Isn't it amazing to realize we are a child of God. We have been chosen and adopted through Christ. It is the privilege of our salvation. Being a child of God gives us a hope for our future. To know that we are co-heirs with Jesus it to know that we have eternal life. I am excited to see what it is truly going to be like when we are like Christ.
3And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
4Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 5And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him.
Those of us who know we are a child of God will be faithful to him. We will keep ourselves ready for him. A complementary verse here is in 2 Cor 7:1. If you are intentionally sinning, you lose that relationship and that hope. We know that Jesus came to take our sins away, but we also have to do our part to not continue to sin and to stay in fellowship with him.
6Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.
7Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.
The Fire Bible gives the best explanation of the verses above and I don't want to lose any meaning by trying to paraphrase so I will simply post those notes for verse 6-7.
SEEN HIM OR KNOWN HIM. The verbs “seen” and “known” are in the perfect tense (the Greek perfect tense refers to action that occurred in the past with results continuing to the present moment). John is saying that no one who is living in sin–deliberately defying God and his standards–has seen (and continues to see) God, nor has he known (and continues to know) him. This can apply either to those who have never had real faith in Christ or to those who knew God in the past but have not continued knowing him in the present.
8But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.
Many refuse to accept the fact that the devil is real. But John tells us he is the evil one and has been sinning since the beginning of time. He is the instigator of sin and he wants us to live in sin with him. He is behind the spirit of the antichrist in this world and those who refuse to follow God. The good new for us is that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and to destroy sin. In Jesus, we know we have already conquered the devil, we are forgiven.
9Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.
What a great thing to know. When you are truly born into the family of God, we will not longer continue to practice or make a habit of sinning. Because we are a child of God, we are striving to live righteous. When you are born again and have the Holy Spirit in you, you can not continue to purposely live a life full of sin because the Holy Spirit can not live in sin. So if the Holy Spirit is in you, how can you live in sin? Interesting question.
10So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.
Quite simply put, John says here that anyone that continues to defy God's standards if of the devil and not a child of God. A true child of God will follow his commands and show concern for the salvation of others as well as the needs of others.
Love One Another
11This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
14If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
These 5 verses come down to a common denominator, hate is murder, murder is death to the sinner and there can be no eternal life. We are to walk in love and forgiveness, we need to do what is righteous in God's eyes. Do not harbor grudges and let hard feeling grow into hatred, that will keep you from living for God and ultimately, keep you from life.
16We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.
Although, this verse may mean that we literally may have to give up our life for another it also is figurative. We may have to put aside our own interests and concerns for the sake of others, especially if this shows God's love for them and helps bring them closer to Christ.
17If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
This is a very convicting verse. If you are capable and able to help another in need and you just don't, you are closing your heart to that person. God's love is expressed by helping those in need and showing compassion. If you heart is closed and hard, how can God's love be within you?
18Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 19Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 20Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
21Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence.
This is where the saying "actions speak louder that words" must come from. If you truly have the love of Christ within you, your actions will show it, just as your action or lack of action will show if you don't have Christ in you. Feeling guilty doesn't do anything, the Father knows your heart. Be confidant in who you are in Christ so that you never have to feel guilty about your actions. Come to him confidently knowing you showed love and helped fill the needs of others.
22And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.
23And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. 24Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.
We are being told here that by our obedience and love we can be assured of an affective prayer life. We can receive what we ask for because we live in love and believe in the Son. We obey God and remain in fellowship with him. When we have the proper motives and follow God's will, it is directly related to our relationship with Jesus Christ.