1 John 5:14-21

Whatever we ask. Sin not unto death. Christians don’t sin. We vs. the whole world. Insight to know God. Guard yourself from idols.

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14And this is the confidence that we have before him: that whenever we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, then we know that we have the requests that we have asked from him. (1 John 5:14-15)
The proponents of the name-it-and-claim-it gospel take advantage of the verses' "whatever we ask" clause while utterly ignoring the clause "according to his will." So they preach that it is God's will that you are healthy and wealthy in order to get through this potential roadblock.

I believe there is just one will of God for all of humanity. He wants us to put our faith in the One he sent (John 6:29).

How can you know what God’s will is so you can approach him appropriately, aside from the fact that God’s will is for everyone to be saved? The idea that “whenever we ask anything according to his will” is an oxymoron, in my opinion. If God has a predetermined will or purpose for a significant matter in your life, shouldn’t he be able to carry it out? Or is he more like a pagan deity that you must grovel before in order to obtain something from him? But shouldn’t you be content and allow God’s plan for your life to unfold if you believe in the one true God?

These lines from John are easily misused and exploited.


16If anyone sees his fellow Christian committing a sin not resulting in death, he should ask, and God will grant life to the person who commits a sin not resulting in death. There is a sin resulting in death. I do not say that he should ask about that. 17All unrighteousness is sin, but there is sin not resulting in death.(1 John 5:6-13)

Here, I think it’s important to distinguish between spiritual and physical deaths.

If John is writing about spiritual death, then our sin nature—rather than any specific act, no matter how big or small—is what kills us. The sins that are common in man are only consequences of that.

But assume he is writing about physical death; should we now compare sins that result in death to those that do not? Therefore, must we inquire as to what sin the ill person committed in order to determine whether or not they deserve to be prayed for?


18We know that everyone fathered by God does not sin, but God protects the one he has fathered, and the evil one cannot touch him. (1 John 5:18)

John claims that Christians are immune to the evil one’s influence since they are incapable of committing sin. They simply do not commit sin since God is their parent. Really? Simply said, what John just wrote is not accurate. There is no other place in the Bible where I can find this belief.

Even Christians commit sin. When they do, they’re simply no longer condemned (Romans 8:1).


19We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:19)

The fact is that Adam and Eve rebelled against God by trying to become like him by acquiring the knowledge of good and evil. As a result, everyone in the world—including us—fell into sin. All the offspring of the first sinners from the Garden of Eden are the same.

9What then? Are we better off? Certainly not, for we have already charged that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin, 10just as it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one, 11there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God.” (Romans 3:9-11)

22… For there is no distinction, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:22-23—NET)


20And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us insight to know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This one is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)

Jesus backs up what John says here in Matthew 16:

13When Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14They answered, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus answered him, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven! 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (Matthew 16:13-18)

Jesus stressed that we cannot independently discover God. He makes himself known to us in accordance with his sovereign will and grace. God wants us to seek him, however:

God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. (Psalm 53:2)

But the depressing reality of our perilous position is:

There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. (Romans 3:11)

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2—KJV)

The truth is that we would never know God if it weren’t for God’s compassion and kindness that he opens our eyes. No one can therefore boast.


21Little children, guard yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)

John abruptly warns us to guard against idols as he concludes 1 John 5. However, let’s discuss it anyhow.

Idols have taken many different forms throughout history. From the physical resemblance of animals to humans or imagined beings like angels or devils, to material wealth, celebrity, or different types of global influence. Whatever they may be, they are in opposition to the real life that only God can provide.

Understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ on a genuine level is the only way to successfully eliminate an idol from your life. The gospel that relies on God’s kindness and grace rather than on your own merit.

Nghi Nguyen

- Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion on the topic, which does not necessarily reflect the church's theology, or beliefs of the individuals in it — Nghi Nguyen

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