We Are God’s Children
3 The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children. The reason the people in the world do not know us is that they have not known him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and we have not yet been shown what we will be in the future. But we know that when Christ comes again, we will be like him, because we will see him as he really is. 3 Christ is pure, and all who have this hope in Christ keep themselves pure like Christ.
4 The person who sins breaks God’s law. Yes, sin is living against God’s law. 5 You know that Christ came to take away sins and that there is no sin in Christ. 6 So anyone who lives in Christ does not go on sinning. Anyone who goes on sinning has never really understood Christ and has never known him.
7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you the wrong way. Christ is righteous. So to be like Christ a person must do what is right. 8 The devil has been sinning since the beginning, so anyone who continues to sin belongs to the devil. The Son of God came for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s work.
9 Those who are God’s children do not continue sinning, because the new life from God remains in them. They are not able to go on sinning, because they have become children of God. 10 So we can see who God’s children are and who the devil’s children are: Those who do not do what is right are not God’s children, and those who do not love their brothers and sisters are not God’s children.
We Must Love Each Other
11 This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love each other. 12 Do not be like Cain who belonged to the Evil One and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because the things Cain did were evil, and the things his brother did were good.
13 Brothers and sisters, do not be surprised when the people of the world hate you. 14 We know we have left death and have come into life because we love each other. Whoever does not love is still dead. 15 Everyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer,[a] and you know that no murderers have eternal life in them. 16 This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 Suppose someone has enough to live and sees a brother or sister in need, but does not help. Then God’s love is not living in that person. 18 My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring.
19 - 20 This is the way we know that we belong to the way of truth. When our hearts make us feel guilty, we can still have peace before God. God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 My dear friends, if our hearts do not make us feel guilty, we can come without fear into God’s presence. 22 And God gives us what we ask for because we obey God’s commands and do what pleases him. 23 This is what God commands: that we believe in his Son, Jesus Christ, and that we love each other, just as he commanded. 24 The people who obey God’s commands live in God, and God lives in them. We know that God lives in us because of the Spirit God gave us.
- 3:15 Everyone . . . murderer If one person hates a brother or sister, then in the heart that person has killed that brother or sister. Jesus taught about this sin to his followers (Matthew 5:21–26).