Dear children, live in him – so that when he appears you can stand confidently and without any shame before him when he comes.
If you know that he’s honourable, you’ll also know that anyone who does what’s honourable has been born of him. So now you can see what great love the Father has shown us – that we can be called his children. And that’s because we are! The reason why people don’t recognize us is because they didn’t recognize him.
Dear friends, we are now children of God, and what we shall be hasn’t yet been revealed. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, because he is pure.
Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law. In fact, sin is lawlessness. But you already know that he appeared to take away our sins. And in him there’s no sin. No one who lives in him will carry on sinning. And no one who carries on sinning has either seen him or known him.
Dear children, don’t let anyone lead you astray. The person who behaves honourably is honourable, just as Christ is honourable. The person who keeps on sinning, however, belongs to the devil, because the devil has always sinned from the beginning. Now the reason why the Son of God came was so he could destroy everything the devil had ever done. So, no one who’s been born of God carries on sinning, because God’s nature is in them. They can’t carry on sinning, because they’ve been born of God. This is how we can tell who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil. Anyone who doesn’t behave honourably is not a child or God, nor is anyone who doesn’t love his brother.
For this is the message you’ve heard from the beginning: love one another. Don’t be like Cain, who belonged to the devil and murdered his brother. And why did he d it? Because his own behaviour was evil, and his brother’s was good. That’s why, dear brothers, you shouldn’t be surprised if people hate you.
This is how we know that we’ve passed from death to life – because we love each other. If anyone fails to love his brother, he’s as good as dead. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer – and you know that no murderer has been touched by eternal life.
This is how we can recognize real love: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. So we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If someone has material possessions and sees a brother in need, but does nothing about it, how can the love of God be present in that person?
Dear children, let’s not love merely in word and speech, but also in action and truth. It’s because of this that we know we belong to the truth and that we can settle our hearts in his presence. If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts – he knows and understands everything about us!
Dear friends, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey him and do whatever pleases him. And this is his instruction – to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another, just as he told us. Those who obey God’s instructions live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: we know it by the Holy Spirit whom he gave us.