1. The witness of love (5:1-5). Brotherly love is exemplified when Christians keeps the commandments of God. If one were to keep God’s commands, in this case loving his brother, then what self-interest would reign and be a canker in the church – there would be none! It is so unfortunate that some relegate God’s commands to something along the lines of a “work of man.” Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, keeping the commands of God is a “work of God.”
2. The witness of God (5:6-13). The witness of God is that we would have life, and the life we live now we can live in confidence. Before each of us there is a choice (cf. Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Joshua 24:14-15), there is the testimony from God we can choose to accept and then there is the testimony man that we can choose to accept. John makes clear, however, that if we choose poorly we have, in effect, called God a liar.
3. The confidence of God (5:14-17). When we KNOW that God hears our petitions, we can appeal to the Lord for a brother who has “fallen into” sin. Those who sin that leads not to death, John says we ought to pray for that one. How can a brother fall into sin and that not lead to death? It seem to me, that a brother who “falls into” sin “not leading to death,” is a brother not in complete rebellion (the “high-handed” sin you might say) to the Lord’s will. A brother who struggles is more apt to be receptive of the Lord’s will than not (cf. Acts 16:14; Ephesians 1:13). On the other hand, others think that a brother “falling into” sin not leading to death is that guilty brother who has responded to the Lord’s love, having repented of that sin (sins). When this occurs, our confidence is in the Lord’s response to that one who has repented.
4. Those born of God (5:18-21). Those born of God make consequential decisions. As Joshua did, Christians do. The decisions we make about spiritual matters are more easily made when we have knowledge from one who know what it is He is talking about, and in this case that can only be God! Let us decide, then, to keep unspotted from the world.