1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
John opens the second chapter of his letter by addressing his hearers as “my little children.” In calling them little children, John defines his relationship with the Christians who are reading his words. He defines this relationship in two ways:
- His love for them – In calling them children, John demonstrates the fact that he loves them deeply. He cares for their lives, and wants to point them in the right direction.
- His expectation of them – In calling them children, John positions himself (rightly) as a spiritual authority. As an eyewitness to Jesus, and as one who has been sent to teach others the truth of the gospel, John has the right to speak to the Christians authoritatively. He has the right to place proper expectations on them.
John’s expectation for the Christians is that they may not sin. As Christians, they have been called into the light. And life in the light is not dominated by sin. While the struggle with sin is ongoing, and while there will be times when they fall (more on that in the next post), sin no longer has dominion over them.
All of this points us to a critical truth in the Christian life…The expectation of all Christians is a progressive growth in holiness. The longer we walk with Jesus, the more we grow in a desire to glorify God. This shows up in our lives as living righteously and killing off sin.