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We Are God’s Children

The Father has loved us so much! He loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children. But the people in the world do not understand that we are God’s children, because they have not known him. Dear friends, now we are children of God. 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. We will see him as he really is. Christ is pure. And every person who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure like Christ.

When a person sins, he breaks God’s law. Yes, sinning is the same as living against God’s law. You know that Christ came to take away sins. There is no sin in Christ. So the person who lives in Christ does not go on sinning. If he goes on sinning, he has never really understood Christ and has never known him.

Dear children, do not let any person lead you the wrong way. Christ is righteous. To be like Christ, a person must do what is right. The devil has been sinning since the beginning. Anyone who continues to sin belongs to the devil. The Son of God came for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s work.

When God makes someone his child, that person does not go on sinning. The new life God gave that person stays in him. So he is not able to go on sinning, because he has become a child 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 children of God. And anyone who does not love his brother is not a child of God.

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. Cain killed his brother. He killed his brother because the things Cain did were evil, and the things his brother did were good.

13 Brothers, do not be surprised when the people of this world hate you. 14 We know that we have left death and have come into life. We know this because we love our brothers in Christ. Whoever does not love is still in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer.[a] And you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. 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. 17 Suppose a believer is rich enough to have all that he needs. He sees his brother in Christ who is poor and does not have what he needs. What if the believer does not help the poor brother? Then the believer does not have God’s love in his heart. 18 My children, our love should not be only words and talk. Our love must be true love. And we should show that love by what we do.

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 we do not feel that we are doing wrong, we can be without fear when we come to God. 22 And God gives us the things we ask for. We receive these things because we obey God’s commands, and we 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 person who obeys God’s commands lives in God. And God lives in him. How do we know that God lives in us? We know because of the Spirit whom God gave us.

Footnotes

  1. 3:15 Everyone . . . murderer. If a person hates his brother in Christ, then in his mind he has killed his brother. Jesus taught about this sin to his followers (Matthew 5:21–26).

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