And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (1 John 5:14 ESV) Here at International Lutheran Church, we have been reading through this beautifully and carefully worded letter by the Apostle John to the churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). As we gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, we see again and again that John reveals to us the love of God shown to us in Jesus.

John explains that he himself was a witness to the very testimony that God Himself was providing. First John testifies to the miracle of the incarnation, namely that God sent Jesus, His own dear Son to be with us. This presence not only included “living” in the here and now of first century Palestine, but also suffering the death we deserve. Second, John gives witness to the miracle of redemption that Jesus is for us. He is the very means by which our sins are forgiven and by which we are given eternal life. God’s own testimony is clear: to believe in Jesus as the Son of God is to receive eternal life. John says that knowing Jesus is having eternal life.

At this point one may ask what is the effect of this testimony? This question often comes up in our Bible studies. What is the purpose of knowing this? What practical difference does it make? Why would God love us so? Why would He send His One and Only Son? Why would He cause Him to suffer so that we would “dwell in the house of the LORD?” John explains to us the immediate impact that this has on our lives in terms of confidence. This bold belief is that we are now able to go to God with our petitions and prayers knowing that God will grant what we desire, and that our desire would be for the will of God to be done in our lives. How is this so? It is because we are now in Him. The practical implication is that we have eternal life now, a living and vibrant relationship with God in and through His own Son our Savior, Jesus. Do we face trouble or heartache? Do we have any troubles or problems in our lives? We are not alone. He is with us and we are with Him.

God’s love is revealed so that we would be restored to a life of devotion and trust in Him. We live on and by His Word that guides us to know His will. His Spirit is given to us so that we would call upon Him in every need and trouble. He gives to us eternal life even now – a relationship with Him that is not based on our abilities or strength but based on God Himself. God’s love is more than just emotion and feeling. His love for us alters our very actions and desires. His love brings us to Him the source of all life, eternal life in Him. This testimony is for you and me and also for people everywhere!

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Pastor Carl