1 Consider this: The Father has given us his love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God’s dear children. And that’s what we are. For this reason the world doesn’t recognize us, and it didn’t recognize him either. 2 Dear friends, now we are God’s children. What we will be isn’t completely clear yet. We do know that when Christ appears we will be like him because we will see him as he is. 3 So all people who have this confidence in Christ keep themselves pure, as Christ is pure.
4 Those who live sinful lives are disobeying God. Sin is disobedience. 5 You know that Christ appeared in order to take away our sins. He isn’t sinful. 6 Those who live in Christ don’t go on sinning. Those who go on sinning haven’t seen or known Christ.
7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you. Whoever does what God approves of has God’s approval as Christ has God’s approval. 8 The person who lives a sinful life belongs to the devil, because the devil has been committing sin since the beginning. The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy what the devil does. 9 Those who have been born from God don’t live sinful lives. What God has said lives in them, and they can’t live sinful lives. They have been born from God. 10 This is the way God’s children are distinguished from the devil’s children. Everyone who doesn’t do what is right or love other believers isn’t God’s child.
Love One Another
11 The message that you have heard from the beginning is to love each other. 12 Don’t be like Cain. He was a child of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did Cain murder his brother? Because the things Cain did were evil and the things his brother did had God’s approval. 13 Brothers and sisters, don’t be surprised if the world hates you.
14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love other believers. The person who doesn’t grow in love remains in death. 15 Everyone who hates another believer is a murderer, and you know that a murderer doesn’t have eternal life.
16 We understand what love is when we realize that Christ gave his life for us. That means we must give our lives for other believers. 17 Now, suppose a person has enough to live on and notices another believer in need. How can God’s love be in that person if he doesn’t bother to help the other believer? 18 Dear children, we must show love through actions that are sincere, not through empty words.
19 This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and how we will be reassured in his presence. 20 Whenever our conscience condemns us, we will be reassured that God is greater than our conscience and knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we can boldly look to God 22 and receive from him anything we ask. We receive it because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 This is his commandment: to believe in his Son, the one named Jesus Christ, and to love each other as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey Christ’s commandments live in God, and God lives in them. We know that he lives in us because he has given us the Spirit.