In his first epistle John introduces something not found elsewhere in the Bible. He suggests that the Christian walk can be divided into three separate periods, where each period has some common characteristics. I have been pondering this lately and what I am now to pen down is not an exhaustive exposition on the subject, merely some initial thoughts.
The little child knows his sins are forgiven. He is not yet, however, secured in God’s grace and has a limited understanding of the mystery of the gospel, that is, Christ’s abiding presence in him. The child is an easy prey for condemnation, and is apt to judge himself and others based on behavior. He prefers fixed boundaries and finds security in a predictable religion.
The child usually wants to have its will and God have mercy on those who is so audacious that they shake their outlook and their predictable world. Children prefer predictability and strict boundaries. They prefer to divide things in good and evil.
The young man has overcome the evil one. He has disclosed the devil’s devices and is secure in his identity. He is strong because he has discovered the surpassing power of the One who abides in him. The adolescent is well settled in God’s grace and he is beginning to make righteous judgments in accordance with the light he has been given.
Otherwise the young men are like most other adolescents. They almost invariably know better than those who are older and more mature than them. Full of plans and energy they embark on any project they think will glorify God.
The father, who knows Him who has been from the beginning, has delved into this mystery we call love. He knows God is limitless and unsearchable. He has found that God operates outside any preconceived boxes. Daily his mind is stretched, because the Spirit is leading him further and further from the trodden paths. The father is completely secure in God’s love. The fact that he is loved is a fixed inner knowledge. He is not dependent on feelings, sensations or experiences to feel loved even though he appreciates those moments of intimacy.
What does it mean that the father knows Him who has been from the beginning? God is love and thus love is the origin of everything. It is a love that far surpasses any human understanding, so the father has undressed himself of those inhibiting thought patterns which attempt to understand God intellectually. God is Spirit and can hence only be recognized in a realm where words cannot by any means make justice to God’s person or ways. The father has abandoned any earthly ways, and his soul is utterly captivated by the beauty of the Eternal one.
For the father any illusion about separation has been dissolved and he is well established in his union with God. His will is fused with God’s will and he confidently obeys his heart knowing he can do nothing of himself and is thus secure in his own I. Paradoxes do not scare him. On the contrary he is intrigued by the freedom those almost preposterous inconsistent ideas offer.
Others envy him his freedom to express himself without any inhibitions. In the same manner as God the father is preoccupied with one thing only and that is life and life in abundance.