John says, ‘I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name’ (v. 12 NIV). When you’re born again, the only thing you know is that your sins are forgiven and you’re in right standing with God. But you have a lot more to learn. The Greek term for ‘children’ refers to toddlers. And toddlers keep tripping and falling. Until they learn to walk, they need someone to pick them up and reassure them that falling down doesn’t mean they will never walk or they’re not part of the family. In spiritual childhood, it’s essential that you understand two things: the difference between your stage of growth and your standing before God. Don’t get them mixed up! Trusting in the finished work of Christ gives you right standing with God as a fully accepted, redeemed child of His. If you forget that, every time you fall, the devil will make you doubt your salvation. When you sin, it doesn’t mean that your standing before God is altered; it means your stage of spiritual growth needs work. The forgiveness you receive at the new birth is a judicial act, making you a member of God’s family in good standing. But the forgiveness you receive on a daily basis is a relational act. For example, when you enter some wrong numbers into your calculator, what do you do? There is a little button called ‘clear entry’ that lets you erase your mistake and start over again. That’s what the blood of Jesus does. Repentance allows you to override sin by triggering God’s forgiveness, so that the flow of His grace continues. And when grace flows, growth follows.