1 John 3:21-24
1 John 3:21 (KJB)
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
Condemn - Judge or blame
Confidence - Boldness, openness in speech, or assurance
A Christian who does not suffer from an accusing conscience will be able to approach the Lord in boldness and assurance. This means that we can pray without realizing we have ulterior motives in our prayers but that we have pure motives and conscience. Our hearts will condemn us if we are engaging in a sin and we will not have the right standing before God, even though our sins are already forgiven, we will have an attack of conscience. For example, a person is praying to the Lord for financial help while playing the lottery. That would be double mindedness because we are seeking the Lord while we are using the world system. God would not be able to bless in that case because one cannot participate in the world system and expect God to bless. That would be an attitude of just in case the Lord don’t answer, maybe I will hit the lottery. That would definitely condemn a regenerated heart before God.
1 John 3:22 (KJB)
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
Now this verse is definitely not speaking of name it and claim it. Let us jump ahead a little bit. (1 John 5:14 KJV) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 1 John 5:14 gives us the insight concerning the answer to prayer. We will receive the things that we ask for if we ask according to His will. (James 4:3 KJV) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. James tells us that we will not receive the requests we ask for because we ask amiss. “Amiss” carries with it the meaning of “improper, out of place, or unsuitable.” So if we are asking the Lord to grant a request which is improper and not according to His will, then we can expect a “no” answer, which, by the way, is an answer to prayer. Many Christians believe that when we ask for something in prayer and God says no, that He did not answer our prayer. We must realize that no is an answer to prayer, we don’t like it, but nevertheless, it is an answer.
Now back to 1 John 3:22, the rest of the verse states that we will receive of Him if we keep His commandments. How does one keep the commandments? We keep them by being in Christ since He was the one who completely filled all the righteous demands of the law. This means that one must be saved before they approach God in prayer and ask for something because He does not hear the prayer of the unbeliever. Then the verse continues that God will grant our request if we do those things which are pleasing in His sight. (Prov 15:9 KJV) The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. Proverbs 15:9 teaches us that the way of the wicked is an abomination and therefore the things they do, do not please God. (Rom 8:8 KJV) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. This phrase also points to the fact that a person must be saved because only saved people are pleasing in the sight of God because they are children of God. The children of God are the ones who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and have the ability to obey God and His commandments.
1 John 3:23 (KJB)
And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
Commandment - Decree or injunction
The most important commandment that God ever gave was that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ. Both uses of the word “commandment” are in the singular which means in both cases we are looking at a single command. If you recall Christ commanded the sea and the storm to calm and they calmed down. (Mat 8:27 KJV) But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! Then in Acts 17:30, God commands all men everywhere to repent, that is, to become saved. (Acts 17:30 KJV) And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Now interestingly the majority of people in this world do not obey this command. Why is that? When the sea and winds obeyed Christ’s command, yet man does not obey this command to repent. The only way a person can believe on the name of the Son of God is for them to become saved. Acts 17:30, seems like it is a command for everyone in the world to repent and become saved. However, this is not the case. If you recall in Revelation 13:8 & 17:8, God named those whom He was going to save before the foundation of the world. Since man is spiritually dead and unable to respond to the Gospel unless qualified to do so, that means that God has qualified the Elect to respond to this command and the rest remain dead.
The word “believe” is a verb which makes it a work and no work will ever qualify a person for Heaven. Therefore, if a person is going to respond to the command to repent, then they must first be regenerated. After a person becomes saved, then they are able to believe. It is always salvation first, then belief. So just to summarize the first part of this verse. A person will respond to the command to be saved if they were named before the foundation of the world and after they are saved, they will then believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Now after a person becomes saved, the proof of that salvation is that there is an active love for the brethren. (John 13:34-35 KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. {35} By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. The commandment to love is not only a commandment which binds the body of Christ together, it also shows the world that Christianity is the real thing and that is the testimony which is exuded. The love the brethren have for each other will give an identification with the Lord Jesus Christ and will show that Christianity is not just another world religion.
1 John 3:24 (KJB)
And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
Keepeth - Observe, pay attention to, or obey
Dwelleth and Abideth - Continue, remain, or be permanent
When a true believer continues in the commandments of God, this is evidence that God dwells in him and he dwells in God. It is two way street. (Col 3:3 KJV) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossian 3:3 gives us a little insight of this two way street. We are dead, that is, we are dead to the things of the world but alive in Christ. This results in us being hid with Christ in God. So we are in Christ, in God, and He is in us. The word “keepeth” is in the present tense which means there is a continual obedience to the Lord. This continual keeping of His commandments, gives evidence that we are in Christ. Then on the other hand, we know that God dwells in us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (Rom 8:14-16 KJV) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. {15} For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. {16} The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: One who is not saved will not be led by the Holy Spirit as all unbelievers give evidence to this, this also includes religious church people who are not walking in the Spirit. You can tell who they are by what their gospel represents. If it represents the physical needs of the world such as housing, feeding the poor, environmental issues, etc. Now there is nothing inherently wrong with these things but if the primary focus is worldly things, then it is a gospel of the world which cannot save. What good is a full stomach in hell? With God indwelling the true believer, this is what gives us the confidence to speak with Him about everything and anything plus we will be truly sensitive to the times when we are not walking as we should because the Holy Spirit will reveal it to us.