Verse 1 – Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, we should be called of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
John marveled at the love that God has shown. However, the world doesn’t understand this. They regard us as fanatics or foolish for not pursuing the same things in this world as they do. They don’t understand God’s principles.
Verse 2 – Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, we shall see Him as He is.
Verse 3 – And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
The Christian life is a process of becoming more and more like Christ. The process will not be complete until we see Christ face to face. Knowing that this is our ultimate goal, we keep ourselves morally straight and avoid sin.
Verse 4 – Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
Those who are true Christians do not habitually sin. A true believer that sins, repents and receives forgiveness. A person who continues to sin is not sincere in their faith toward God.
Verse 5 – And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.
The whole purpose for Jesus coming to this earth, becoming a man, was to put an end to sin and take the punishment for it. He redeemed us from sin and if we receive that redemption and receive Him then we are His.
Verse 6 – Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Abide – to remain, to continue, to abide, in Him. Remaining with Him, heart, mind, and will. God’s will becomes our will.
Verse 7 – Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
Verse 8 – He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
The believer imitates their righteous Father. The sinner imitates their father the devil, the master of lies and deceit. However, there is a remedy to sinning and changing fathers. His name is Jesus Christ.
Verse 9 – Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin because he has been born of God.
John is not talking about people whose “victories” over certain temptations are not complete. He is talking about people who make a practice of sinning and find ways to justify it!
No one who is born of God will continue to sin. They do not become indifferent to God’s laws and standards. All believers still sin once in a while, but they continue to work on overcoming that sin.
We are born of God when the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. Being born-again is much more than a fresh start. The Holy Spirit gives us a new heart and mind and begins helping us to change to be more Christ like. We renew our minds by reading God’s word and our perceptive changes.
Verse 10 – In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God nor is he who does not love his brother.
Plain and simple: If a person does not practice righteousness and does not love their Christian brother or sister, they cannot be a child of God. Did you notice, John did not say, “Love everyone?” he said, “Love your brother,” He’s taking about our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Verse 11 – For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one anther,
Verse 12 – not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.
Cain killed Able when God accepted Able’s offering and not Cain’s. Cain’s jealousy drove Cain to murder. Why? Because when people are morally upright, they expose and shame those who aren’t. That’s why there is so much hatred towards the Christian.
Verse 13 – Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
Verse 14 – We know that we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren. He who does not love the brother abides in death.
If a person is not “born-again” their spirit is “dead.” When a person becomes a born-again Christian, they pass from “death” to “life.” This is just one of the simple tests to know if you are truly one of God’s children. Do you love your brother’s and sister’s in Christ?
Verse 15 – Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
The private malice, the secret grudge, the envy which is harbored in the heart against another Christian, is murderous in tendency. What is felt in the heart, will come out of the mouth and sometimes, with no restraint, be put into action to commit murder.
Verse 16 – By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Verse 17 – But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
How do our actions say that we love another? Are we as generous with our money, time, and possessions? The Bible says, “Those that know to do good and don’t, is sin.”
Verse 18 – My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
Verse 19 – And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.
Verse 20 – For if our hearts condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
God’s love is larger and stronger than any accusing conscience we might have of not doing enough. Don’t let your conscience accuse you of not being good enough at what you do for God – God is greater.
Verse 21 – Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
Christians should be able to come before God with a clear conscience and free of guilt. We shouldn’t harbor old sins that have already been forgiven!
Verse 22 – And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight,
If we keep His commandments then we won’t ask what is outside His will.
Verse 23 – And this is His commandment; that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
Verse 24 – Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
Our conduct will reflect His presence in us!