John the apostle was stressing another point to the readers of his first epistle. He wanted everyone who read his epistle to understand that we can know that we have come to know God. He also wanted them to understand how we can know.
We can know that we have come to know God! Isn't this a great thing? Yes, it is. It is comforting to us whenever we come out knowing that we know God. It is not comforting when we come out on the other side.
John the apostle makes it clear that we know that we know God when we keep His commands. This may seem off the wall to some readers! However, this is what the text says. We must be obedient to God.
Is John preaching salvation by works? No, I do not believe that he is. After we have come to God through Christ, we can see that we have truly come to know Him when we keep His commands. In other words, salvation is not something that we earn. However, our salvation will have an outward appearance.
After we come to Christ, we will have a tendency to want to keep His commands rather than break them. At first, we are too weak to be able to accomplish much in this area. However, with God's grace and assistance, we are better able to keep His commands than we were when we first came to Him. It is at this time that we can look at where we are, and where we were, and see what God has done.