1 See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are! But the people who belong to this world don't know God, so they don't understand that we are his children.
2 Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.
3 And all who believe this will keep themselves pure, just as Christ is pure.
4 Those who sin are opposed to the law of God, for all sin opposes the law of God.
5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, for there is no sin in him.
6 So if we continue to live in him, we won't sin either. But those who keep on sinning have never known him or understood who he is.
7 Dear children, don't let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it is because they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.
8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil.
9 Those who have been born into God's family do not sin, because God's life is in them. So they can't keep on sinning, because they have been born of God.
10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the Devil. Anyone who does not obey God's commands and does not love other Christians* does not belong to God.1
11 This is the message we have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was right.
13 So don't be surprised, dear brothers and sisters,* if the world hates you.2
14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life. But a person who has no love is still dead.
15 Anyone who hates another Christian* is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don't have eternal life within them.3
16 We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters.
17 But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help--how can God's love be in that person?
18 Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.
19 It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord,
20 even if our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21 Dear friends, if our conscience is clear, we can come to God with bold confidence.
22 And we will receive whatever we request because we obey him and do the things that please him.
23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.
24 Those who obey God's commandments live in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Holy Spirit lives in us.
Read 1 John 4