We Are God’s Children
1 The Father has loved us so much! This shows how much he loved us: We are called children of God. And we really are his children. But the people in the world don’t understand that we are God’s children, because they have not known him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God. We have not yet been shown what we will be in the future. But we know that when Christ comes again, we will be like him. We will see him just as he is. 3 He is pure, and everyone who has this hope in him keeps themselves pure like Christ.
4 Anyone who sins breaks God’s law. Yes, sinning is the same as living against God’s law. 5 You know that Christ came to take away people’s sins. There is no sin in Christ. 6 So whoever lives in Christ does not continue to sin. If they continue to sin, they have never really understood Christ and have never known him.
7 Dear children, don’t let anyone lead you into the wrong way. Christ always did what was right. So to be good like Christ, you must do what is right. 8 The devil has been sinning since the beginning. Anyone who continues to sin belongs to the devil. The Son of God came for this: to destroy the devil’s work.
Those who are God’s children do not continue to sin, because the new life God gave them*
stays in them. They cannot keep sinning, because they have become children of God. 10
So we can see who God’s children are and who the devil’s children are. These are the ones who are not God’s children: those who don’t do what is right and those who do not love their brothers and sisters in God’s family.
We Must Love One Another
11 This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love each other. 12 Don’t be like Cain. He belonged to the Evil One. Cain killed his brother. But why did he kill him? Because what Cain did was evil, and what his brother did was good.
Brothers and sisters, don’t be surprised when the people of this world hate you. 14
We know that we have left death and have come into life. We know this because we love each other as brothers and sisters. Anyone who does not love is still in death. 15
Anyone who hates a fellow believer is a murderer.†
And you know that no murderer has eternal life.
16 This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for each other as brothers and sisters. 17 Suppose a believer who is rich enough to have all the necessities of life sees a fellow believer who is poor and does not have even basic needs. What if the rich believer does not help the poor one? Then it is clear that God’s love is not in that person’s heart. 18 My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do.
19-20 That’s how we know we belong to the way of truth. And when our hearts make us feel guilty, we can still have peace before God, because God is greater than our hearts. He knows everything.
21 My dear friends, if we don’t feel that we are doing wrong, we can be without fear when we come to God. 22 And God gives us what we ask for. We receive it because we obey God’s commands and do what pleases him. 23 This is what God commands: that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ, and that we love each other as he commanded. 24 All who obey God’s commands live in God. And God lives in them. How do we know that God lives in us? We know because of the Spirit he gave us.