Even though born again Christians are capable of sin, it doesn't mean we should knowingly sin. We are challenged here to rely on God's power to try not to live in sin. But on the occasion that we give in to sin and break God's laws and standards, we know that we can turn to him and confess, repent and ask for forgiveness. We can do that because of his Son Jesus Christ.
2He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
Because God is holy and perfect and just, he retired that a penalty be paid for humanity's offenses against him. Nothing on this fallen world would or could accomplish that. So God himself provided the only sacrifice that would meet his requirements. By sacrificing his so, Jesus to die in our place, His blood not only atones for our sins, but the sins of the world.
3And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.
The Fire Bible study notes points out that through out this letter by John, he uses two Greek verbs translated as "know". One of these words translated (gnosis) is for the group of false teachers who claimed to have special knowledge about God and the way to salvation. John clarifies that true knowledge does not come through secret wisdom but only through a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.
4If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
John is making sure that we are aware that just because we received our salvation by God's grace, that we can not believe we are not obligated to follow God's rules and commands. God provided our salvation through his forgiveness and grace and our way to show that we truly have received it is to follow his commands. We are to walk in the same love that he shows us. If we do no live by God's Word, we are not truly living for Him or in Him. We need to boldly identify with Jesus Christ.
A New Commandment
7Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. 8Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.
9If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness.
God's command to love one another was not new. In Lev 19:18 of the OT you will see the same teaching. In the NT though, it takes on a whole new meaning when you see the love of Jesus through His sacrifice for us. Jesus is love. To have him in our hears is to live in light because He is the Light. If we do not love each other, we are not following Jesus and we are still in the dark. You can't claim to know him and live in darkness. They just do not go hand in hand.
10Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. 11But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.
12I am writing to you who are God’s children
because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.
13I am writing to you who are mature in the faith
because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
I am writing to you who are young in the faith
because you have won your battle with the evil one.
14I have written to you who are God’s children
because you know the Father.
I have written to you who are mature in the faith
because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
I have written to you who are young in the faith
because you are strong.
God’s word lives in your hearts,
and you have won your battle with the evil one.
True love always acts in a God honoring and selfless way. It puts the best interest of others ahead of your personal wants and desires. Don't do anything if it causes another believer to stumble. It isn't a matter of if it is right or wrong for you to do, it is a matter of will it glorify God and lift up those around you. John is writing to all of us, to the believers, to the children of God. It doesn't matter if you are mature in your faith or new in your faith, once you know Jesus, you are walking in light and must also walk in love. Because we know Chris we are strong and able to resist the evil of this world. God tells us because we have Him in our hearts, we have already won the battle over the evil one.
Do Not Love This World
15Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
We are warned here about the physical and the natural. We are not to love those things about our Lord. The "things" of this world are temporary and if we live for these "things" instead of God, we too will fade just like they do. But live to please God first and foremost and you can have eternal life. We are not to crave what the world offers or to bask in our own achievements. We can give God honor though for what he brings us to and helps us achieve in His name.
Warning about Antichrists
18Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come.
I am going to simply use the Fire Bible Study notes explanation of the Antichrists. It is very easy, clear and concise.
THE AGE OF THE ANTICHRIST). Yet John says that before this, there will be “many antichrists” (lit., “against Christ”), some of whom had already infiltrated the church and promoted false teachings about Christ. These deceivers claim to be believers, yet they love the world and its sinful pleasures. They twist the message of Christ by denying that he came in human form (4:2; 2Jn 1:2, 7) or that he was truly the Christ (i. e., the promised Savior from God, v. 22). The “antichrists” John refers to in this letter are probably early Gnostics (see 1:1, second note; see introduction to 1 John
19These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.
The "antichrists" left the congregations and this proved that they had nothing in common with the true believers and they were not in a saved relationship with Jesus.
20But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth. 21So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies.
Because we are followers of Christ, we have an empowerment and a personal knowledge of the truth. Because of the Holy Spirit, we can "know" the truth and have the power to live by it. Because of this, we can recognize the lies and know the difference between the lies and the truth.
22And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. 23Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ is a liar. This is very intense, if you deny the Father and the Son, you are considered an Antichrist. Also, this is the verse that is very clear in letting us know that God the Father and God the Son are one. You can't know one and not know the other. So by acknowledging and accepting Jesus, you have the Father.
24So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father.
You can not abandon the faith taught in the NT. Believers must remain loyal to Christ. They must live by his teachings. If you can remain faithful to His original message of love you will always be in fellowship with Jesus and the Father.
25And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.
26I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. 27But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.
All believers are "anointed" with the Holy Spirit. This is what sets us apart as God's children. Once you have accepted Jesus and received the Holy Spirit, you have all that you could possibly need to remain in the truth. You don't need to follow lies that are spewed and try to tell you their "truths". All the truth you ever need will be found right in God's Word, when you stay in the Word, you remain in fellowship with God. You will not be swayed by lies because you will have knowledge.
Living as Children of God
28And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.
29Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.
This verse is very convicting. We are not only told to remain in Christ but why. So that we do not shrink in shame. Ouch. I can't imagine wanting to hide from God because I was ashamed. So, we need to always follow his commandment of love and living in light so that we can know His righteousness. When we walk with Him, we can know we are His children and never be ashamed.