12 I am writing to you, little children (believers, dear ones), because your sins have been forgiven for His name’s sake [you have been pardoned and released from spiritual debt through His name because you have confessed His name, believing in Him as Savior]. 13 I am writing to you, fathers [those believers who are spiritually mature], because you know Him who has existed from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men [those believers who are growing in spiritual maturity], because you have been victorious and have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children [those who are new believers, those spiritually immature], because you have come to know the Father. 14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has existed from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong and vigorous, and the word of God remains [always] in you, and you have been victorious over the evil one [by accepting Jesus as Savior]. 1 John 2:12-14
John begins this passage as referring to believers as little children. John saw those he discipled and wrote to as his spiritual sons and daughters. His desire was to see believers grow into mature sons and daughters. This only comes as we study God’s word each day and gain a deep understanding of who we are in Christ. This only comes as the Holy Spirit leads and guides us into all truth.
John then goes on to give three different stages of growth in Christianity. Fathers refers to mature believers who fully understand who they are in Christ. The responsibility of the mature is to mentor the young to see them mature in Christ. John then writes of young men who are in the process of maturation and continually growing. Growth is a daily process in Christ and the Lord uses all things to mature as we face challenges each day on a daily basis. Children refer to brand new believers. We are not called to stay in a place of maturity and this happens in some believers because they never fully pursue Christ. Many of them fall away being pulled away by the desires of the world.
John continues to write that the Father’s have come to know Him who is from the beginning. Intimacy with Christ has to do with knowing the Lord. So many believers remain on the surface because they are so distracted by things that have no eternal value. They fail to understand the one distracting them is Satan and the demonic realm. But the only way we have eyes to see and ears to hear is to know Christ intimately and to walk with Him intimately.
John writes of the young men being strong and vigorous and being victorious over the evil one. We are not called to walk in defeat. For in Christ we are the ones who have the authority. The enemy had authority at one time when he deceived Adam and Eve, but that authority was removed from Satan when Christ went to the cross. When Jesus cried it is finished the authority the enemy had was taken and Christ has given authority to those who follow Him and called upon His name. As we grow in Christ we come to understand the authority we have in Him. We no longer are a doormat for the enemy, we become a dynamic force upon the earth for God and His kingdom. As we grow in Christ we learn to exercise the authority we have been given in the place of prayer.