3:3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
This little phrase in the middle of John’s letter provides an important reminder. The entire text of 1 John is an encouragement, a presentation of the qualities and characteristics of the believer, a series of proofs or affirmations. However, it is not a list of things that one pursues in order to earn salvation. Avoiding sin, obeying Christ, loving one another, disregarding worldliness, and keeping sound doctrine; these are results not causes.
Our salvation rests entirely in God’s hands. Even the faith with which we trust Christ is a gift from Him. On our own we are so prone to waiver. In Scripture we see example after example of men and women who chose to trust God, but then remained steadfast to that choice only by the grace of God. We hope, and we can have hope because God is faithful. And we can hope because He is faithful to uphold our choice to follow Him.
Ultimately, that is the assurance we will have by the end of John’s text. Yes, we can rejoice in the progress we make “walking in light” and showing the character of a child of God, but we can know that God will never drop us once we chose to make Him Lord of our life. We trust Him, not our ability to please Him. And He will make us more and more like Christ.
We are not faithful to God to somehow earn His favor. We are favored by God and thus He has earned our faithfulness.