“By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” – 1 John 3:19-24
Check out last week’s sermon here (preached by Devin Davis).
Humor me for a moment and imagine you just met a new work client named Dianoia Anagi who, after your conversation, ended the visit by saying, “Oh by the way, I can read your mind as you speak and know all the thoughts that were going through your head during our conversation.” Humor me again and imagine you believed what she just said was true. Your heart would likely sink to your stomach as fear would fill your mind. You would frantically think back over the last few minutes to find anything you might be embarrassed about now exposed by your new client’s mind reading prowess.
Would you leave that interaction comforted?
Now for a moment consider the weight behind John’s words, “…God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” (1 John 3:21). Does it comfort you that God is greater and knows everything going on in your heart? John says heartily, “Yes!”
When John desires Christians to have confidence before God, he appeals to the all-seeing, all-knowing, powerful nature of God. Do not let that truth glance off a stony heart or deaf ears. If you want to have confidence before God, embrace Him for all He is in His majestic all-knowing, all-powerful person.
The Only Alternative Response
When we are exposed by the all-knowing, all-powerfulness of God, there is one alternative response rather than Christian confidence—fear and flight. To think that God knows all you have ever done may be the most terrifying thought to enter your mind. Any secret kept from your family, your boss, your lover—all those thoughts and deeds never seen by men—laid exposed before a holy God. The things you hide so that people will think well of you are clearly seen by the King of kings. Filled with fear at the exposing, all-seeing God you may seek to flee from that reality and fill your ways with distractions from the truth. Yet, despite all efforts everyone, like the Psalmist, will one day say, “…where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). You can’t flee anywhere from an all-powerful, all-knowing God.
The Christian way—Confident Clinging
Though the thought of a God who knows all you have ever done is terrifying to many, the Christian finds Him terrific! God’s power always has these double-edged effects. To one, God is a threat exposing who we truly are. To a Christian, God’s power to expose us, warts and all, is the very ground of our terrific hope. Would you trust a God who in Christ made bold claims like, “…whoever believes in [me] will not perish but have eternal life.” if God were incapable of fully knowing those whom He was saving (John 3:16)? If God was naive of your failings, how could He confidently promise in Christ to forgive your failings? He would not then really know if He were able if He was not fully aware of the full slate of your filth done in the dark. As Devin shared Sunday, “I’m a mess and you’re a mess. This is not a surprise to God.”
God’s full knowledge of your sin gives Him full access to your heart, making Him fully able to extend through Christ the full forgiveness every heart desperately needs. The power God has to expose your sin also reflects the power God has to mark your sin as paid in full on Christ’s body. Our very access to a God whose commands call us to Christ, are rooted in His all-knowing, all-powerful nature.
“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ…” – 1 John 3:23
So, though some may shrink in fear and flee at the thought of God’s exposing power, those who are aware of their need for a Savior see in God a steady rock to cling confidently to. Beloved, God knows your heart. Everything you are is naked and exposed to Him. So, cling closely to Him. Fall before Him. Throw yourself upon Him. Live submissively under the shadow of His wings.
You will not find a safer place to be, knowing the all-knowing, all-powerfulness of this God found in Scripture.