A Faith for All Ages

My mom blessing my niece Misty Johnson at her wedding, with my great-niece Rachel looking on. 


1 John 2:12 I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven on account of his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young people,
because you have conquered the evil one.
14 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 people,
because you are strong
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.


This passage in 1 John has been referred to in different ways. John Wesley would suggest that these are levels of spiritual maturity. Little children in their faith are embracing the fact that their sins are forgiven. Spiritual fathers have grown to a place of maturity where they are in intimate contact with the Father. Young people are vibrant and in the middle of their spiritual development, knowing that they have conquered the evil one. 

He continues with the spiritual children who know the father. Again, he affirms that the fathers, those who have been journeying for a long period of time with the Lord are living in continual fellowship with the Triune God. The young people, in the middle of their spiritual journey are strong, and learning that the word abides in them, and they are overcoming the evil one. 

This is a faith for all ages, and for all stages of spiritual development. 


I’d like to think of this passage in light of a multigenerational church, and one in which we are all growing spiritually. Let’s look at the little children who come with innocent faith and trust in the Lord for forgiveness of sin. Their innocence speaks to all of us and reminds us of what it’s like to have that child-like faith. 

At the same time the fathers, and I would suggest, the mothers, of the faith have a role to play. We need every generation present because each one brings something unique to the table. It’s from my parents that I learned about intimacy with the Lord. They are the ones who modeled the spiritual journey, day after day following Jesus. They did know the Father and “him who is from the beginning.” I even learned that from my grandfather, CB Johnson, who prayed the most heartfelt prayers that I have ever heard. Even as a child, I recognized that something amazing happened when he prayed. 

The young people are needed in the community of faith. They are the ones with energy and vision. I think we need to pray for our young people because we need them to see the spiritual warfare which surrounds us. The word must abide in their hearts and lives.

We really become intertwined, a community which builds one-another up. At the same time, there ought to be a push toward discipleship; a discipleship which leads to spiritual growth and development. We do begin this journey as little children. As we read and study the word, abiding in the Lord, we are able to see the spiritual condition of the world around us. We begin to understand the need to overcome and conquer the evil one. And finally, we understand that this journey of faith will lead us to a place of intimate participation with God. Here we will really know our Father, the Triune God who has been from the very beginning. 

We are all welcomed into this multi-generational faith; a life-long journey in community with God and humankind. 


Lord, may the church reflect the beauty of this faith. Amen. 


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