1 John 5:13-21 (ESV)
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.
18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Day 1: Loving God
Four times in this passage, John repeats the phrase, “we know” (vv. 15, 18, 19, 20) to assure us of our belonging in God’s family and the spiritual privileges implied therein. Normally, the king is not someone we can approach on our own terms whenever we want. We can only approach when we are summoned, and even that with fear and trembling. And yet, it says in verse 14 that we may have “confidence … [before God],” we may be frank with Him, be bold in His presence. Why? Because, as verse 13 says, we “believe in the name of the Son of God [and] … [have] eternal life.” Because we have been born again into His family through faith in Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus, we would have zero confidence before the throne of God above. We are sinners, rebels guilty of high treason. We were God’s enemies. But because Jesus intercedes for us at the right hand of God, because Jesus interposed His own blood, by dying on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, it is now our birthright to be in the presence of the King. So we are not ashamed! We are not insecure! We are not hesitant! Instead, we are bold, direct, and confident!
- Regardless of how you feel, take time to thank God and rehearse in prayer the things that you knowto be true because of Jesus Christ.
- Confess the ways in which you have seen God as severe, harsh, detached, or uncaring toward you, and pray for renewed confidence and joy before God.
- Pray that this confidence in Christ would fuel for your prayer life.
Day 2: Loving One Another
Verses 16-17 tells us that when we see a fellow Christian “committing a sin not leading to death,” we are to pray to God for him or her, and that, if we do, “God will give” that brother or sister who is sinning eternal “life.” Our intercessory prayer will bring that brother or sister to repentance and forgiveness, so that his or her sin does not lead finally to eternal death. As James 5:20 says, “whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” God has ordained that by our prayers for one another that we would be preserved unto eternal life! God has ordained that we stand guard between fellow believers and their eternal death! Our prayer for one another is a matter of life and death!
- Pray that God would increase your love for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Pray specifically for the sins of your brothers and sisters in Christ in the church, that God would lead them to repentance and restoration.
- Pray that our church family would grow in confessing our sins to one another and speaking the truth in love to one another.
Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
Verse 20 teaches us that “[God’s] Son Jesus Christ … is the true God and eternal life.” For this reason, to deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came in human flesh, to deny that He is the one who imparts eternal life, is to deny the one true God and tantamount to idolatry. This is the logic of verse 21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” One cannot rightly believe in God the Father without being in His Son Jesus Christ. We must be assured in this, “We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.” If we were assured in this truth as John wants us to be, we would have greater boldness and urgency in our witness to our neighbors about Jesus. Do we really believe that Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” and that “no one comes to the Father except through [Him]” (John 14:6)? Do we really believe that all worship that deviates from this truth is idolatry? Do we really believe that we possess the only hope for eternal life? If people are so frantically trying to develop a vaccine to lessen the chance of physical death from COVID-19, should we not urgently share the only cure for certain, eternal death?
- Pray that God would increase our faith in Jesus, so that we have greater urgency and boldness in sharing the gospel.
- Pray for the salvation of neighbors and friends by name, and pray for opportunities to tell them about Jesus.
- Pray for revival in Cambridge/Boston and New England, that the Spirit of God would powerfully reveal Jesus Christ who reveals the Father, so that the idols of our cities might be cast down.