1Jn 5:13-15 “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
As John moves toward the close of his first epistle, he calls our attention to a very important point. These scriptures are not written to persuade anyone to believe in Jesus. The truths written in this letter are addressed to those that already have confidence (believe) in the character and authority (name) of Jesus.
We might read the Bible, a history like that of Josephus, or other ancient texts and come to the conclusion that there was a teacher whose name was Jesus. Being confident of His sinless character and His authority to forgive sins only comes by the revealing power of God. Jesus told Peter that flesh and blood had not revealed to him the truth that Jesus is the Christ; this understanding was given from God, the Father (Mat 16:17). This is a true statement for all that believe on His name.
It is God, through the person of the Holy Spirit, who convinces us of our sin and our need for a Savior. As He teaches us from His word, we grow in grace and come to know that we have eternal life in Him. As the Spirit leads us in the study of His word, we come to a deeper confidence that Jesus is not only the Saviour but He is our Savior. By God’s grace we are taught that the shed blood of Jesus Christ is the only hope of sinners; John was writing to people that believe this. John was writing to people that believe this so that, as we are brought to the knowledge that we have eternal life, we are also brought to the deeper confidence that Jesus didn’t just shed His blood for a generic group of people called sinners; Jesus shed His blood for me.
Once we have been brought to the understanding that David had when he penned “The Lord is my shepherd,” we then have the confidence to petition Him according to His will. For a petition to be meaningful to men, it requires that many names be attached to it. There is only one name that needs to be attached to our petitions to God, the Father; that name is Jesus. We have the liberty and the assurance that we can ask anything in accord with His will and know He hears us. Not only does He hear us, but we know that the Father will grant every petition (prayer) that is brought to Him in accordance with the will of His Son (Joh 16:23).
Prayer is not a wish list of worldly goods, and God is not some Santa-like being sitting around waiting to satisfy our humanistic demands. It was this understanding that caused Jesus’s disciples to ask Him “Teach us to pray (Luk 11:1).” Jesus gave us a model prayer; it is a pattern for our prayers. However, Paul realized that even with this model prayer, we still need the Spirit in order to pray. Without the leadership of the Spirit “…we know not what to pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us…(Rom 8:26).”
If we are not confident in the character and authority of Jesus Christ, then all of this means nothing. If, by God’s grace, we are confident and comforted by a sure belief on the name of the Son of God, then we know that not even death can defeat us. No petition that comes from our heart in accord with Jesus’s will is too great for the Father. No lack of ability on our part will keep our petition from being heard because the Spirit makes intercession for us, and we have the peace of knowing that if we do ask amiss He is gracious to withhold the granting of that petition (Jas 4:3).
May we have confidence in our hearts today in the ability of Jesus Christ to do more than we ask according to His power that works in us (Eph 3:20)!