NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY
By Dr. Robert R Seyda
FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN
CHAPTER THREE (Lesson XCV) 11/23/21
3:21-22 But, dearly loved friends, if our consciences are clear, we can come to the Lord with perfect assurance and trustand get whatever we ask for because we obey Him and do the things that please Him.
The Apostle Paul makes a distinction between always following our conscience instead of God’s Word. He said he didn’t know of any wrong he had done, but that did not make him right. The Lord is the one who must decide what pleases Him. But Paul could say with a clear conscience that everything he did in this world, he did it with an honest and pure heart before God. And he did this by God’s grace, not by the world’s idea of being good. And that’s why if we do make a wrong decision or a mistake in judgment, with Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it.
So, it is apparent that John received the same instruction as a beloved disciple of the Anointed One. Therefore, we need not go to the Anointed One for forgiveness as though we are back under the condemnation that followed the sin of Adam and Eve. We are, after all, God’s children. So, we go to Him as our heavenly Father, seeking forgiveness for not listening to Him. That’s why He is more than willing to forgive as long as He knows we come to Him with a sincere heart and mind.
King David is a witness that our Lord knows the difference between the pleas of sinners and the prayers of saints. And it wasn’t something David imagined; he responded to God’s open invitation. As a result, God does not feel interrupted or inconvenienced when His children come to Him for reconciliation. David’s son Solomon certainly learned this truth, so there is no use in looking for a shortcut to God’s throne. He can see your heart before you even speak a word to Him and knows whether you come in humility or pride. It became part of the prophet Isaiah’s message to the people of God. And the prophet Jeremiah passed this truth along to those who needed wisdom and guidance from God. And when we are sincere, and God sees that we desire His complete will to be done in our lives, He will always have something new to teach us.
Now we can see the background and root cause of why Jesus was ready to tell His disciples to continue asking God for what they need, and He will give it to them. They are to go on searching, and they will find what they are looking for. And persist in knocking until the door opens for them. Yes, whoever keeps on asking will receive. Whoever does not stop looking will find. And whoever does not cease knocking will have the door opened for them. First, however, they must believe and have faith that they are praying to a prayer-answering God for this to work.
The Apostle John heard from Jesus’ lips what He told the doubting and cynical Pharisees after He healed the blind man who went and washed the mud out of his eyes. He said they were wrong in calling Him a sinner, since God does not answer the prayers of those living in sin but only those who worship and obey Him. Furthermore, Jesus informed His followers that anything they ask the Father “in His name” will be done for God to show the kindness of His Spirit through His Son. And the best way for this to happen is that once you are in union with the Anointed One and remain in communion with Him, you will receive the things you need. The Apostle James also expounded on what he heard the Master say about getting what we require when asking God for an answer.
There are great benefits in listening to what Jesus said and taught, even as Jesus found out when He listened to and obeyed what His Father told Him. It was necessary because it took many millennia before the Way, Truth, and Life arrived from heaven in human form to deliver the final covenant between God and mankind. Accepting and receiving this Light of the world will change a person’s life for the good. And this message was not just for the Jews but everyone.
John himself heard the Master say that the thing that pleased God the most is when those who listen to the Anointed One do so because they believe the Father sent Him. That way, such a believer can live the kind of life that honors and pleases the Lord in every way. By doing so, they will produce fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God. So, it was the prayer of the author of Hebrews, who prayed, “That the God of peace will give you every good thing you need so that you can do what He wants. God is the one who raised from death our Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd of His sheep. He resurrected Him because Jesus sacrificed His blood to begin the new agreement that never ends. Therefore, I pray that God will work through Jesus the Anointed One to do the things in us that please Him. To Him, be glory forever. Amen.”
However, there is still so much more blessed possibility through following this new command for love. If the consciousness of genuine love will sustain us before God when our heart criticizes us, how much more confidence will we have in Him when it does not accuse us. And (as a guarantee that this confidence is not baseless or misdirected) what we ask, we receive from Him. Note the present tense of the Greek verb lambanō (“receive”). Whatever God’s children ask this way, they obtain by that very act or as an inevitable result. It is the ideal condition, for the child of God cannot ask what displeases their Father. And we are His children “because we keep His commandments.” Therefore, we must not conclude that our obedience is the reason God hears our prayers. On the contrary, our obedience shows that we can pray effectively.
John now addresses an accusing conscience versus a clear conscience on the issue of confidence before God. First, he discusses the believer having a clear conscience. Their conscience does not condemn them for hypocritical love only exhibited with word and tongue. The opposite of a feeling of condemnation is “confidence.” The believer in fellowship has the confidence to meet the Lord face to face in personal communion because they genuinely love their fellow Christians. They get no joy out of undermining fellow believers.
“Confidence” is being open, honest, direct, and not hesitant to speak. In the political sphere, the word “confidence” carries the idea of the right to speak in a democracy. It implies openness to truth and sincerity. Here the idea is openness toward God. Openness toward God assumes facing Him with a clear conscience. The believer with “confidence toward God” is free and unrestricted in their fellowship with Him. Their conscience is free because they believe in their acquittal in God’s court. The presence of sinful tendencies in the believer’s life does not prove that they are unchristian or that God’s grace is unavailable. The verdict always revolves around the principles of God’s Word. When Christians gain assurance that God accepts them based on the work of the Anointed One, they possess confidence toward God.
The word “toward” means face to face. It is a word of relationship or closeness. The believer in fellowship always speaks freely with God. They have confidence in prayer, knowing that God hears them. Their conscience does not trouble them. It is why Christians can have confidence before God while on earth and not simply before the Judgment Seat of the Anointed One. We have confidence in prayer. We can rest assured that God accepts us with all our warts and blemishes.
Furthermore, confidence does not come through feelings. Emotions are slippery and hard to nail down. Feelings are as erratic as the wind because they depend on circumstances. They operate more like a barometer than a thermostat. The barometer changes with weather conditions, but the thermostat sets the temperature. The Christian who operates by faith in the Word of God is like the thermostat. They have assurance before God by faith. Thus, believers in union with God have courage when approaching Him without fear of saying what’s in their hearts or on their minds. Therefore, believers in fellowship do not put trust in the flesh. Their certainty is in the Son of God. They glory in the Anointed One, Jesus.
 1 Corinthians 4:4
 2 Corinthians 1:12
 Hebrews 4:16; cf. 10:22
 Ibid. 34:4, 15-17; cf. 66:18-19
 Ibid. 50:15
 Ibid. 145:18-19
 Proverbs 15:29
 Ibid. 28:9; cf. Isaiah 1:15
 Isaiah 55:6-7
 Jeremiah 29:12-13
 Ibid. 33:3
 Matthew 7:7-8
 Ibid. 21:22; cf. Mark 11:24
 John 9:67
 Ibid. 9:31
 Ibid. 14:13
 Ibid. 15:7; cf. 16:23-24
 James 1:5; cf. 5:16
 Matthew 7:24-25
 John 15:10
 Acts of the Apostles 17:30
 Ibid. 20:21
 John 6:29
 Colossians 1:10
 Hebrews 13:20-21
 See 1 John 2:7; 3:2
 Ibid. 2:28; 3:22
 John 15:7
 See Exodus 15:26; Isaiah 38:3
 1 John 3:18; “Word” and “Tongue” refer to “making a promise” and “fulfilling that promise.”
 Ibid. 5:14-15
 Ibid. 3:22-24
 See Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 1:19-20; Hebrews 4:16; 10:19-22, 35,
 Philippians 3:3