Having expressed his confidence in God’s work of grace, John gently encourages his little children to abide in Christ.  He would never leave any man to think that the Christian life is one of ease and comfort.  We have the indwelling of the Spirit, for which we thank and praise God, but we also must continue to seek God’s face, and follow hard after Christ, lest we grieve the Spirit of God, and quench His graces within us.  All those graces worked within us by the Holy Spirit must be cultivated, that they may grow more and more, and flourish with fruit unto God.  The individual who lives this life of faith may have confidence in his Saviour, and he knows that he will not be ashamed when his Lord returns with power and great glory.

In what does this “abiding in Him” consist?  In the doing of righteousness.  We know that our Saviour is righteous.  Did not John call Him “Jesus Christ the righteous” back in verse 1 of this same chapter?  He is immaculately, impeccably righteous, and we are counted as righteous by virtue of our union with Him.  But there is also a practical righteousness, wrought out in the lives of every person who has been made a new creature in Christ.  Those who do righteousness, out of a heart of love towards God, are born of God.  They have experienced the new birth, and are citizens of the kingdom of heaven.  No other person can do righteousness.  The world’s best works are filthiness in the sight of God, for they are not offered through the merits of His beloved Son.  Only those who have been justified in His sight, and been born again by the power of the Spirit of God, can live pleasing in His sight.  The new birth, and the righteous behavior which follows it, is the indelible mark of the true believer.