Look at the amazing kind of love the Father has for us! This is why we can be called God's childrenfor that's who we are! The reason why the people of this world don't recognize us as God's children is because they don't recognize him. My friends, we are already God's children; however what we shall become hasn't been revealed just yet. But we do know that when he appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is. All those who have this hope in them make sure they are pure, just as he is pure. All those who sin are lawless, because sin is lawlessness. But of course you know that Jesus came to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him. All those who live in him don't go on sinning; all those who keep on sinning haven't seen him and haven't known him.
Dear friends, don't let anyone fool you: those who do what is right are right, in the same way as Jesus is right. Those who sin are of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. That's the reason why the Son of God cameto destroy what the devil has done. All those who are born of God don't keep on sinning, for God's nature* lives in them. They can't keep on sinning because they are born of God. 10 This is how God's children and the devil's children can be distinguished: all those who don't do what's right don't belong to God, nor do those who don't love their fellow Christians.
11 The message you've heard from the beginning is simply this: we should love one another. 12 We cannot be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one, and murdered his brother. Why did he murder him? Because Cain did what was evil, while his brother did what was right. 13 So don't be surprised, my friends, if this world hates you!
14 The reason we know that we have changed from death to life is because we love our Christian brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn't love remains dead. 15 All those who hate their Christian brothers and sisters are murderers, and you know that no murderers have eternal life within them! 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters. 17 If one of you is living well in this world and you see your Christian brother or sister in need, but you don't show compassionhow can God's love be living in you? 18 Dear friends, let's not just say we love with words, but show our love in what we do and how we demonstrate the truth. 19 This is how we will know that we belong to the truth, and how we will set our minds at rest before God 20 whenever we think we're in the wrong. God is greater than how we think, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if we're reassured we're not in the wrong, we can have confidence before God. 22 We'll receive from him whatever we ask him for, because we follow his commands and do what pleases him. 23 This is what he commands: we should trust in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us to do. 24 Those who keep his commands continue to live in him, and he lives in them. We know that he lives in us by the Spirit he has given us.
* 3:9 Literally, “his seed.” 3:19 Literally, “hearts.” It was believed that the heart was where you did your thinking. 3:23 Name in the sense of character and reputation rather than just a given name.