As believers, we live in a world that does not understand or appreciate our identity in Christ. While others boast about their achievements, awards, and titles, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we are the children of Almighty God! He has chosen us, adopted us, and showered us with love (v.1). The Creator of the Universe — He’s my Father! It doesn’t get any better than that! Or does it? John said (v.2), “If you think it’s good now, just wait ’til Jesus returns and we see Him face to face!” What a day that will be!
The promise of the Second Coming of Christ has a purifying effect on us (v.3). Knowing that He could return at any moment motivates us to be morally pure, to be intolerant of sin in our lives. That is a mark of a true believer (v.4-10). Even the most godly people you know sometimes commit sins. When they do, it grieves them and they seek forgiveness and restoration. There is a difference between that and the person who “keeps on sinning” (v.6) or “makes a practice of sinning” (v.8-9). According to verse 10, if you make a practice of living in sin, become indifferent to the holy standards of God’s Word, and look for ways to excuse and justify your sin — you should put a big question mark over that thing you call your salvation.
The next section of this chapter deals with the indispensable quality of love in the life of a believer (v.11-18). One of the changes that takes place when we are transformed by the gospel is that the love of God replaces the envy, hatred, and selfishness that comes so naturally to our sinful nature. And we can’t keep that love to ourselves. Instead of being consumed with self-love, “we love the brothers” (v.14). Love is a verb in the family of God; we don’t just talk about it, we do it (v.18)! With Jesus as our example (v.16), we do whatever is necessary to meet needs and give love.
Too often we complicate the Christian life, but John kept it simple: if you want to please God and live a life of confidence, just focus on loving Jesus and loving people (v.23). If you focus on loving Jesus you won’t tolerate in your life the things that He hates, and you will be eager to do what He commands. If you focus on loving people you will be attentive to their needs and you will be eager to meet them. That’s pretty simple, right? Just keep it simple today. Love Jesus, love people.