Dear friends, don't trust every spirit, but put the spirits to the test to find out whether they're from God, for there are many false prophets out there in the world. How can you recognize God's Spirit? Every spirit that accepts Jesus Christ came with a human body is from God; while every spirit that doesn't accept Jesus, that spirit isn't from God. In fact it is the spirit of the antichrist which you heard was coming, and which is already in the world.
But you belong to God, my friends, and you have defeated them,* for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They belong to the world, so they speak like people of the world, and the world listens to them. We belong to God and whoever knows God listens to us, while whoever doesn't belong to God doesn't listen to us. This is how we can distinguish the spirit of truth from the spirit of deception.
Dear friends, let's go on loving one another, for love comes from God. All those who love are born of God and know God. Those who don't love don't know God, for God is love. How was God's love shown to us? God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could live through him. 10 This is love! It's not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and he sent his Son to be the reconciliation for our sins.
11 Friends, if this is the way God loves us, we ought to love one another like this too. 12 No one has ever seen God. However, if we love one another then God lives in us, and his love is fulfilled in us. 13 How can we know that we live in him, and that he lives in us? He's given us the ability to love by his Spirit.
14 For we are witnesses to what we have seen and testify that the Father sent the Son as the Savior of the world. 15 God lives in everyone who declares that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God. 16 We have experienced and trusted in the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who live in love, live in God, and God lives in them. 17 This is how love is made complete in us so that we can be confident on judgment day: by the fact that we live just like him in this world. 18 Where there is love there can be no fear. God loves us completely, and this love drives all our fears away. If we do fear, it's because we fear being punished, and this shows that we have not been fully re-made by the completeness of God's love. 19 We love because he loved us first. 20 Anyone who says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, is a liar. Anyone who doesn't love a brother whom they can see, can't love God whom they can't see. 21 This is the command he gave to us: those who love God love their brothers and sisters too.
* 4:4 Referring back to the false prophets and the spirit that inspires them. 4:13 Implied.