I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one. 1st John 2:12-14
Imagine with me spending a full day observing a preschool and the children during their daily activities there. And one of the students is a 30 year old man enrolled as one of the preschoolers? And each time the teacher asked a question the man gave the correct answer. And each time the teacher asked for cleanup time the man was the first to have his area cleaned. And at the end of the day you observe the 30 year old man is one of the best preschoolers. But you know in your heart there is a problem. A 30 year old man does not belong in preschool!
What an incredible experience it was for me when I became a disciple of Jesus almost 29 years ago. As a brand new baby Christian, to know I had been forgiven and given the privilege of becoming one of God's family. To learn of the wonderful love that God has for me as a child of God.
But if my relationship with Jesus was formed only from my understanding of my forgiveness and acceptance and never moved from that starting point to other important truths like stewardship, obedience, and service any keen observer would say there is a problem. He is still in Christian preschool after almost 29 years of discipleship.
In 1st John 2:12-14 John illustrates three stages of Christian maturity with little children, young men, and fathers. And it appears the path from little children to fathers is the way of young men and having the Word Of God to strengthen us to overcome temptation. In other words, learning and applying God's Word for daily living. Jesus wants us to graduate from Christian Preschool to normal life long discipleship. See also Hebrews 5:12-6:3