I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:13-21 ESV)
Is Faith as simple as black and white?
Do we really get whatever we ask for?
Does the new creation really stop sinning?
There are a lot of things in this world it would be great if they were black and white, however there is so much grey and that is not because of the world or interpretation. If we look at the Bible there is contradiction and that leads me to believe that the black answer is not always right and the white answer is not always right, but that does not mean that the grey answer is right either. Faith is a bridge which helps us get where God is leading us in this life. We do not go there alone and we do not go the way every one before us went, because we are each unique creations of God and therefore our faith journey is not like anyone elses. That does not mean there are not things that are the same from my journey and other believers, only that my journey in all of its complexities is unique to me as your journey is unique to you. There is not black white or shades of grey, there is always and will always be all of the above.
The above passage from 1 John does not say we get what we want if we ask for it, or even if we ask the correct way, by saying please and thank you… The reading says that if we ask in the will of God He will hear us and if He hears us then we know that He has heard our request. So He heard it, that does not mean that He is going to do anything about it or act upon it. It also does not mean that even if He does act that He will give us what we want. He might give us the opposite, like the great song from Garth Brooks Unanswered Prayers. Sometimes God says yes, sometimes He says not yet and sometimes He says no. All of these are answers, maybe not the ones we want to hear, but they are answers.
“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” Evil does not touch him and he stops sinning… WOW that would be great. I guess from this statement I have not been born of God, because I am still a sinner and evil is having a field day with me. But I know I have been born of God, I am a baptized believer! I have been baptized and named and claimed by God. I am His child, so why have I not stopped sinning? What does John mean by this?
It is not as simple as black and white, we don’t always get what we want, but we will always get what we need, and the new creation is still trapped with the old man who is a sinner… What is a child of God to do?