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Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children. And in the same way the world didn’t recognize Him, the world does not recognize us either.

When we feel like we are not good enough to be loved by God, we should remember that God’s love is greater than our doubts. We must silence the sounds of condemnation so we can hear the voice of God’s loving assurance and remember that He has selected us to be part of His family.

My loved ones, we have been adopted into God’s family; and we are officially His children now. The full picture of our destiny is not yet clear, but we know this much: when Jesus appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is. All those who focus their hopes on Him and His coming seek to purify themselves just as He is pure.

Everyone who lives a life of habitual sin is living in moral anarchy. That’s what sin is. You realize that He came to eradicate sins, that there is not the slightest bit of sin in Him. The ones who live in an intimate relationship with Him do not persist in sin, but anyone who persists in sin has not seen and does not know the real Jesus.

Children, don’t let anyone pull one over on you. The one doing the right thing is just imitating Jesus, the Righteous One.

If you are wondering if your faith is authentic, take a look at your life. Are you doing what is right?

The one persisting in sin belongs to the diabolical one, who has been all about sin from the beginning. That is why the Son of God came into our world: to destroy the plague of destruction inflicted on the world by the diabolical one.

Everyone who has been born into God’s family avoids sin as a lifestyle because the genes of God’s children come from God Himself. Therefore, a child of God can’t live a life of persistent sin. 10 So it is not hard to figure out who are the children of God and who are the children of the diabolical one: those who lack right standing and those who don’t show love for one another do not belong to God.

11 The central truth—the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith—is that we must love one another. 12 Please do not act like Cain, who was of the evil one. He brutally murdered his own brother.[a] Why would he do something so despicable? Because his life was devoted to evil and selfishness, and his brother chose to do what is right.

13 Brothers and sisters, don’t be shocked if the corrupt world despises you. 14 We know that we have crossed over from death to real life because we are devoted to true love for our brothers and sisters. Anyone who does not love lives among corpses.

Do you ever wonder if you are just silently sleeping through days, months, and years? There is one indicator of real life: true love for others.

15 Everyone who hates other members of God’s family is a murderer. Does a murderer possess the beautiful life that never ends? No. 16 We know what true love looks like because of Jesus. He gave His life for us, and He calls us to give our lives for our brothers and sisters.

17 If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? 18 My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love.

19-20 There is a sure way for us to know that we belong to the truth. Even though our inner thoughts may condemn us with storms of guilt and constant reminders of our failures, we can know in our hearts that in His presence God Himself is greater than any accusation. He knows all things. 21 My loved ones, if our hearts cannot condemn us, then we can stand with confidence before God. 22 Whatever we may ask, we receive it from Him because we follow His commands and take the path that pleases Him. 23 His command is clear: believe in the name of His Son, Jesus the Anointed, and love one another as He commanded. 24 The one who follows His teaching and walks this path lives in an intimate relationship with God. How do we know that He lives in us? By the gift of His Spirit.

Footnotes

  1. 3:12 Genesis 4:8