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.