Post image for The Epistles of John (Part 31): 1 John 3:19–22

The Epistles of John (Part 31): 1 John 3:19–22

by Stephen Hebert on Wednesday - 4 March 2009

in Biblical Studies, New Testament

This is the 31st part of an ongoing series on the Epistles of John.

English Standard Version Nestle-Aland 27
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. [Καὶ] ἐν τούτῳ γνωσόμεθα ὅτι ἐκ τῆς ἀληθείας ἐσμέν, καὶ ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ πείσομεν τὴν καρδίαν ἡμῶν, ὅτι ἐὰν καταγινώσκῃ ἡμῶν ἡ καρδία, ὅτι μείζων ἐστὶν ὁ θεὸς τῆς καρδίας ἡμῶν καὶ γινώσκει πάντα. Ἀγαπητοί, ἐὰν ἡ καρδία [ἡμῶν] μὴ καταγινώσκῃ, παρρησίαν ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ ὃ ἐὰν αἰτῶμεν λαμβάνομεν ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ τηροῦμεν καὶ τὰ ἀρεστὰ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ ποιοῦμεν.

[W]e have confidence before God…

I find it difficult to have confidence before God. Here I am, a puny speck of a man, taking up a very small amount of space on this huge blue rock that is hurdling through space at thousands of miles per hour. Yet, if my heart does not condemn me, then I can somehow stand with confidence before the one who created all of that.

I find it difficult to have confidence when I stand in front of the mirror, much less the omniscient, omnipresent, all-powerful Lord of the Universe!

Let’s examine this: What does it mean for our heart to condemn us?

I have stood in the wrong so many times. I have hurt others. I stood condemned. In this sense, I know what it means to be convicted.

Condemnation from the heart, I think, is a different matter. The Holy Spirit dwells inside us and works through, and in spite of, us. To be condemned in the heart, in my opinion, means to stand in a position where you have expelled the light of the Spirit from its rightful abode. You have forced God out of your heart, and the sense of guilt, shame, and separation from God causes you to lose all confidence.

This is a tough position to find yourself. You must claw back. Come crawling to God on your knees and beg forgiveness. The good news? He’ll give it to you. “God is greater than our heart…”

Conversely, when we are walking in the Light of God, when we are following his lead, when we are seeking his ways day-by-day, our heart does not condemn us and we have confidence and boldness (παρρησία) before him. When we are in this state, we receive whatever we ask from him.

Have you ever felt like you were receiving what you were asking for? Do you ever wonder if you’re asking for the right things?

I have often wondered the latter. Perhaps I have fooled myself into believing that I can approach God with boldness and confidence, when really I am ignoring that nagging condemnation of my heart.

One truth is sufficient: God is greater and he redeems all.

Article Series - The Epistles of John

  1. The Epistles of John (Part 1): 1 John 1:1–4
  2. The Epistles of John (Part 2): 1 John 1:5
  3. The Epistles of John (Part 3): 1 John 1:6–7
  4. The Epistles of John (Part 4): 1 John 1:8–10
  5. The Epistles of John (Part 5): 1 John 2:1
  6. The Epistles of John (Part 6): 1 John 2:2
  7. The Epistles of John (Part 7): 1 John 2:3–6
  8. The Epistles of John (Part 8): 1 John 2:7–8
  9. The Epistles of John (Part 9): 1 John 2:9–11
  10. The Epistles of John (Part 10): 1 John 2:12
  11. The Epistles of John (Part 11): 1 John 2:13
  12. The Epistles of John (Part 12): 1 John 2:14
  13. The Epistles of John (Part 13): 1 John 2:15
  14. The Epistles of John (Part 14): 1 John 2:16
  15. The Epistles of John (Part 15): 1 John 2:17
  16. The Epistles of John (Part 16): 1 John 2:18
  17. The Epistles of John (Part 17): 1 John 2:19
  18. The Epistles of John (Part 18): 1 John 2:20
  19. The Epistles of John (Part 19): 1 John 2:21
  20. The Epistles of John (Part 20): 1 John 2:22
  21. The Epistles of John (Part 21): 1 John 2:23–25
  22. The Epistles of John (Part 22): 1 John 2:26–27
  23. The Epistles of John (Part 23): 1 John 2:28
  24. The Epistles of John (Part 24): 1 John 2:29
  25. The Epistles of John (Part 25): 1 John 3:1–3
  26. The Epistles of John (Part 26): 1 John 3:4–6
  27. The Epistles of John (Part 27): 1 John 3:7–10
  28. The Epistles of John (Part 28): 1 John 3:11–12
  29. The Epistles of John (Part 29): 1 John 3:13
  30. The Epistles of John (Part 30): 1 John 3:14-18
  31. The Epistles of John (Part 31): 1 John 3:19–22
  32. The Epistles of John (Part 32): 1 John 3:23–24
  33. The Epistles of John (Part 33): 1 John 4:1–3
  34. The Epistles of John (Part 34): 1 John 4:4–6
  35. The Epistles of John (Part 35): 1 John 4:7-8
  36. The Epistles of John (Part 36): 1 John 4:9
  37. The Epistles of John (Part 37): 1 John 4:10
  38. The Epistles of John (Part 38): 1 John 4:11-12
  39. The Epistles of John (Part 39): 1 John 4:13–14
  40. The Epistles of John (Part 40): 1 John 4:15
  41. The Epistles of John (Part 41): 1 John 4:16–17
  42. The Epistles of John (Part 42): 1 John 4:18–19
  43. The Epistles of John (Part 43): 1 John 4:20–21
  44. The Epistles of John (Part 44): 1 John 5:1
  45. The Epistles of John (Part 45): 1 John 5:2-3

Previous post:

Next post: