John’s use of familial language in referring to his audience as “little children” demonstrates a certain level of affection on the author’s part. He is appealing to us, as the reader, with care and affection, hoping to move us away from sin. Despite the affectionate language, he assumes that we will struggle in the process. Interestingly, he does not immediately begin to teach and give commands for how we as believers are to live; instead, he points to Christ’s finished work on the cross. In reading John’s words, we begin to understand that Christ’s work has a past aspect, in the fact that his work on the cross is finished, but also a present aspect, as Jesus’ sacrifice has a continuing effect as he sits at the right hand of the throne of God advocating for us. His work, as John says, not only has implications for us as God’s people but also for the whole of humanity. As I dwell on John’s statement, the gravity of it stirs something deep inside me as I realize all the people around me who still don’t know Jesus. As the people of God, we are called to be engaged in the mission of God to the world, which requires us to move outside our comfort zone and demonstrate the love of God to a broken and hurting world.
"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."
1 John 2:1-2