3 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[a] is, they don’t know who we are. 2 My dear friends, we are already God’s children, though what we will be hasn’t yet been seen. But we do know that when Christ returns, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is. 3 This hope makes us keep ourselves holy, just as Christ[b] is holy.
4 Everyone who sins breaks God’s law, because sin is the same as breaking God’s law. 5 You know that Christ came to take away sins. He isn’t sinful, 6 and 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.
7 Children, don’t be fooled. Anyone who does right is good, just like Christ himself. 8 Anyone 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. 9 God’s children cannot keep on being sinful. His life-giving power[c] lives in them and makes them his children, so that they cannot keep on sinning. 10 You 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 that 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. 13 My friends, don’t be surprised if the people of this world hate you. 14 Our love for each other proves that we have gone from death to life. But if you don’t love each other, you are still under the power of death.
15 If you hate each other, you are murderers, and we know that murderers do not have eternal life. 16 We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That’s why we must give our lives for each other. 17 If 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. 18 Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.
19 When we love others, we know that we belong to the truth, and we feel at ease in the presence of God. 20 But even if we don’t feel at ease, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if we feel at ease in the presence of God, we will have the courage to come near him. 22 He 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. 24 If we obey God’s commandments, we will stay one in our hearts with him, and he will stay one with us. The Spirit that he has given us is proof that we are one with him.
3.1Christ: The Greek text has “he” and may refer to God.
3.3Christ: The Greek text has “that one” and may refer to God.
3.9His life-giving power: The Greek text has “his seed.”
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