Words of encouragement: timeless assurance

I love Joseph. He’s now two years old. My greatest concern is how I will equip Him in life and faith. 10 years ago, this was a distant thought; instead I was challenged by the secularist university around me and how I would live out my faith among my friends and peers. The encouragement and assurance I needed to hear then and the encouragement and assurance I need today are quite different.

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children.
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong.
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

— 1 John 2:12-14 (ESV)

Yet, there are some truths, encouragements and assurances, that remain the same regardless of the state of life we find ourselves. After reminding his readers of the greatest commandment, John writes to encourage and assurance them of their faith.

Words of encouragement for everyone

In my 30 years of life and walking with God, there are two things that never change. My constant struggle with sin, and a regular reminder that no matter what life brings I have a relationship with the Almighty.

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.

John refers to his readers as children (cf. 1 John 2:1). He first encourages them by reminding them that their sins are forgiven. Wow! Furthermore, he assures them that their sins are forgiven, not because of their merit or worth, but because Jesus does it for His own name’s sake. He staked His life on His name, literally! He died on the Cross for us, not because we deserved it, but because He is love.

I write to you, children.
because you know the Father.

Secondly, John encourages them further by reminding them that they know the Father. Not only are they John’s ‘children,’ but evenmoreso because of the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, they are now able to know God the Father. God is no longer some distant figure in the heavens, but One who walks with us daily.

Words of encouragement for older Christians

As a Christian walking seriously with Jesus for the last 15 years (and no seriously for longer), there is one thing I have come to learn. God never changes. While I continue to learn more about Him, His character never changes. I change, but He doesn’t. It’s one thing I can count on in the next 15 years of walking with Him.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

What encouragement does John give to older, mature Christians? They know God. What’s the difference to other Christians then? The difference is they know Him who is from the beginning. This phrase echoes from John’s gospel (John 1) and the beginning of this letter (1 John 1) pointing to one thing, the eternal Godhead who is from the beginning. The Creator God and the beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who is from the beginning—they know Him.

John encourages them by assuring them of their maturity. Unlike younger Christians who are still learning about God, they know Him. Their knowledge of Him, their relationship with Him stems from a deep, intimate, and personal relationship grown over time. They can look back over their relationship with Jesus and see His faithfulness, His goodness, and His continued presence with them as they walk with Him decade after decade.

For the mature Christian, this is the difference. It is a deep-seated relationship with God built on a intimate knowledge of the character and personality of God; a history of experiencing His faithfulness, goodness, and love; and securely anchored by time.

Words of encouragement for younger Christians

In my teenage and young adult years, I wanted to save the world. I wanted to take the world head-on and solve all its problems. We joke that teenagers think they are immortal and know everything, but John indicates there is a level of truth in this. There is a certain confidence that marks the adolescent years.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong.
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

John provides encouragement for this adolescent confidence. He sees the young Christian overcoming the evil one, Satan, through the living and active word of God in strength. Within this encouragement and assurance, John reminds them the vehicle for their strength comes through the Word of God. Furthermore, this strength is there for a purpose—to overcome the the evil one.

What must be pointed out here, however, is they do not defeat the spiritual forces of darkness. They overcome. The defeat of the evil one and his followers occured at the Cross of Calvary—where Jesus Christ, the commander and chief, took His stand and laid seige to the powers of darkness.

The encouragement: be strong and courageous for the Kingdom of God; wield the sword of the Spirit—that is, the Word of God; overcome the powers of darkness to bring many into the light.


I am writing this to you so that you might be encouraged and assured of your faith no matter your stage of life with God. Whether you are still young in your faith, or walked a generation with Him through thick and thin, I pray you are encouraged and assured that you know Him.