1 John Lessons

1John 2:12-14 Literalize

vs 12 I am writing to you, little children, Because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.
vs 13  I am writing to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one.

I am writing to you, little children, Because you have known the Father.
vs 14  I had written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I had written to you, young men, Because you are characteristically strong, and the word of God characteristically dwells in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.

Now while maturity is a process, some would alleged that "little children" refers to carnal Christians of whom they characterize as saved but living a sinful lifesytle. John laters warn about such false teachers who propose such heresies as he says, "Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil." 1John 3:7,8 Likewise Paul says, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1Cor 6:9,10 and "Of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person— such a man is an idolater— has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient." Eph 5:5,6 Free Grace theology, Keswickian theology, Antinomianism, or however you would like to label it, promotes this kind of deception.

"Little children" are likely referring to genuine believers who are more in the early stages of sanctification. These are those in the feeding stage primarily, as opposed to the ministering stage of the Christian life. Of them John assures that their sins have been forgiven, which is part of the application of 1John - Assurance of Salvation.

John implies nothing here of ongoing sin having impact on their salvation status. But you would think if that were an issue he would have brought it up. For what good is it if one's past sins were forgiven if one were to lose their salvation status by any ongoing, albeit uncharacteristic sin? Regarding forgiveness of sins, the Christian is not to look to the future but to the past. For on the cross Christ died for all sin, and not just sins one committed prior to becoming a Christian.

He forgave sins for His name's sake, which goes along with 1John 1:9 in so much as God would be reckoned unfaithful if He didn't keep up His end of the New Covenant, namely that our sins and lawless deeds would be remembered no more. Furthermore the covenant was put in place to glorify God's gracious nature, resulting in praise to Him.

Three times here it speaks of having known Him. That is, having known God. Both vs 13 and 14 repeat this concerning "fathers" and again in vs 13 it speaks of this concerning the children. "Fathers" here does not refer to a religious title much as the religious elite often vainly take upon themselves titles. For Jesus said of the religious elite of his day, "They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’ But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ." Mt 23:4-10 Here Jesus speaks of "father" as a religious title.

Rather "fathers" here refer not to title but to function within the body. These would be like elders and overseers. The only thing he says of them here is that they have known God, the perfect tense indicating something which occurred in the past having its effect all the way up to the present. But this is not simply a matter of maturity, for he says the same of the children. Whether recent converts or old in the faith, all genuine believers have a personal relationship with God, which by the way constitutes eternal life as Jesus said, "Now this is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." Jn 17:3

Now concerning the young men, these are those traning for and actively involved in ministries which are being overseen by the "fathers". Them John characterizes as having overcome the devil. Again the perfect tense tells us that such a thing is not simply ongoing, but rather is something which occurred in the past which continues to have its effect up to the present. But while these have already overcome the devil, that being completed, there is still the ongoing process of overcoming the world, of which will be mentioned later on in 1John. Application here is that if a person is a genuine believer, they should reckon that they have overcome the devil. For example in the parable of the sower the devil is portrayed as one who tries to see to it that the seed of the Word fails to germinate. But those who accept the Word with in honest and good heart end up producing all kinds of fruit due to the Word germinating in their hearts.

Furthermore they are chacteristically strong insomuch as the Word of God (the Bible) dwells in them, this being another mark of those born of God. You can tell whether maturing Christians - that is those who are genuine believers in the process of training for ministry, as should be the case for all genuine believers - by their knowlege, insight and application of the Bible. They are those who compare everything against scripture. As ideas come to mind and they go to scripture to validate or invalidate them. They go to the Bible to determine their purpose in life and seek commands to define their activities in life, like Moses said, "Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you— they are your life." Deut 32:46-47a For those in training and in ministry Paul would advise, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2Tim 2:15

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jul 29,2015