The book of 1st John is endlessly rich with gripping material. He powerfully paints a picture of Christianity as a walk in the light vs. a life in the dark. He talks as if Christianity is fueled by actual, real, honest-to-God, relational and "feelable" God-contact. He believes and expects that Christianity will actually result in the defeat of sinful behaviors. Seriously. And above all else, he proclaims that Christianity is nothing if it is not love first and foremost. Love for God and love for others. He declares that Christianity is the ultimate rebellion against and escape from the way-too-common prison of love for the world.
Like I said, endlessly rich and gripping. Smack dab in the middle of chapter 2, in vss. 12-14, John does something that we never see him do. He breaks into poetic verse! Scholars and commentators rightly extract various implications and applications of this strange departure from his normal prose.
Today we take note of how this text shows how John acknowledges that we are, indeed, on a journey. Look at it. He poetically addresses 3 different groups in different "stages" of their lives.
For all that it is, it is so vital to acknowledge that there are "stages" of development in this thing called Christianity. Without this understanding, we would operate out of a black and white, you-are-in-or-out, sort of spirit. We've all seen it before (and many of us have carried it); it is a harsh, judgmental, urgent sort of spirit that is not only false, but is unkind, and actually runs human beings off from the one "thing" that gives every human being hope... Jesus.
Grace abounds in this idea that we are "still in process". It is nice to know that we are not forever defined by right where we are at. It is O-Kay! But challenge abounds, too. If Christianity is a process, then the proof that we are in it is that we are changing. Journeying. Trans-forming. Progressing.
Let's see if we can discern from John some clues as to how.