1 John presents several dichotomies throughout: light vs. darkness, truth vs. lies, love vs. hate. Beneath the friendly tone, it is clear that there is a cosmic struggle between good vs. evil going on in the world and people can either be on God's side or the devil's side.
Those who wish to be on God's side, who wish to be children of God, need to recognize the complete truth of God, who sent Jesus into the world to save people from destruction. God offers truth, goodness, and light in a world that often has little of any of these. Those who believe in God and follow God gain new life from God.
The primary way for Christians to experience their new life is to experience and share God's love. Drawing on the new commandment given by Jesus in the Gospel of John -- that you love one another -- 1 John describes faith as largely living out that commandment to love. Such love must be life-giving and sacrificial, it must be confident and generous, it must be kind and all-encompassing. Living out this love will allow Christians to experience God more fully, to join in God's fight to overcome the evil of the world, and to receive eternal life after the coming judgment.