3 1 Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world did not know who Christ[J] is, they don't know who we are. 2My dear friends, we are already God's children, though what we will be hasn't yet been seen. But we do know when Christ returns, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is. 3This hope makes us keep ourselves holy, just as Christ[K] is holy. 4Everyone who sins breaks God's law, because sin is the same as breaking God's law. 5 You know Christ came to take away our sins. He isn't sinful, 6and people who stay one in their hearts with him won't keep on sinning. If they do keep on sinning, they don't know Christ, and they have never seen him. 7Children, don't be fooled. Anyone who does right is good, just like Christ himself. 8Anyone who keeps on sinning belongs to the devil. He has sinned from the beginning, but the Son of God came to destroy all that he has done. 9God's children cannot keep on being sinful. His life-giving power[L] lives in them and makes them his children, so they cannot keep on sinning. 10You can tell God's children from the devil's children, because those who belong to the devil refuse to do right or to love each other. Love Each Other 11 From the beginning you were told we must love each other. 12 Don't be like Cain, who belonged to the devil and murdered his own brother. Why did he murder him? He did it because his brother was good, and he was evil. 13My friends, don't be surprised if the people of this world hate you. 14 Our love for each other proves we have gone from death to life. But if you don't love each other, you are still under the power of death. 15If you hate each other, you are murderers, and we know murderers do not have eternal life. 16We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. This is why we must give our lives for each other. 17If we have all we need and see one of our own people in need, we must have pity on that person, or else we cannot say we love God. 18Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it. 19When we love others, we know we belong to the truth, and we feel at ease in the presence of God. 20But even if we don't feel at ease, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. 21Dear friends, if we feel at ease in the presence of God, we will have the courage to come near him. 22He will give us whatever we ask, because we obey him and do what pleases him. 23 God wants us to have faith in his Son Jesus Christ and to love each other. This is also what Jesus taught us to do. 24If we obey God's commandments, we will stay one in our hearts with him, and he will stay one with us. The Spirit he has given us is proof that we are one with him.
Contemporary English Version / ©1995 American Bible Society About