Monday, 25 March 2019

What Did John Mean by Fathers, Young Men, and Children?

Continuing on with the theme of sanctification, a fancy word for spiritual growth, I want to explain 1 John 2:13. The Bible in Basic English renders it this way. "I am writing to you, fathers, because you have knowledge of him who was from the first. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the Evil One. I have sent a letter to you, children, because you have knowledge of the Father."

Fathers, in John's verse, are those mature Christians who desire to know the Father better. Unlike young men and children, they are plumbing the depths of God's awesome character.

Paul expressed this longing in Philippians 3:10 (KJV) when he wrote, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;".

Young men, as John MacArthur explained in one sermon, are those who are zealous for the truth. Paul advised those young-men types in 1 Corinthians 14:12 (BBE) when he wrote, "So if you are desiring the things which the Spirit gives, let your minds be turned first to the things which are for the good of the church."

As for those "children" types, they are the ones who are new believers in Christ. Jesus likened immigrants into the Kingdom of Heaven like little children. They have implicit trust in their parents, as we should in Christ. Luke 18:17 (BBE) says "Truly I say to you, Whoever does not put himself under the kingdom of God like a little child, will not come into it at all."

But some Christians refuse, for one reason or another, to grow up spiritually. Hebrews 5:12 (BBE)chides, "And though by this time it would be right for you to be teachers, you still have need of someone to give you teaching about the first simple rules of God's revelation; you have become like babies who have need of milk, and not of solid food."

We easily see how John's analogy demonstrates sanctification. Children in Christ trust him. Young men learn and defend his teachings. But Fathers seek to know the Lord intimately.

I'll point this out in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Just as a child who won't develop mentally is a worry to its parents, so Christians who won't grow up are an embarrassment to the family of Christ.

On Thursday, I'll post about the world's biggest loser. He spent more than three years with the greatest teacher ever to walk this planet and still blew his golden opportunity.

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