12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake. 13 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, children, because you know the Father. 14 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 abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:12-14
Do you ever have times of uncertainty regarding your faith? Maybe you sometimes question if you will really go to heaven when you die. Maybe you get discouraged that God could really love and forgive you after all the times you have messed up. Maybe you wonder if you really are a Christian, or if you really have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Perhaps a church has been the reason that you questioned your faith instead of helping you become more confident in it.
These are common questions for most people, even Christians. And these were questions that might have haunted the people that John was writing this letter too. Why? Because the secessionists, or the group of people that left the church, had all kinds of crazy beliefs that did not line up with Jesus’ teachings. In fact, as we have discussed in previous days, they didn’t even believe they had to listen to Jesus’ teachings to be a true Christian. The secessionists’ lies and heresies probably confused the Christians that John was writing to, even to the point that they questioned whether they were Christians.
However, John did not want them to be confused and uncertain. He wanted them to be certain that Jesus’ teachings were true and that they really were Christians. In fact, this is one of the major themes of John’s letter: to help his readers have complete confidence and certainty about their right standing with Jesus.
So John takes a break in verses 12 through 14 to help remind his readers that because they know these truths, they are in fact true Christians. He reminds them that because they know God through their faith in Jesus Christ’s teachings, there is no need for uncertainty.
Questions for discussion and reflection
1. Do you have confidence that you are a Christian?
2. What are the truths in I John 2:12-14 that the author wants his readers to remember?
Dear God, thank you that you have given us the knowledge and faith we need to know you. Please help us to remember that we cannot be separated from you again. In Jesus’ name, amen.