And here we get to John’s conclusion in 1 John 5:13-20. He’s been summarizing for some time as when a chef bakes something, stirring the ingredients for a while and while stirring, pours a new ingredient in, stirs it in, and then pours in another. So, whatever that is called in the kitchen, John has been doing that for two chapters now.
And then the concluding remarks:
1. The whole point was so that people who desire to follow God through Jesus Christ might know with assurance that they are on the right path. They believe Christ has died for him. They believe he was the Son of God. They believe so much it changes their lives into obedience, not perfectly yet, but perfectly once we finally see Christ! What a glorious message John has been giving us through this epistle!
2. God promises to hear our prayers and assure us through his answering of them. Wow! This doesn’t mean that we can expect to command God or change his will, but we do see that our worshipful prayers are heard and that hearing and answering is intentional assurance.
3. We should pray for sinning brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes, God has decided that certain sins lead to death. At other times, God has decided that he will hear prayers on their behalf (and we pray them motivated by God’s Spirit as we read passages like this). (Not even John knew which was which, so we should avoid those who say they know.)
4. John reiterates that Christians will sin. Repentance, not license, is the Godward attitude. We’ll know the difference. The person whose life’s trajectory is sinful does not have assurance. The runner who intends to finish the marathon does not need to despair when he stumbles. Such a runner is protected by God’s Son from the clutching grasp of the devil.
5. We know that stumbling will occur. The world is against this message of Jesus Christ. We will hear so many messages that are intended to cause us to doubt. See #1 above.
6. Even so, Satan’s power is not so extensive that it can prevent God from reaching his children and rescuing them, giving them understanding to see the difference between the pleasures of sin and the peace of God, he who is truth and eternal life!
7. Resisting the distracting or frightening idols of this world is such a powerful aid to our assurance that John closes with it. (Note: self-righteous pride is an idol too.)
Application: We can know that we know God. We can know that we know Jesus Christ. We can know that the devil does not know how to hold on to us through his scare and shame tactics. We can know that we are bound for eternal life, peace now and perfect peace for all eternity. We can know! So, if you are hung up on doubt, read this again and talk to someone. If this has killed your doubt, then move past the devil’s distraction and get to serving God!