When I write letters or emails, I try to put my main purpose near the beginning. “I’m writing to you about...” “I need to speak with you about...” The apostle John, however, scattered his purpose throughout his letters. It might seem a bit strange to us that today’s reading from chapter two is a series of purpose statements. Why is he stating his main point here?
While yesterday’s reading in verses 9–11 was meant to be affirming, not scolding, the command to love and obey might still have felt overwhelming. Maybe that is why the apostle pauses to offer encouragement to his readers.
In verses 12–13, John encourages believers in general, calling them “dear children” or “beloved” and reminding them of the joy of their salvation: “Your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.” This is the foundational reason we can walk in the light. He also encouraged “fathers,” or church leaders, “because you know him who is from the beginning,” Christ. To know Him is the key to everything else. Finally, he addressed “young men,” younger or less mature believers (both male and female). Though they’re just starting out on their spiritual journeys, they can be confident that they have “overcome the evil one.” Right from the start, we have victory in Christ.
In the second round of purpose statements (v. 14), John follows the same order. All believers can take heart “because you know the Father.” Christ opened the door to this relationship. Church leaders can stand firm for the same reason. Both the Father and the Son are eternal. And younger believers can faithfully walk in the light because their strength comes from the Word of God living in them. God has provided all the power we need to love and obey!
>> Whatever you’re feeling or experiencing today, you can take John’s encouragements to heart! You have a relationship with the eternal God, who has already granted you forgiveness and victory.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through [You] who loved us.” (Rom. 8:35–37)