John, having been around for a while, knows that believers suffer from identity amnesia from time to time. So he says all of this all over again. He repeats himself in chapter 2 verse 14 (of 1 John). Paper was not a throw-away resource like it is to us today. There weren’t companies that produced reams and reams of papyrus to write on. The stuff that John used would have been rather expensive and space on the paper would have had high rent value! Writers, in the first century, choose their words carefully and intentionally. So John’s repetition of these words is very significant.
I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. Forgiveness of sins and knowing the Father go hand in hand. Be reassured because you know God. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are (1 John 3:1)! How quickly we forget this. Knowing God the Father should transform our lives everyday. Men, you should be great husbands and great dads, because you know God the Father. It should make all the difference. Women, you should be great wives and moms, because you know the Father. All of us should be great people in our community, because we know God the Father. It is upon God Our Father that we depend for our sustenance, our daily bread. We ask him to forgive us our sins and to help us forgive others. We seek his power to keep us from temptation and to protect us from evil. We ask him to make his will done in our lives on earth as it is heaven. If we lived every day according to the reminder that we are children of God the Father, we would turn this world upside down.
I write to you, mature believers, again reminding you that you have known him who is from the beginning. Don’t miss this repetition. There is nothing more important than knowing Jesus Christ, the eternal God. So twice, duplicated word for word, John reminds the older, mature believers that they know the one who from the beginning. There is nothing else new you need to discover. Mature believers, live everyday according to that reminder: that you know Jesus Christ, who is bigger than this world.
I write to you, young believers, because you are strong. You have the strength and exuberance of life through God’s Spirit in you. I write to you, young believers, because the word of God lives in you, it dwells in you, it is a spring of life within you. God the Holy Spirit is alive within you. You have invited him in to recreate your heart and purify you and to give you power. I write to you, young believers, because through God’s indwelling Holy Spirit you have overcome the evil one and you can transform this world. In fact, the evil one has no chance against you because of your strength and because the Holy Spirit lives in you. Young believers, live every day according to that reminder: that you have victory because God, who lives in you, gives you unbeatable power.
Isn’t it good to be reminded of who we are? Isn’t it good to be reassured of who we know? And isn’t it good to go over it again and again? That’s why a daily time spent with God is so important or why it is so essential to gather together as believers. We need the repeated reminder of reassurance.
I need to continually remember why I am a pastor- Because Jesus Christ has changed my life and I am supposed to lead others to that life change in him too. It’s the same for my marriage. It is necessary for me to continually remember why I am a husband- Because I love my wife and have committed my entire life to serving her. How reassuring to remember that repeatedly. It is refreshing. It is freeing. It is wonderfully exhilarating. And it makes me want to live a life that is worthy of my calling.