1 John 3

1 When we are saved through faith in Jesus, God adopts us into His family. The world does not understand this because either they do not believe in God, or they misrepresent His loving nature.
2 Currently, we are encased in a dying body and are affected by a sinful world. At the time of the Resurrection we will be given new, immortal bodies and dwell in the perfect and good presence of God. In our present state, we can not look upon God, but after He has cleansed us from all sin, we will be able to look upon His full splendor and glory.

Some people claim that the "children of God" grow up to be "gods" themselves. This is a false teaching. The children of God grow up to be the "people of God." and always remain under His authority. We will be like Him in that we will live forever and share His glory, but the unfathomable mind and power of God is not something that can be duplicated. In addition, we will never have authority equal to God's authority. Christians should desire to be like God, but they will never harbor any ambition to be God.

3 Children pick up the physical, and often the personality characteristics of their parents. We are told that one day we will be like Christ with an immortal body and a spirit free from sin. However, we are His children now. We need to behave the way our Father wants us too. In the same way that human children sometimes struggle to obey their parents, children of God must deliberately choose to be obedient to Him until it becomes a habit. It is difficult for Christians to practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, but we can learn them from God and put them into practice in our lives. When we strive to be obedient to Him, we will purify ourselves from selfishness and idolatry. We will be devoted to Him, and He will work in our lives.
4 Sin is anything that is disobedient to God. It is an abstract concept, but it makes itself known in very real ways. Laws define the physical manifestations of sin: things like stealing, adultery, and worshiping idols. Not everyone has heard God's requirements directly, but each society has a set of morals that, to varying degrees, reflect God's law. People in sin will break these moral laws, and by extension break God's laws.
5 Jesus takes away our sin. He was sinless, but He bore the punishment for our sins. Since we are free from sin, we should not live in it. The righteousness of Christ, which replaces our sin, makes itself known by our obedience to God. By extension, when we are obedient to Him, we not only meet, but also surpass the moral requirements of whatever laws we are governed under in this world.
6 This is further clarified in verse eight. The idea is that one who continually practices sin and makes no serious effort to become obedient to God is the one who does not know Him. Those who repent of sin and practice righteousness demonstrate that they know God. Some sins may be very difficult to overcome, but with God's prompting and power, the believer can be free.
7 The key to practicing righteousness is not merely in the obedience to a list of rules. The most important aspect of living in righteousness is centering you life on God. To do so involves daily prayer and the reading of Scripture. It also involves obedience to Him and loving others, which is when the God-centered life becomes evident.
8 There is much speculation about the origin of evil in the devil. We know that on the sixth day that God pronounced all things good. This means that God did not create the devil as an evil being. At some point the devil decided that he did not want to be under the authority of God and in doing so sinned. He then enticed God's prized creation to sin. Jesus came to begin the reverse process. Those who believe in Jesus have their sins forgiven, and at a future time, He will return to destroy all sin.
9 John repeats this idea again because he wants to get this into the listener's mind. Those who have been born again will not abide in sin. The sinful habits from their old life will be disposed of eventually. Any new sins will be dealt with swiftly. The believer finds sin repulsive because it is rebellion against God, whom he loves and who dwells within him.
10 Those who do not follow God can not continually practice righteousness. They may profess to love God and others, but their actions will eventually reveal the truth. Their righteousness is really self-righteousness, and their motive to love is based on selfishness, not genuine compassion.
11 John uses similar verbiage in 1 John 2:7. There is a link between living a Christ-like life and loving each other, which the believers have been taught from the beginning. Jesus told us that one of the hallmarks of the church should be the love we have for each other (John 13:35).
12 Cain was jealous of Able gaining God's favor. Instead of responding in loving submission to God, Cain hated Able. That hatred eventually manifested itself as murder.

The mind of the devil does not work on the principles of rightness or justice. The devil will lash out at anyone who practices goodness. The devil's purpose is to mar the work of God without any provocation. This is evil indeed.

13 The majority of people in the world do not follow God and openly despise or discredit those who do. Although Christians strive to be model citizens, those opposed to God see us as threats or become resentful of being told there is a right way to live. It is difficult to be a Christian when we seek to help others only to be repaid by harsh words or violence. It can seem like no amount of reasoning or good works will please them. Nonetheless, we should continue to do what is right in the hopes that others might come to know God through our example.
14 Sometimes a Christian may wonder how he can know that he is saved. John gives us one of the tests here. When we love other Christians, it is evidence of our salvation. Christ gives us the ability to love those who are different from one another. It does not matter what a Christian looks like, how he speaks, where he lives, or what his background has been. He can be confident that his fellow Christians love him.

Love brings life, but hate brings death.

15 See Mat 5:21-22.
16 See John 15:13.
17 God has special concern for the poor. Those of us whom God has blessed with food and finances should help those who are unable to meet their basic needs. When we help those who can not help themselves we display the same kind of love to them that God gave to us.
18 "Love" is easy to say, but far more difficult to do. Love does not simply mean kind feelings; it means self-sacrifice for the betterment of others. Christian love is manifest in actions, not merely words. (James 2:15-16).
19 To reiterate verse 14, when we are behaving in a loving manner to our fellow Christians and are living in obedience to the truth God gives us, we can be assured that we will stand before Jesus on Judgement Day, and He will be pleased with us.
20 No Christian is perfect, of course, and we all know this. We all have failed at various times in our lives. We have all been unloving, untruthful, and sinful at times. When we confess our sins, guilt may linger behind. Even so, we can rest assured that God has forgiven us, even if we do not feel forgiven.
21 However, it is better to accept God's forgiveness and be free of guilt because guilt interferes with our relationship with Him. If one stays aloof because he feels guilty, then he is really questioning God's love and forgiveness. Nonetheless, He does, and desires that any break in the relationship between Himself and one of His children be fully mended.
22 When we are in line with God's will, He will gladly give us those things that we ask for because we ask for those things that are in line with His will. We will ask for those things that will advance His Kingdom, help us pursue righteousness, increase our love for Him and others, and lead us to where He is working. Remember, however, that He gives things in His time, and sometimes in ways we do not expect.
23 This is a combination of John 6:29 and John 13:34. It is another way to render the "greatest commandment" described in Mat 22:36-40.
24 Our obedience to Christ is not only evidence to the world that we follow Him, but it is also evidence for us during our times of doubt. Even after we have sinned, when we confess it before God, we are being obedient to Him. Our thoughts and activities are known to us and can be used as an assurance for those spiritual things that we do not fully understand.

Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer. We can trust in this because He promised this for us. When we discern how the Holy Spirit is changing our thoughts and actions, we are assured that He is there and working inside us.