded that the “sin that leads to death” is the denial of Jesus as God’s son and the Messiah. Until this is acknowledged, we cannot receive salvation. We are to pray and help our brothers and sisters to remain free of sin.
We cannot remain in sin once we are born of God – we will still sin as we are still within imperfect human bodies, but the Holy Spirit leads us to keep short accounts with God and ensure that we do not allow anything to build up a barrier between us and lead us to wander away from him.
Quotes from The Good News Bible