Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.
Again like a kind patriarch John addresses his readers as “little children,” reminding his readers to abide in Christ. The Greek word for “confidence” (Παρρησίαν parrēsian) implies boldness and freedom of speech (or plain speaking). So it’s not some touchy-feely high self esteem that we feel, but confidence in our own salvation because our lives match up with the evidence about which John has written, having courage to share the truth of it with others as well. We are confident that in the face of conflicting religious belief systems surrounding us today that we have the Truth.
We have confidence because we have practiced His righteousness despite occasionally stumbling, and we have confidence in knowing Christ is our defender who has already paid for our transgressions. At his second coming when all pretenses are stripped away our character will be shown to be what we professed it to be, not having lived a double life but having abided in Him.
Anyone truly acquainted with God will be certain that he is a righteous Being. So it follows that only those who are truly righteous can regard themselves as begotten of Him. No matter how soon Jesus may appear, or how solemn and overwhelming the scenes which close the world, we will not be ashamed but will hail him as our Savior. Ocumenius wrote "God is righteous, and therefore the source of righteousness; when then a man doeth righteousness, we know that the source of his righteousness is God, that consequently he has acquired by new birth from God that righteousness which he had not by nature. We argue from his doing righteousness, to his being born of God. The error… is to conclude that doing righteousness is a condition of becoming a child of God." If we are righteous, doing that which is right toward God and toward people, to ourselves, to our families, to our neighbors, to the world at large, and to the Savior who died for us, then we are true Christians. But we must always remember that our righteousness comes from Him, not from our righteous acts which are but "filthy rags."