There is much that can be pondered from this passage but I will focus on verse 13:
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
Jesus defines eternal life back in John 17:3 like this: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
So another way to say 1 John 5:13 might be like this: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you know God and His Son Jesus.”
Know that you know. It is important that we know that we know. That we have confidence and assurance that we are children of the King. So let me explore this word “know” a bit.
The word “know” can be pretty nuanced. I can think of at least three different ways this is true in relation to God…
1) It is possible to know about God and not really know God. It is even possible to express love for God and not really know Him. For example, when I was growing up my first favorite musical artist was Jim Croce. I did not know Jim Croce. But I did know a lot about Jim Croce and even had most of his songs memorized. It would not have been unusual for me to say, “I love Jim Croce.” Now of course what I meant was that I loved his music. In the same way, it is possible to know a lot about God and even have a lot of His Word memorized but to not really know Him at all.
2) It is possible to know God personally but to not know Him intimately. In other words, it is possible to have a relationship with God and that that relationship is only superficial. And it is superficial because that is the way that we choose it to be not the way that God chooses it to be. The Prodigal Son is an example of this. The father yearned for a close relationship with his son but the son kept him at arm’s length for much of his early life. Much like we do with our Heavenly Father. We know Him and have a relationship with Him but we don’t have the kind of relationship that the Father longs for.
3) It is possible to know God both personally and intimately. The Hebrew word for “know” in the Old Testament is an interesting word. It is transliterated “yada.” ( Some of you will remember the yada yada yada Seinfield episode from the 1990’s.) Genesis 4:1 says “And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain.” There was an intimacy in that kind knowing that husbands and wives (hopefully) experience when they make love. As believers we are the bride of Christ and designed to know Him not just personally but also intimately. The Lord longs for a closeness with us as a father does with his children. He doesn’t want to be kept at arm’s length.
May the Lord use this brick to help you discern the level of “knowing” that you have with the Father and to take the next step to know Him better.