21 Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence.
The word used for “confidence” means freedom or frankness in speaking, freely saying all one thinks, or all that he pleases. This denotes a personal relationship and confidence toward God. However, it is not an arrogant presumption or cockiness, but a test for genuineness.
22 "And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him."
Prayer is the subject of this verse. It would be easy to think that this verse teaches that we can ask and receive anything from God. The word picture for “ask” is like a beggar from the giver, a child by the parent or most importantly, man from God. The reason “whatever” we ask of God is answered is found in the latter part of the verse. “Because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in the father’s sight.” Those who truly know the Lord will not engage in a constant self-centered selfish prayer life. A true believer will ask according to God’s will, those things which are in line with God.
23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.
John lays down the commandment in this verse, which is two-fold. The first part is that we believe on the name of God’s son, Jesus Christ. The second part of the command is that we love another. The word used for “believe” means to have faith, belief or to give credit. Why the repeated command to love? Because God’s nature is love.
24 Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.
In this last and final verse in this passage and the chapter, John gives a final test of genuine conversion. He elaborates on the object that he mentioned in the previous verse, the commandments. Jesus kept the law and when we are “in him” the law was kept for us. The word used for “abide” means to remain, dwell, abide, endure, last, preserve, to stand firm or steadfast, to remain alive. If we are in Christ we will love fellow believers and will have the desire and power to do what is right and therefore keep God’s commandments.
- How is your fellowship with God?
- How can you trust His love more today and be confident in who He is calling you to become?