Daily Reading: (1 John 5:12-17) 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
“Whatever we ask… we know that we have? Before you start dreaming up what you would do with your lottery winnings, let’s break the verses down a bit to understand what John is really saying.
This is the confidence (parrēsia)- free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance.
we have in approaching God: Approaching is a fairly poor translation of (pros)- I prefer the rendering- (position and state looking toward). Cheerful courage and boldness denotes a willingness and want as we look to God. If you know God the Father’s heart towards you- as you look to Him you do so cheerfully, with boldness and courage (1 John 5:14).
that if we ask anything according to his will, (so this takes away our lottery prayer). The condition for the answer to our prayer is His will. It all hinges on His will. What is the will of God? I am so glad that you asked- because if you know what the will of God is then you know if you pray according to it the answer to your prayers will be yes.
The Will of God (thelēma)-
- the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ,
- of what God wishes to be done by us.
Now verse thirteen is really what starts this whole discussion of prayer off. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. There are believers who are unaware their salvation is secure in Christ (1 John 5:13) and because of that it is impossible to have confidence in approaching God when they pray (1 John 5:14).
1 John 5:12) “Whoever has the Son” (echo)- to have or hold. A mention that our salvation is secure in Christ. 1 John 5:13: that you have eternal life”. (echo) back to back mentions that our salvation in Christ is secure. You have and hold salvation because Christ has and holds you. (1 John 5:13-14).
So, now we see what John’s intent was before the believer’s phone home (1 John 5:12-13). But after they phone home he also wants to make sure they aren’t tempted to pray for that flat tire or even worse (1 John 5:16-17).
16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
The most important thing here is that John uses the word (adelphos)- although it can be interpreted as brethren in Christ, it also can be interpreted as any fellow or man. If you do a word study throughout this entire letter, John uses (agapētos)- beloved or (teknon)- children of God or even (pisteuō)- those who believe. When John is speaking of man, in general, he might use (adelphos).
John in this instance is not referencing believers in 1 John 5:16.
“commit”– (hamartanō)- to miss the mark.
“a sin” (hamartia)-that which is done wrong, sin.
This doesn’t give us any insight into the kind of sin- it is non-descriptive. The sin doesn’t matter because sin, in general, is death- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death.
“lead to death” (thanatos)- the death of the body, the miserable state of the wicked dead in hell.
So, putting it altogether- John is talking about those whose sins have separated them from God, they have not received Jesus yet, and they are still living on the earth. Pray for those who are separated from God by sin, but have not yet died, that they might know Jesus and receive everlasting life.