“Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.”
~1 John 3:21-22 (NRSV).
This is not something anyone does flippantly—not in wisdom. For foolishness alone affords brashness when there’s no case. It has no grasp on God-fearing concepts. So, this is how our boldness is to be known; by the manner of our godly obedience.
Boldness is only appropriate in sheer obedience.
In this alone are we vindicated before the heavenly court.
And that court is surely within the believer’s heart, realms before the actuality of the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The heart—by virtue of “truth and action” (verse 18)—finds the faithful either condemned or not condemned... and condemned only to lead us to repentance, which is obedience. See here it’s not “condemnation” in any ultimate or lasting sense.
Two ‘Hearts’ Beating as One
All believers must recognise this spiritual dualism: the heart that condemns and that which tests and finds us exonerated. So it can be seen that we have two hearts—or two heart states—which is 1) sinful or 2) righteous. The Spirit is the Mediator, mediating at heart level.
The Holy Spirit within does this work, viscerally and implicitly, yes, without us even thinking. The conscience piqued to sin co-opts grace in the magnification of such judgment, meaning such condemnation is not a bad thing at all. It’s necessary for the believer’s good. It’s the purging scourge of discipline.
Both heart states can lead to boldness before God; one indirectly in the case of the heart condemning us, leading us to repentance, and the other directly, by the heart vindicating us.
Receiving What We Ask For
When our hearts do not condemn us, and we’re made right before God, we can have what we ask for because our will is naturally aligned with the Spirit’s.
In other words, whatever transpires—that being God’s will—is perfectly acceptable to us.
This is the perfection of peace in the shaky human form; the best we can experience this side of eternity. For us, here in this position, there is not an iota of trouble added to our discipleship, but merely being human puts tremendous strain on the longevity of this state. We will, of course, fail—and with consummate routine.
But more and more we’re to exemplify the principle of boldness before God, because our hearts have not condemned us to repentance. Having said this, there is no shame—and only glory—in due repentance.
Receiving all we ask for is in its simplest form achieved.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.