Motivations and accidents
People way back at the beginning were made in the image of God. The fall broke us badly but did not erase all love.
So Christians and non-Christians alike will be loving in some situations merely as a result of their having been created in God’s image. Great variety in the spectrum of loving behaviors will be expressed this way. Some will be extremely loving and others extremely non-loving. Many will be in the middle living what for the most part comes across as good, kind, benevolent. “He was a good person,” they often say at the passing of a friend or family member. I would characterize these as godly-residuals. Some are merely accidental, and others are motivational. Loving choices made from one’s inner humanity are possible; prevalent even.
John is not talking about a love that comes from the humanity of it all. He is talking about loving like Jesus. “Let us love one another,” he says. Why? Because God is love and as a result of that he purposefully entered into our lives to set us on the right course. The person who sets his mind to love as a result of God’s motivation toward us is born of God and knows God.
The humanitarian who does good for their fellow human is expressing Godly character traits. The motivation, however, is not from God, but from self. John is not saying that this type of person is born of God, nor is he saying they know God.
The Christian who does unloving things is expressing their unredeemed nature. None of these behaviors are condoned by John, but he is not suggesting that these behaviors disqualify one’s salvation.
Don’t build an entire doctrine from one or two verses
The doctrines of Christianity are derived from the entire package of scriptures. One verse does not a religion make. To inflate verse 7 or verse 8 above the larger work and context of this letter and what we know as the Bible does harm to the whole. All fit together like the pieces of a car. Each is important to a final goal. The car transports you from place A to place B. The entire doctrines of the Bible move us along our journey from now to forevermore.