My dear little children. My precious babies. Oh, how cute and adorable… No! No, wait a minute! Here in I John 2:1, the author is not talking about newborn infants. These are little children who happen to be full blown, grown men with lots of facial hair and a voice as low as the Grand Canyon. These men are mature sized and haven’t seen a kiddie sized ice cream cone in many years. And the best part is that the reading audience of I John audience includes all the members of the discipleship group that I have the privilege of leading every Wednesday night.
Recently, in our group we talked about honesty and how it not only helps in relationships, but it also enables us to grow up in Christ. Afterall, isn’t that what we all want, to grow up? John calls us all little children out of affection and a sincere desire to see us reach the goal of maturity as believers. He continues by saying he is writing to us so that we will not sin. He’s putting this in writing, he’s warning us. Remember when you were a little tyke and you were watching the bonfire down by the lake and Uncle Harry would say to you, “Don’t get any closer or you’ll get burnt” and of course you would get closer, and Uncle Harry would push you in to show you just how hot it was (just kidding). We are exactly like little children; we don’t listen to warnings. Previously in I John 1:6, it says “if we walk in darkness, we are disqualified from fellowship”. Then in 1:10 he warns us that if we deny being sinners, then we are calling him a liar. It all sounds so simple but it’s not, and that’s why he continues in 2:1 with “If anybody does sin, we have One who speaks to the Father in our defense- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” Yes, that’s a promise.
Just as you expect the kid to put his hand into the wet cement, John is anticipating that the believers will cross the line, will walk in darkness, and will be deceptive. It’s called sin. Temptation. Following the flesh. It is what Paul was referring to in Romans 7:15 when he said, “That which I want to do, I don’t do, and that which I hate do, I do”. It’s the old “Spy vs. Spy” routine, evil vs. good.
But guess what, we have an Advocate, a Helper, a Savior who is ready to forgive us and to help us get back on track. His name is Jesus, the atoning sacrifice for our sins. And not only for our sins, but it says in 2:2 “for the sins of the whole world.”
So, His forgiveness is available to everyone, but it certainly isn’t accepted by everyone. John is writing to men and women who have accepted God’s forgiveness but may be struggling with that daily walk. Remember, we are talking about honesty. Don’t deceive yourself. Sin is real. Those evil thoughts you are having, they’re real. Be honest with another brother or sister and confess your sin and get on with your life. “If we walk in the light” we will have real, honest relationships. And who knows, we may even grow up!