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02.13.2

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End Notes

I am certain that, by now, you know that I am strongly committed to 2 Peter 1 and it's place in understanding Christian Spiritual Development.  And you'd be right.  Yet, I suspect that I'm about to turn everything upside down.  You see, there is another Scriptural passage that I believe also speaks to Christian Spiritual Development.  That passage is:

 

1 JOHN 2:12-14

 

"12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.

13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.  I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.  I have written to you children, because you know the Father.

14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been 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 evil one."

 

Do you see the developmental sequencing?  I believe it is implied in the terms, Child, Youth, and Adult (thus CYA).  Simply, the differing ages identified may be implying differences in Christian Spiritual Maturity.

 

Consider:  the Child has his sins forgiven.  That would seem to imply obtaining one's salvation.  Notice that at this early position the Child has a relationship/Knows the Father.  Obviously, a healthy Father/Child relationship would entail the Father caring for the weak Child.

 

The next cluster, the Youth, describes him as having 'overcome the evil one.'  The second appearance of the Youth adds that he is 'strong' and 'the word or God abides in you'.  This half-way spot in the developmental sequence describes the Youth as strong, and having overcome the evil one [Satan].  The second iteration seems to describe HOW the Youth has overcome, 'the word of God abides in you.'  Looking a bit afield,  1 John 5:4-5 tells us that our Faith in Christ Jesus is what 'overcomes' the world [or Satan].  Thus, for the Youth, Faith is already present and is at work, for the evil one has already been overcome.  Again, 1 John 2:6 explains HOW the Youth 'overcomes'.  He tells us: "the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked."  Thus, it would seem that to 'walk as He walked' would require self-discipline.  After all, Jesus was no slouch in that department!

 

The final cluster, the Adult, says that: 'you know Him who has been from the beginning.'  The second appearance of the Adult quotes the first without any changes.  This would seem to imply knowing God as:  creator, transcendent, majestic, and divine.  This is different from the Child, who understands God, the Father, with reference to himself and his needs.

 

So, what have we seen in 1 John 2:12-14?  The CHILD would seem to be described as: weak, needing protection and instruction, and relying on God as protector.  The YOUTH would seem to be more independent, has Faith in Christ to save, and is struggling to live a disciplined Christian life. The ADULT would seem to be impressed with God in His majesty.  Not overtaken by a view of God defined with reference to himself.

 

If this is even close to being right, then a variety of characteristics of Christian Maturity would seem to appear.

 

This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

14 December, 2023