John begins his summary of the true gospel by saying God is the source of and all life, salvation and holiness. Therefore those who are trust Him will have lives marked by a concern for goodness and a pursuit of righteousness.
Of all the competing voices out there, how do you know which one is right? Which one is worth listening to? And which ones carry more weight than the others? Who you listen to and why is a major theme of the letter of 1 John. John wrote this letter teach his readers to recognize the difference between the true gospel and false gospels and between true teachers and false teachers.
John wrote his first letter to clarify the differences between the genuine gospel as revealed by Jesus to the apostles and the heretical versions of the gospel spreading in the early church. He gives 2 guiding principles for recognizing genuine believers and false teachers.
How can the apostle John say love is a mark of believers and hate is a mark of non-believers? Even a cursory examination reveals that believers hate and non-believers love.
When I was a new Christian, I told another believer that I was struggling with controlling my temper. She told me that I was not a genuine Christian because if I was, I wouldn’t sin. If she is right, not only was I not a Christian then — I still am not a Christian now. When you discover two very different interpretations of the Bible, how do you decide who’s right?