Following a wonderful celebration of our risen Savior; it seems appropriate to look at some promises we have because of Christ’s death and resurrection. John MacArthur calls these promises “Certainties because of Christ” from 1 John 5:13-15 and 1 John 5:18-20.
The certainties from this passage are: eternal life, answered prayer, victory over sin and the beautiful fact that we are from God and not of this world.
Immediately, in verse 13, we read that we have the certainty of eternal life. As our Senior Pastor, Matt, reminded us, our eternal life started when we surrendered to Christ. It is our incredible relationship with Jesus that comes through believing “in the name of the Son of God” – through believing - through faith, we have eternal life now.
Also in verses 14 & 15, 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.
I love this truth – to know that Jesus hears my prayers. At the same time it also challenges me to pray His will for my life.
What is His will? MacArthur says this is the key to answered prayer – to pray according to God’s will, and “not just for what we want God to do for us.” He reminds us that if we read God’s Word and if we live it out, that as we obey God’s Word we are aligned with Him. Subsequently, our prayers will reflect His will.
In addition, I wonder if it is also God’s will for us to give him glory for everything.
I was listening to John Piper’s podcast, A God-Entranced Vision of All, where Piper speaks of Jonathan Edwards, an 18th century preacher/writer. Edwards believed “God is glorified not only by his glories being seen, but by its being rejoiced in.” In my paraphrase, God wants us to have joy because He created us in His image, He created our passions, and it is good to be joyful in all we have.
I love spending time in my backyard. I enjoy trimming the roses, watering the grass, inspecting the grapevine and the fruit trees. I was reminded that God created all that I enjoy and I praise Him for it. I can’t help but think that God wants us to have joy in Him when we remember that every good and perfect gift comes from Him, the Creator (James 1:17). So, as I enjoy the backyard, I enjoy my God who created it. I wonder if Edwards was right in believing that God gets glory when we recognize and enjoy His gifts. I wonder if the world should see our joy because we have much to rejoice.
The Apostle John writes in 1 John 1:4, “We write these things so that our joy may be complete.” MacArthur says that the main point of this epistle was to create joy in the believers he was writing to - joy because of what they knew (and we now know) about the gospel.
Next, we have the certainty of victory over sin. Verse 18 tells us that we do not keep on sinning. MacArthur refers us back to 1 John 3:9 where it says, “We do not make a practice of sinning.” We will sin, but 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Finally, we have the certainty of belonging to God. Verse 19 says, “We know we are from God.” This is encouraging since John is saying that there are only two kinds of people – those who are of God and those who are not.
I’ll conclude with this little formula that MacArthur uses to summarize 1 John:
Sound faith, obedience, and love that results in happiness, holiness, and assurance.
We have assurance that we have eternal life with Christ; assurance that Jesus hears and answers our prayers; assurance that through Christ, we have victory over sin; and assurance that we are of God. I’m reminded of Romans 8:31b and 32, “If God is for us, who can be against us. He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with him graciously give us all things?” I am encouraged to find my joy in the gospel - in all of what Christ has done for us.