I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one (1 John 2:12-14).
The express purpose of God in the life of every child of God is to bring forth the image and likeness of His Son in us. As it is with natural childhood development, we go through stages of maturity and growth as we develop into mature sons and daughters of God. The Lord Jesus is not going to marry a bride that does not reflect the blameless perfection revealed in His Person. Although the power of His blood and the work of the cross bring regeneration to dead-in-sin lives, there is still a cooperative work of the Spirit of God in our lives that is purposed to bring us to maturity in both Christ’s character and power. The Father will have a bride without spot or wrinkle for the Son of His love. The blood removes the “spots” (sin and iniquity), and heat and pressure remove the wrinkles (as in ironing)!