I write unto you, little children
By whom the apostle means in common all the saints he writes to, whom he afterwards distributes into fathers, young men, and little children; for the same word is used here as in ( 1 John 2:1 ) ; and a different one from that which is rendered little children in ( 1 John 2:13 ) ; and besides, the following blessing of pardon of sin is common to all the children of God of different ages: now what the apostle says he writes unto them, intends not the epistle in general, but the new commandment of love in particular; and which he urges and enforces on them all, for this reason,
because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake;
these little children had been sinners by nature and practice, and were not now without sin, but they shared in the blessing of the forgiveness of it; which arises from the abundant mercy and rich grace of God, and proceeds on the blood and sacrifice of Christ; and therefore is said to be "for his name's sake"; not for the sake of any merits in men, any services or works of theirs, but for the sake of Christ, his blood, sacrifice and satisfaction; and it reaches to all sins, original and actual, secret and open, past, present, and to come; and here intends the application of it by the Spirit of God, and the reception of it by faith: and which, as it is a reason and argument encouraging love to God, who freely and fully forgives, and to Christ, whose blood was shed for the remission of sin, so to their brethren and fellow Christians; who are equally sharers in the same blessing, and when they should love, because they are loved of God and Christ; and whom they should forgive, because God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven them. It may be, they may be called here "little children", with a view to their interest in this blessing of grace. So the Jews say F6, that Saul was called
``"the son of one year in his reign"; ( 1 Samuel 13:1 ) ; because all his iniquities were forgiven him, (qwnytk) "as a sucking child" of a year old.''
F6 T. Hieros. Biccurim, fol. 65. 4.