1 John 5:14-17, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.”
The Apostle John now moves on from our absolute knowledge of belonging to Christ Jesus and Him abiding within us as we abide with Him, to the benefits of having that absolute knowledge and especially as it relates to prayer and the total confidence we can have in our prayer life.
When we truly know that we have eternal life as the Apostle has reassured us to this point, we have a privilege, a confidence in that very fact. One of the most awesome privileges afforded a true child of God’s, a true follower of Christ Jesus, is the ability to commune on a personal and intimate basis with our Heavenly Father through the authority given us by Jesus Christ.
As the writer of Hebrews stated we are able to confidently, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16.
When we were lost in sin, our Heavenly Father could not, because of His purity and holiness be in the presence of our sin. Since Jesus came and voluntarily spanned the gap between our sinfulness and God’s presence by shedding His Blood for each of us individually, what our Heavenly Father now sees in each of us is the pureness, and the holiness that the Blood of Jesus has cleansed us with. In the Father’s eyes, He sees His Son in each of us who have accepted His Son’s gift. This affords us the confidence come before His presence with boldness and grace.
Because of Jesus Christ and the renewed spirit that we have within, we are now able to commune intimately with our Heavenly Father, which is the reason that Jesus came to earth to fulfill His mission of redemption to begin with. He came to show us the Father and the Way, the ONLY way TO the Father! When we accepted Christ Jesus into our lives, by way of His Holy Spirit, Christ Jesus opened the only Way available to us to have access to the presence of our Heavenly Father, our Creator!
Therefore, since we have this confidence, we have two very special and distinct advantages. First, we have the confidence that if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He hears us. Now this is a very important concept and especially if you are a new born-again Christian. How do we know the will of God? Especially when we hear that His thoughts and ways are so far above our own. (Isaiah 55:8-9).
This is one of the awesome reasons why we have the written Word. It is the written interpretation of the Living Word, Who was with God and is God, from the very beginning of time! (John 1:1-2). Through it we not only learn Who God, our Heavenly Father is, His Nature, Character and Attributes, but also what kind of relationship He desires with His creation and how we can attain that relationship that was lost through willful sinfulness.
Also, when we read His Word, we have a promise that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ Jesus, the Living Word, will remind us of what is important to have a holy, righteous life in Him. (John 14:26). Plus, the Holy Spirit helps us to pray when we don’t know what to pray for. (Romans 8:26).
We can truly KNOW what the will of God is; maybe not in every specific circumstance, but overall as far as our relationship with Him and one another is concerned. When we pray therefore, according to His will, we can KNOW that He hears us. Secondly, since we KNOW that He hears us, in whatever we ask according to His will, we can have confidence then that we will have whatever the petitions we asked for! God will ALWAYS be true to His Word. If we know we ask according to His will, His will is always perfect, thus He will always be willing to perform His will when we ask accordingly. He will ALWAYS back up His own Word!
There is another advantage that is so often overlooked. Here John is speaking and teaching about the confidence we have in coming before our Heavenly Father with our petitions. Those things we are asking of Him, the things we feel we are in need of, either for ourselves or for others. But we can expand on that by recognizing that when we have eternal life through Christ Jesus, we can commune with the Father and not just when we need something.
As our Heavenly Father, God Almighty, already knows our hearts and needs even before we ask, but like any loved One, He desires that we willingly open up to Him intimately. It may seem at times that what we speak to Him about is mundane and unimportant. Why would anybody go to the God of Creation with things that are not important in the larger scheme of things? Yet so much of the time, we forget that He is a very PERSONAL God. He IS a very personal Father. He desires to have a normal, personal relationship with His children. Yes, He IS God Almighty and His ways and thoughts are so far above us, yet, He also desires that we approach Him AS a loved one. That is where real and true worship comes into play! As the Beloved Apostle wrote in his Gospel, our Heavenly Father is looking for and desires those who WILL worship Him in Spirit and in Truth! (John 4:24). He wants us to worship and love Him for Who He truly is; a Father!
Now, this is where a lot of commentators, teachers and preachers would stop, separating the next couple of verses from what we just taught. But, John is still talking about the confidence we have in prayer because of our abiding in Christ Jesus. He is just expounding on another aspect of prayer in God’s will.
In this charged area of “political correctness” even in “religious” circles, everybody is afraid of being accused of “judging” another and sadly this is because of so much false and inadequate teaching by those who ONLY want to give out the honey and sugary messages, not realizing that what they are doing is creating an ineffectual and lethargic “church” people, having exactly what the Apostle Paul warned his apprentice Timothy about, “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” – 2 Timothy 3:5.
We ARE to look out for one another. We ARE to lovingly care for one another on an eternal stage rather than just a temporary one. True Agape, unconditional, Godly love demands that when you see a TRUE Brother or Sister in trouble, “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” – Romans 15:1. The Apostle Paul also wrote this; “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:1-2.
This is a direct confirmation to that which the Apostle John is teaching. Remember, our weapons, our tools are spiritual, not carnal; “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
We can pray with confidence for others as well as for ourselves and if according to God’s will the same applies to one we see who has stumbled into sin. We ALL continue to do things that our Heavenly Father is not proud of. Whether it be in action or in thought, this is the spiritual battle we fight everyday until we are truly redeemed once and for all! We KNOW, according to God’s Word that He desires none to perish, but that all may come to know salvation. (2 Peter 3:9). Thus it is well within God’s will for us to pray for mankind as well as Brothers and Sisters that they may be enlightened, and if necessary, converted and saved. For Brothers and Sisters that they be forgiven and that the Holy Spirit reveals, or convinces, them of wrong doing that they may repent and be pardoned and that they may be delivered from evil temptations.
Here though John shows us a division in sins that we can be convinced God will hear prayers for and sins that are beyond prayer. It seems that the Apostle is leaving it for the most part to the Holy Spirit to counsel and convince a believer in which is which. There are sins that do not lead to death, at least in the sense that they can be repented of, forgiven and pardoned and as the Bible states, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12.
Now we have to remember, lest some say there is a contradiction, that the Bible does state, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23. All sin leads to death, but as Paul stated in Romans, in Christ Jesus we DO have the confidence of eternal life. Sin that has been covered and washed in the Blood of Jesus Christ is removed from us forever and it is like we never sinned. Anytime we are disobedient to the Lord after that, those sins have to be acknowledged and repented of but we have the confidence in God that they WILL be forgiven in Christ Jesus. This is not a license to continue in sin, however it is a guarantee, a covenant and a promise that we have an Advocate Who will continue to intercede on our behalf, and His Holy Spirit is ever present to convict, (convince) us to get back in right-standing with our Heavenly Father, through Christ Jesus.
But there is a sin that John hints at that DOES lead to death and since he is talking about spiritual life, we must also assume he is referring to spiritual death. To me, there is only ONE sin that I can find in the Bible that confirms this, though commentators, teachers and preachers give lists of other possible sins. When it comes to confirmation in Scripture, that is what I have to refer too. I HAVE too rely on Scripture to confirm Scripture.
The Apostle Matthew in his Gospel recorded this exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” – Matthew 12:30-32.
For many, many years there has been some controversy about what the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is. Even historic commentaries have a troubled time identifying what this could be and yet, we first have to recognize Who the Holy Spirit is and what His mission and purpose is. We know that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ Jesus, sent by the Father to lead, guide, counsel and convince men into all truths concerning God’s Son and His mission to show us the Father through Himself. The Holy Spirit empowers us with the same gifts that Jesus exhibited so that rather than being confined to a single section of this earth, the Spirit of Christ can be extended across the whole globe.
The Holy Spirit, by His very abiding presence, His ability to inhabit, renew and restore our spirit, seals us unto the day of redemption. This is another confirmation for Paul writes, “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” – Ephesians 4:26-30.
The Holy Spirit is a seal that we BELONG to Christ Jesus when we have accepted His sacrifice for us. He has come to lead sinful man to a state of repentance by opening blind eyes and ears so that individual man may KNOW the truth and make a voluntary decision to choose Christ Jesus or not. When a person rejects Christ Jesus, He is in essence rejecting the truth that the Holy Spirit is revealing to Him and thus is calling the Holy Spirit, also known as the Spirit of Truth, a liar! This is why Jesus stated you can blaspheme the Son of God, but to blaspheme the Spirit of Truth is to deny the very Spirit of God as a lie.
Now understand something, this is not a one-time attitude or a word out of anger. Rather, it is something that is caused by an actual hardening of the heart towards the truth. This is a determined and willful act to reject the truth that is being revealed to an individual. It is a hard thing to comprehend, but it IS something that truly happens in certain people. Even in death, they reject the mercy and grace of the Lord and have hardened their hearts and minds to the extent of not wanting anything to do with the Spirit of God.
There is another aspect of blaspheming the Holy Spirit that we won’t get into right now for it can be a whole study in itself. It is one I hope to undertake very soon. It is the concept of Apostasy. However, like the concept of the attribute of love, the world has taken the bite out of the concept of apostasy, but there is a spiritual significance that can’t be ignored. Apostasy IS a type of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Again though, we will study that aspect later on.
In closing this part of our lesson however, we need to understand that the Beloved Apostle is not commanding to NOT pray for those who have rejected the truth, but rather it is presented more as a suggestion. It is possible this is a prayer the Lord will not, or does not hear. When one has totally rejected the Spirit of Truth, there is nothing left for them, for they have hardened their hearts with their final decision and God, because He IS a loving God will NOT force His will upon one of His creation. We must be willing to choose His will over our own. That is the essence of true, Godly Love!
In verse 17, this last verse in this section, the Beloved Apostle sums up what he has just taught on. All sin does lead to death, but we have confidence that these sins can be acknowledged, repented of, pardoned and then forgotten by God through the Blood of Jesus Christ. This is our confidence. This is what I expressed in the last study as being our most Blessed Assurance!