I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father , I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.( I John 2:12-14)
The Apostle John, addresses the three segments of the Christian congregation, according to Spiritual age and experience; Fathers, Young Men and Children.
To the children, the newly born again, are given two absolute possessions; The Forgiveness of Sins, and the knowledge of God as Father. This is the common advantage shared by all Christians, from the least to the most advanced, that they Know God the Father, as revealed in Jesus Christ.
“This is Life eternal, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent…” ( John 17:3)
What does it mean for a babe to know his Father? In normal circumstances, for a newborn babe, the first recognizable voice is that of the Father. My children knew me, having heard my voice even before they were born, by virtue of me being around them, talking to their mother and others whilst they were in the womb.
Obviously little children do not know their own Fathers in a comprehensive and complete way, but they do know ( in a healthy situation), that in their Father resides Love, Wisdom, protection and even power. (“My Dad can do everything!”).
Spiritually, the primal cry of the newly born-again Christian is “Abba, Father”. Unto the Father, we seek everything; sustenance, assurance, confidence, teaching, strength, etc. . We are taught to open our (group) prayers with “Our Father, which art in heaven…”.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.( Galatians 4:4-6)
The Spirit of God in our hearts launches a constant cry in us, to God the Father! We know instantly and inwardly upon New Birth, that all blessedness and strength to help lie in our throwing ourselves upon the Father trustingly.
Thus the most basic teaching of our LORD to his disciples on prayer, is centered on the assumption of a loving relationship between Father and Children,
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?( Luke 11:11-13)
I would never withhold anything from any of my own children. If I have it, or if it is in my power to give it to them, they know it is theirs for the asking. yet, I am “evil”, (natural) in the sense of Luke 11. It is natural for a loving Father to do whatever he must to try and meet the needs and even desires of his children.
Jesus asks, “How much more shall your heavenly Father…?”
We now have a heavenly Father! We are in a loving relationship with him who is the fount of all wisdom, goodness, blessedness, strength and protection and honor.
The Love of God towards we his children, is Fatherly Love. He disciplines us for our good, He teaches and guides us. A healthy Christian seeks to emulate the Father, they want to be like him. We want his approval as well, and our happiness is bound up in his blessing. We have become part of the Family enterprise, and thus seek to glorify the Father.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.( Matthew 5: 16)
Since we now know the Father, we need not seek personal honor nor recognition of men. Our new center is to please “…the Father who see’s in secret…” . We seek the honor that comes from Him, as Jesus did. The reward we now crave is his approval,
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.( Matthew 6:6)
To the “little Children” the Apostle proclaims, are given the twofold blessing, The Forgiveness of all sins, and the Knowledge of God as Father. The two are inseparable, they cannot be earned they are bequeathed to us by the Grace and Love of God, and “for His name’s sake…” , ie Because of Jesus, who paid for this with his own blood, to give to us.
more to come…