My dear friends, don’t believe every spirit that you hear. Test the spirits to see whether they’ve come from God, because many false teachers are out in the world.
This is how to recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is from God. But every spirit which refuses to acknowledge Jesus isn’t from God, for that’s the spirit of antichrist, which you heard was coming into the world and is actually here already.
You, dear children, are from God and you have the victory over these spirits, because the one who is in you is more powerful than the one that’s in the world. Those spirits are from this world, therefore they speak from this world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. We’re from God, and whoever knows God listen to us. Whoever’s not from God doesn’t listen to us. This is how we distinguish between the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
My dear friends, let’s love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever doesn’t love doesn’t know God, because God is love. And this is how God revealed his love to us – he sent his only begotten Son into the world, so that we might live through him. Yes, this is love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Dear friends, if God loved us so much, we ought also to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is fulfilled in us.
And this is how know that we’re living in him – he’s given us his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them, and they live in God. That’s how we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them. This is how love is perfected among us, so we’ll have confidence on the day of judgment – because as he is, so are we in this world. There’s no aspect of fear in this love, because perfect love drives out all fear. For fear is due to the threat of punishment. So anyone who fears is not yet perfected in love.
We love because he loved us first. Anyone who clams to love God, but hates his brother, is a liar. If he doesn’t love the brother that he’s seen, how can he love God, whom he’s never seen? That’s why he’s given this instruction: whoever loves God must also love his brother.