What do you think of when you hear the word “confidence?” For me, I imagine a beautiful lady nailing a public speech with perfectly quaffed hair and a killer outfit being met with a standing ovation. Or, I imagine a ballerina bending and jumping in a tiny thigh-gap-exposing-tutu in front of a large live audience. Confidence to me has always been tied to looking good, performing well, and being adored by others.
As I read through 1 John, I see John writing about confidence, and WITH confidence, as He addresses his letter to God’s children. This confidence that John describes and exudes has nothing to do with the confidence that I’ve summed up in my own brain. It is not simply something we can muster up out of our own willpower, but it is gifted to us by our good Father. And it is not for our own glorification, but that of His. If I could sum up 1 John, it would be: God loved us and made Himself known to us through His Son Jesus, who saved us from our sins. Now, that breeds true confidence, and oodles of it.
God loved us and made Himself known to us through His Son Jesus, who saved us from our sins. Now, that breeds true confidence, and oodles of it.
John insists that we are God’s children. And in that station, we are born into an identity of confidence. Why? Because when you are secure in your position with God as your Father, not much scares you, whether in life or death.
He specifically writes about confidence four times in his first letter, starting in 2:28 where he writes, “And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink in shame at His coming.” This refers to when Jesus comes again, but the statement also encourages us to approach Him now. No longer do we have the stain of sin to separate us from our Father, as Jesus took that upon Himself. In order to have confidence in Christ, we can not be strangers with Him, so John encourages us to embrace our position as His child, with every intimacy that this relationship affords.
This intimacy will remove your past and present shame stemming from sin. The next time John specifically mentions confidence is in 3:21 when he writes, “Beloved if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” When you are a child of God, you will hate your sin. The Holy Spirit will expose your sin to you and begin to change you. No longer will you live in condemnation (Romans 8:1), but you will have confidence to ask God to keep doing the good work of sanctification in you. You will see you are not as you should be, but praise God for this! You have hope that the Holy Spirit is making you like Jesus, and you are confident He will finish that good work in you. As Paul writes in Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
We can also have confidence to approach Him boldly in prayer and know that He will hear us when we do. John writes in 1 John 5:14 “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.”
Not only can you be confident for the past, that you are forgiven, and for the present, that He is making you like Christ, but for the future as well. In 1 John 4:17, John writes “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world.” We are confident that when Jesus comes again, our Judge will find us blameless because when God sees us He sees Jesus. We can have confidence that Jesus and His salvation for us remains the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
John doesn’t just tell, he shows. He explicitly mentions confidence these four times, but in total, the book of 1 John says “know” 33 times. John is giving an account of what he knows for sure, and all because of WHO he knows for sure. John knows Jesus. And we know Jesus. Because of this knowledge, we can be confident….
In the love of the Father (1 John 3:1)
In His promises of eternal life (1 John 2:25)
In His truth (1 John 3:18-19)
In His testimony (1 John 5:6-12)
In the Holy Spirit’s teaching and in His anointing (1 John 2:27)
To practice righteousness (1 John 3:10)
To love the family of God, even if it requires sacrifice from us (1 John 3:16-18)
When we experience hatred from the world (1 John 3:13-15)
When we encounter antichrists (1 John 2:18-24)
That His victory is our victory (1 John 5:4)
There are probably several more confidences I have yet to discover from this rich book, but this I know: I am walking taller today than I am before I studied this book. Why? Because I am God’s child, and because I know Jesus.
Jillian Vincent loves Jesus. She's a wife, mother of two boys and a Dayton enthusiast. Jillian currently is a stay at home mama and spends nap times jotting on her blog and discipling other women. She would (almost) die for an avocado, a cup of coffee made by her husband, a novel that makes her cry, and a bouquet of sunflowers.