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 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
16 If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also 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—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
To wrap up his letter John begins by talking about prayer. Verse 13 is a transition verse that connects the last topic to this one about prayer. He wants to affirm to his readers that they will have eternal life and they have confidence when they pray to God. God hears and will give us what we need. In 16-17 he then commands them to pray when they see a brother or sister commit a sin. They should pray that God would lead them to repentance and turn back to God. He makes this differentiation between sin that leads to death and those that do not. I believe that John is talking about the false teachers and their sin of not accepting the truth that Jesus is God. That is a sin that leads to death because they are not putting their faith in God. If a believer sins we know that if they repent and ask God for forgiveness that it will be given to them.
In verse 18,19 and 20 he ends with three “We know” statements.
- We know children of God sin less and are protected by God.
- We know the world is under the power of the devil.
- We know that we have the truth that comes from God and leads to eternal life.
John summarizes his main points from his letter. This is done so that they are encouraged to not give in to the false teachers that are being misled by the devil. His last verse seems to come out of nowhere but he tells them to stay away from idols. We must assume that if the false teachers are leading them away from God that they must be going to worship something else. John wants to make sure that they are not worshiping any other false Gods. He wants them to worship the one true God.
John wants his church to use the power of prayer to help the body stay focused on God. Today reach out to someone in your church body and ask them what you can be praying them for. The body needs to be fighting sin together and not in isolation. By pointing one another back to Jesus Christ it will strengthen the body and keep each other from false teachings. Prayer is powerful and is one of the best tools Christians have.