This Message Is For You
Little children as an idiom in the Scriptures is often used as a term of endearment for adults and particularly those who have a close relationship with Jesus. He referred to the disciples as little children. [John 13:33]. It is used by John in this epistle in like manner to refer to those in whom he has dedicated his life to mentor and teach the ways of God. It is likely, therefore, that the reference here is not so much to little children as in toddlers and pre teens, but those who are young in the faith but still have had an encounter with God that has lead to their salvation. The first level of our salvation is to acknowledge that through the grace of Jesus Christ and faith in His name our sins are forgiven and we are saved by grace through faith. We know we are saved because we believe in God the Father and we have received His love and Grace through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.
The fathers have this in common with the children; both have known the Father. The fathers in the faith, the mature leaders and faithful servants to the body of Christ (the fellowship of believers) have years of experience walking with God and proving Him tome and again that He is faithful. To read these passages as one who has known the Father is to be reminded of the truth of God’s Word, the strength of His wisdom and the depth of His love and grace toward us that we get to share with the world and invest in the young to guide them to maturity and fruitfulness in Christ.
The young men are those who have grown in the faith to the degree that they are able to teach to exhort to encourage and comfort, to defend the weak by spiritual and, as necessary, by physical strength. They are strong and capable. They have faced the wicked one and have not bent or bowed to his ways. The word abides in them and they are able to preach deliverance to those who are held captive by the will of the devil.
Because each of these groups of believers has Jesus in their hearts they are able to receive the Word, and then acting on it they are equipped do the work of ministry to proclaim the good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are abused and to proclaim the acceptable time of the Lord.
This epistle in many references is directed to fathers, young men and little children, but it should not be read with a contemporary context of the meaning as of little children or of young men and fathers, exclusively. When John penned this letter he addressed it first to “My little children” in 2:1 and he ends with an admonition writing, “Little children keep yourselves from idols.” While it is intended for the edification of all it is particularly focused on young men and fathers (mature men) because they were particularly charged with the proclamation of the Gospel by virtue of the pattern that Jesus demonstrated in the calling of the 12 disciples.
But, just as the Gospel was first preached to Israel it was never intended that it become theirs exclusively, rather, that they would become the ambassadors of Christ taking the message of salvation in Him alone to the world. Now we as the Body of Christ, men and women, boys and girls, young and old of every race, tongue and nation are charged with that same commission to declare Jesus Christ crucified, dead and buried for the sins of the world and now alive from the grave forevermore.
At the time of John’s writing fathers, husbands, young and mature sons were the pastors of their households and, therefore, they were responsible for teaching the Word of God to all those living in their houses. It would be several centuries before the Bible as we know it today would be complied and published in any form.
The letters (epistles) we read today were individual documents that accumulated over many years and were preserved and passed along from generation to generation but confined within the archives of the established church hierarchy and not made available to the masses of people until the invention of the printing press around 1450 AD by Johannes Gutenberg.
So, whether you are a man or a woman the message of this Scripture is for your edification and blessing. Through Jesus Christ we all know and have known God the Father from the beginning. Through Jesus Christ we have all overcome the wicked one. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, the Word abides in us. Through Jesus Christ we are all made strong, and through Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven.
PS. Just in case you’re feeling a little out of it today, be encouraged! You are so loved that God has given you the greatest gift of all Jesus Christ and with Him, everything else. He knows your address and your blessing is on the way. He is faithful. Don’t give up hope. Your future is bright with abundance of good, abundance of joy, abundance health and abundance of peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.