John says, ‘I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name’ (v.12 NIV). When we’re born again, the only thing we know is that our sins are forgiven and we’re on the right footing with God. But there’s so much more to learn. The Greek word for ‘children’ refers to toddlers. Until toddlers learn to walk, they keep tripping and falling, so they need someone to pick them up, comfort them, and reassure them that they’re loved and that falling down is just a temporary setback on the way to success. In spiritual childhood, we need to understand two things: the difference between our stage of growth and our status in God’s eyes. We mustn’t get them mixed up. When we trust in Jesus’ work at the cross, we gain the status of a fully accepted and redeemed child of God. If we forget that, the devil will make us doubt our salvation every time we fall. When we sin, it doesn’t mean that our status before God changes; it means our stage of spiritual growth needs work. The forgiveness we receive when we’re born again is a judicial act that makes us members of God’s family. But the forgiveness we receive on a daily basis is a relational act. For example, when you enter some wrong numbers into your calculator, what do you do? You press the ‘clear entry’ button, deleting your mistake so you can start again. That’s what the blood of Jesus does. Repentance overrides sin by triggering God’s forgiveness, and the flow of His grace continues. And when grace flows, growth follows.