1 John 2:13
I write to you, fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning. I write to you, young men…
I. THERE ARE A MIDDLE SORT OF CHRISTIANS, WHO MAY BE CALLED YOUNG MEN.
1. From the fathers they differ —
(1) Because they are not so well settled in a heavenly frame of spirit.
(2) In that they have not so much superiority and command over their affections and passions as the fathers have.
(3) In that they are not so wise and experienced in the spiritual warfare, and therefore are often foiled, though they do also often overcome.
2. From the babes they differ —
(1) Because they have been longer engaged in the practice of godliness, and so they have a more serious consideration of their state and ways, that they may avoid sin and the occasions thereof.
(2) They are more diligent in the use of means. Their continual work is to subdue their passions and corrupt inclination, to weaken their rebellious desires and defeat temptations.
(3) They are more versed in the Word of God, though not skilful in the word of righteousness, as the fathers; yet not as unskilful as the babes (Hebrews 5:13).
II. THE MIDDLE SORTS OF CHRISTIANS OR YOUNG MEN ARE MOST EXPOSED TO TEMPTATIONS AND CONFLICTS.
1. It is true of Christians young in grace; these especially are busied in fighting against the temptations of Satan and in resisting and sub duing their own unruly lusts.
2. The devil tempteth and molesteth the saints, in hope to recover the prey.
3. In regard to themselves and their own flesh, which is not as yet perfectly subdued to Christ's discipline. The bullock at first yoking is most unruly; the fire at the first kindling casts forth much smoke (Romans 7:9).
III. THAT WHICH IS MOST EMINENT IN THIS RANK OF CHRISTIANS IS STRENGTH.
1. The strength of the body; that is incident to young men naturally considered (Proverbs 20:29). But this is no great thing in a spiritual eye; for a bull or an ex may exceed us in this kind of strength (Psalm 144:14); and a robust temper of body doth more often incline to sin than to virtue and grace.
2. The strength of the soul, which is the property of Christians, often spoken of in Scripture (Psalm 138:3; Ephesians 3:6). This is the fruit of grace, for by nature we have it not (Romans 5:6). This spiritual strength serveth for three uses —
(1) To bear burdens with patience. A heavy burden requireth a sound back (Colossians 1:11).
(2) To perform duties with cheerfulness. That is a part of a Christian's strength to be able to work hard as well as bear much (Philippians 4:13).
(3) To resist temptations with success. Our necessities are many, so must our strength be to fight as well as to work and bear.
IV. THIS STRENGTH THEY HAVE BECAUSE THE WORD OF GOD ABIDETH IN THEM.
1. The precepts and doctrines of the Word abide in them (Psalm 37:31). A lively sense of his duty is kept fresh upon his heart; and then, when they are tempted, they answer as the Rechabites, We dare not; our father commanded us otherwise (Jeremiah 35:6).
2. The promises. These must abide in us for comfort against temptations, desertions, and afflictions (Job 22:22). In a time of wants and straits, how sweet is it to remember bow amply we are provided for in the covenant! (Psalm 119:111). And in doubts and discouragements by reason of pressures and troubles (Psalm 119:5).
3. The threatenings. Many lusts are strange and boisterous, and are deaf to all milder motives.
V. THOSE THAT HAVE THE WORD OF GOD ABIDING IN THEM OVERCOME THE WICKED ONE.
1. The adversary, "the wicked one." As God is the holy One, so the devil is called "the wicked one."
2. What is the victory? for the apostle speaketh of it as a thing past, "Ye have overcome."(1) The devil is an enemy, with whom we cannot make peace, but must fight against him till we overcome. So that here it cometh to a point, either we must perish or conquer.
(2) There is hope of this victory. Whilst we keep up the fight our striving is a degree of conquest (James 4:8).
(3) There are great preparations for a victory. The devil is a conquered adversary (Colossians 2:15), a disarmed enemy (Hebrews 2:14).
(4) Final conquest is sure.
(T. Manton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
WEB: I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, little children, because you know the Father.