It’s almost like John gives us a bit of a pep-talk in the next few verses we’ll be reading. Reminds of Narnia where the war-cry was “for Narnia, and for Aslan!” and all broke out running to face the enemy.
Though a bit different that’s what these verses remind me of.
“I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men, because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
Once again John makes the reference to the Church he was writing to as “children” denoting most likely his older age and his wisdom to guide them. But instead of his usual “little children” he says: “dear children”. These next few lines you can imagine were written with much heart for the souls of the recipients. I love the encouragement.
- -Dear Children- He begins by making clear the foundation of the faith we hold. Remember this was right after he rebuked the people for being fakers who claimed Christ but still hated their brother. (See that post here) So after he gets things straight he begins to write of the purpose and hope for us. Namely, Christ. He writes because those in Christ are forgiven for his name’s sake (God’s glory, the purpose of salvation and everything). His purpose for writing was to make Christ’s name great by pointing out the work God’s done in their lives.
- -Fathers- He encourages fathers who “knew Him who is from the beginning”. Though I’m not 100% sure what the culture was like father-wise, John encourages fathers in their faith. They know Christ who is from the beginning. In many other places in the Bible, the father is the head of the home. So maybe John was encouraging fathers for knowing Christ and leading well. Just my thoughts though!
- -Young Men- I fit into this category. And John uses very fitting words for my generation. Words like “overcome” really resonate with us young men, we want to tackle something difficult and accomplish things with our lives. John uses fitting words of encouragment when He says: “I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one”. Though I’m sure they all knew that it doesn’t mean we’re going to be sin-free, but it does mean we have victory over sin and the flesh because of Christ, whoever the young men were John was writing to, they were certainly showing signs spiritual maturity. John takes time to encourage them. Could someone say the same to me? Or you? Will you be the person to encourage someone you see growing and come alongside someone falling? John certainly took time to do so, and when we see growth, we should take time to encourage also.
- -Dear Children- As I’m writing this, I wonder if “Dear Children” is referring to all of the categories listed. Maybe he was talking of some of the children, which he very well could be, we see in many of his other writings that John refers to a group of people many times as “little children”. So it could be these are for everyone on the list, which I personally think they are, but could very well apply to children also!
- -Young Men- He speaks of young men again using the vernacular that we can relate to: “because you are strong”. Notice the different wording for different groups? Fathers are given twice the same encouragement, that they know Christ. But young men are given encouragement of overcoming sin because they are strong and they can overcome. Obviously not strong in themselves, but strong in Christ. I’m sure the Holy Spirit did that for a reason. It certainly resonates with me!
These few verses are like an anthem for me. I imagine the recipients reading this in front of everyone and everyone being inspired to grow deeper in their walk with Christ. After exhorting them he encourages with strong descriptive words. I hope these verse encourage you also!
Grow deeper in Christ. Overcome sin by trusting Christ who is from the beginning, staying strong remember that in Christs forgiveness we can overcome the evil one.
Thanks for reading!