I am writing to you, my dear children, because your sins have been forgiven because of Jesus. – 1 John 2:12


John designates three types of Christians, according to their maturity levels. His first exhortation is to the “dear children” whose entire experience and excitement revolves around the knowledge that their sins have been forgiven. Every new Christian needs to be taught and discipled in this simple truth. Unfortunately, most believers never fully enjoy the one basic fact that their sins have been forgiven on account of Jesus.

The second level of Christian maturity is the “young” (1 John 2:13). These Christians have moved into the level of spiritual warfare. They are strong in God’s Word and have overcome the devil (v. 14). They have allowed God to tear down the strongholds of Satan over their minds, bodies, and past struggles. They understand the truths of spiritual freedom from bondage and live in that freedom.

The last group is the “mature,” who know Christ (v. 13). These people, walking in close relationship with God, know Him as more than just Forgiver and Deliverer. They know God as Father in spiritual worship and intimacy.

Grow up, little one. Your Father has more of His goodness for you to enjoy.


I am writing to you, my dear children, because your sins have been forgiven because of Jesus. – 1 John 2:12




Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it is because they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil. – 1 John 3:7-8

Certain signs indicate to us that someone has truly been born again. The first sign is victory over areas of habitual sin: “Those who have been born into God’s family do not sin, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they have been born of God” (1 John 3:9). True conversion does not mean sinless perfection. Rather, it means that a person has forsaken the habitual sins that once enslaved him.

The second sign of true conversion is love for one’s brothers: “If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life. But a person who has no love is still dead” (v. 14). When we come to Christ, gone are all attitudes of hatred and prejudice.

The third sign of genuine conversion is generosity. Giving is directly connected to love, because love always manifests itself in giving. First John 3:17 tells us, “But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help—how can God’s love be in that person?” A hilarious, cheerful, sharing spirit is physical evidence of the new birth.

A final sign of the new birth is confidence before God for the things requested in prayer (vv. 21-22). The believer does not display a shy, hesitant faith, but a bold, confident position in grace.

Follow these four signs—they are sure to lead you to true believers!

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