The Confidence We Have

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14).

- 1 John 5:14–15

In today’s passage, John begins to offer some concluding remarks and applications of the teaching of his first epistle. Having told us how we might find assurance of salvation, the apostle gives us a few final exhortations before he lays down his pen.

Verse 14 returns to the subject of having confidence before God that John spoke of in 3:21. We saw then that when we are assured of our salvation we gain confidence before God, confidence that makes us obey His will and thus receive from Him what we request. True assurance produces obedience, and obedience results in us seeing answered prayer in accordance with God’s will.

When we studied 3:21 we were careful to note that our obedience is not necessarily the cause of God’s affirmative responses to prayer (nor does it ensure it). We know God only says yes to our prayers when we pray according to His will. Therefore, obedience is linked to such answered prayer in that those who obey God know His will and therefore pray in line with His will much of the time.

It is 5:14 that tells us explicitly God “hears us,” that is, God answers our prayers in the affirmative when we pray according to His will. Verse 15 is like it, telling us that if we know God hears us, then we can know we will have our requests granted. In other words, both verses give us confidence that anything asked for in accordance with God’s will shall be done.

In one sense this can go without saying since the Bible uniformly asserts God’s will is always done (for example, Job 42:2). Why then do we pray? In the first place, we pray because we are commanded to do so (Matt. 6:5–15). God tells us to pray, and since He is our Lord, we must do so.

Secondly, we know that though God’s will is always done, He often uses us to accomplish His will. God ordains our prayers and uses them as a powerful means to bring about the ends He has also decreed. We do not know what God has ordained, but we do know He uses our prayers to bring about His ends. As we pray according to His will He uses us as tools to execute His purposes.

Coram Deo

God’s will is always accomplished, and we must remember that our prayers are meaningfully used by God to bring about His purposes. God has decided to use us to accomplish His ordained ends, and this privilege should move us to seek His will so we might pray properly and effectually. Spend some time in prayer today, asking God to help you understand and pray His will at all times.

Passages for Further Study

Ps. 138:8
Isa. 55:10–11
James 5:13–18
1 Peter 4:1–2

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