By Sherry Black

A Reading from 1 John 5:13-21  

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

14 And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him. 16 If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one — to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal.

18 We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them. 19 We know that we are God’s children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one. 20 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.

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.


While we all have things of which we are not certain, John says we can be confident in many things.

Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter, critical of stage legislatures, for not “perceiv[ing] the important truths that knowledge is power, that knowledge is safety, and that knowledge is happiness.”

While we all have things of which we are not certain, John says we can be confident in many things. I believe the word “know” occurs 20 times in 1 John. In fact, the word “know” appears seven times in today’s reading alone. In these closing verses written to a beleaguered community, John reminds them there are five things they (and we as part of the greater Christian community) can count on knowing:

We know that we have eternal life (v. 13).
We know that God answers prayer (vv. 14-17).
We know sin has lost its power (v. 18).
We know we are God’s children (v. 19).
We know what/who is true (vv. 20-21).

We can have confidence because it is Christ who protects and sustains us in an uncertain world. We are “in Christ,” the one who is true; Jesus Christ who is both true God and eternal life. We can rest secure in faith, because our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).

What a relief!

The Very Rev. Sherry Black is a second-career Episcopal priest, and has been a full-time hospital chaplain for ten years. She also serves a small mission church as priest-in-charge, and is dean of her deanery.

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Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Southwest Florida
The Diocese of Bor (Episcopal Church of South Sudan)


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