Terry R. Baughman
“I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. … I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father” (1 John 2:12–13).
John was the elder statesman, the patriarch of the Apostles and the only surviving member of the original Twelve. He wrote as a father to his children. It was an endearing and instructive letter meant to be shared with the believers of many congregations. He wrote of the light that had come into the world, of the love of God, and redemption from sin. Some passages sound like a reflection on his earlier Gospel and emphasize the purpose of Christ’s message, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
John wrote to the children of God who had come to know the Father and had been forgiven of sins. John warned them to refrain from sin, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.” Then he offered a remedy for sin, “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
Fathers are vital in the spiritual growth and development of believers. There is God-ordained authority vested in Fathers. Society and culture have attempted to minimize the role of fathers and blurred the lines of distinction between the sexes. In an effort to bring equality the unfortunate result has been the devaluation of men and the deterioration of the family unit. Coming back to biblical patterns and the teaching of spiritual principles will enhance the family structure and restore the divine order in our families.
Fathers must be respected in the family structure and they must take responsibility for the leadership of their homes and children. Paul also wrote as a father to the Corinthian believers saying, “I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.” Paul was concerned that, “You do not have many fathers” (1 Corinthians 4:14–15). The role of the father must be restored to bring harmony to the family unit.
In our culture there are many broken homes, divorces, and blended families. There is no easy fix and it will always be less than perfect. However, fathers can begin by taking responsibility for their children, seeking to spend time with them and giving them the attention they crave. If a father finds himself in the position of leading other children (rather than his own) he can still be a positive leadership mentor in their lives. Mothers should attempt to bring the father (or a father figure) into the circle of influence for their children. Children should be taught to respect their fathers and honor those in leadership over them. From the most basic pattern of leadership and respect that is fostered in the home, a child will grow to understand the love of the Heavenly Father and the value of obedience to Him.
The Gospel message begins at home and the knowledge of God is seen through the family. Let the love of God be experienced as we love our children, our families, and others.
“My little children, … if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).