Section Two: Children
1 John 2:12-14—"I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 13] ....I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father."
As we can see from these verses, there are two general characteristics of children (new converts) in the faith:
- They understand their sins are forgiven; and
- They know the Father.
Using those two general characteristics as a guide, the following lessons are designed to help a new believer to understand the application of forgiveness to their lives as well as gain a basic understanding of who the Father is. Complementary to these teachings are several additional lessons to help a new disciple gain an understanding of God’s will and the basics of their salvation.
Think with me about a place where everything is perfect. By any evaluation, there are absolutely no problems—nothing needs to be added or taken away. It is absolutely perfect in every way. In this place (and I'm not taking about heaven)
Matt. 6:12, 14-15; Luke 7:36-50Forgiveness—it's a word we love and loathe. We love it when we can be forgiven for our sins against God and others—what a tremendous relief! On the other hand, we loathe forgiveness when we must grant it to others who have grievously hurt us, even sinned against us. How difficult that can be!
God often gives us direction through closed or open doors, so keep your spiritual eyes open for them. Often they are unapparent to the natural eye.
Come with me to a vista where we will view God's attributes. You should be prepared to be changed, because a view of God’s attributes exposes our sinfulness and compels us to offer ourselves completely to Him. Turn to Romans: 11:33-36—"Oh, the depth of the riches, the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34] Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? 35] Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? 36] For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen."
When we show love to those who don't know Christ, they will get a picture of what God is like. That's our goal is this series: Getting to Know God—translating the attributes of God to everyday life. For example, in being loving and just, the two attributes of today's study, we give people a glimpse of God's character. Let me give you an example. It is the story of Anne Meskey.
What if we never read the Bible, and never paid close attention if someone else read it to us? What would our knowledge of God and the Scriptures be like if the only source of our knowledge came from what we heard or saw on T.V., at the movies, from friends or our own imagination? Sadly, most Americans are in this situation! In order to have a proper understanding of God—not a mixture of rumor, films, a projection of our own humanness, half truths and a muddle of ancient history—we are involved in a study of the attributes of God. This isn't an in-depth study, but an introduction to a few of the characteristics of God, so that you might know Him better.
So often we're like a first grader I heard about, named Frank. His teacher gave Frank a piece of paper and said, "Draw anything you like, but you have to tell us what it is." So the little boy started drawing. Everyone else finished, but he was still shading in here and there. The teacher asked, "What are you drawing, Frank?" He quickly and proudly replied, "It's a picture of God."
On January 7, 1855, Charles Haddon Spurgeon addressed his congregation at New Park Street Chapel with these words: "Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go plunge yourself in the godhead's deepest sea; be lost in His immensity; and you shall go forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon God..."