Friday in the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 John 5:13-15

That You May Know

John now approaches the end of his letter, and when one says a lot of things, it’s good to wind up by reminding the reader why one wrote the letter in the first place.  The Apostle did the same thing when he was putting the finishing touches on his gospel.  There, he said, “These [things] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).  So the purpose for his gospel was evangelistic and persuasive—which is why we call the four writers of the gospels, “evangelists.”  In his letter, however, he writes to believers, and so his purpose is primarily to affirm them in the faith.  So here, he writes, “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.”  Eternal life is the reward and fruit of saving faith.  No, God does not have to so reward us.  But He has so ordained matters such that saving faith cannot but lead to eternal life as such faith is in and through His Son who is the Life.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is all about life, which it had to be since sin is all about death (Genesis 2:16-17; Romans 6:23).  All that John has discussed in this letter—his long discussions about doctrine and life—is all to encourage us in the faith as we march to that life which truly is life.

And because we even now have this life by faith in Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we know that our loving Father hears our prayers—when we ask anything according to His will—an important proviso.  But as believers who live by faith in Christ, we should have the mind of Christ and so know those requests for which our God will approve.  In other words, to ask for something outside God’s will indicates an area of concern within ourselves.  Are we asking for selfish and vain reasons, to spend on our passions (James 4:3)?  We must check our hearts and make sure that our requests agree with God’s word—which is our source and guide for how to pray.

We might struggle with verse fifteen as we know that we have prayed for matters which would agree with His will revealed in Scripture but have not been answered.  Still, we must remember that during such times, we must keep faith and pray with patience and persistence (Luke 18:1-8).  We do not know as God knows; He is Sovereign God and we are the creature.  In all prayer, we must believe two things: 1) God loves and hears us; and, 2) God knows all things and works all things for our good and His great glory (Romans 8:28).  Bow before His majesty and be content.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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