I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father.
I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.
(I John 2:12-14)
This is John, the aged apostle, writing to his little children in the faith… to fathers, perhaps like him, in the faith… and to young men who were his sons in the faith. To be sure, in the Biblical sense, these “family members” are coed and multi-generational: little children who are youngsters AND older ones new in their faith; fathers AND mothers who are patriarchs and matriarchs of their families and communities; and young men AND young women who bridge the gap between fresh youth and fearless kingdom living.
It’s a good outline, too, for a lesson in fatherhood and sonship. If we as Christian men are to be like God – Christlike in His image and glory – then we have this to follow:
- Know Christ. Fathers, confess Him as Lord. Learn everything you can about Jesus. That means living in and by the Eternal Word, Jesus. Fathers should have a memory of grace to pass along. In Jesus, their fatherhood is evidence of Fatherhood.
- Overcome Satan. Young men, live for Jesus and not the devil. Be strong. That means living in and by the Eternal Word, Jesus, who lives in you. You can overcome.
- Be intimate with your dad. Sons, adore and admire fatherhood, even if your dad is dead or deadbeat. Your Christian father, the man who takes you in as a son and raises you like one of his own, can help you overcome the wicked one. Don’t have a spiritual father? Then learn the essence of Biblical fatherhood. Dads, be aware of your Godly responsibility to your son AND to boys and young men who need a dad. That responsibility: to help him overcome the wicked one.
There’s more to manhood in these and the following verses, for both fatherhood and sonship. I cannot elaborate on it any better than God said it Himself:
Do not love the world or the things in the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it;
but he who does the will of God abides forever.
(I John 2:15-17)