Next, John addresses different classes in the church, the “little children,” the “fathers,” the “young men,” and then the “little children” and the “fathers” again.  It is possible that he intends this for the various age classes within the church, but it seems much more likely that he is classifying them according to their spiritual development and maturity.

He speaks first to the “little children,” and says that he writes to them because their sins are forgiven for Christ’s name’s sake.  These who are young, or perhaps weak and immature in the faith, nevertheless have this comforting knowledge, that their sins have been forgiven for Christ’s sake.  In this, the least of Christians is every bit the equal of the strongest.  One may perhaps be much more spiritually advanced and mature than another, but no believer is any more justified and forgiven than any other, for we are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and heirs according to the promise.