1 John 3

We are God's children

1 Think about how much God the Father loves us. He calls us his children. He loves us that much! And we really have become children of God. The people who belong to this world do not understand who God is. Because of that, they do not understand who we are. 2 My friends, we are already children of God. We do not yet know clearly what we will become. But we do know this: When Christ returns to this world, we will become like him. We will be like him because we will see him as he really is. 3 Christ is completely good. So all of us who hope to see him then must keep ourselves clean from sin.

4 If a person continues to do wrong things, he is choosing not to obey God's rules. Sin is when we do not obey God's rules. 5 You know that Jesus came into the world so that he might take away our sins. He himself is completely clean from sin. 6 A person who is united with Christ does not continue to do wrong things. If anyone does continue to do wrong things, that person does not really know Christ at all. He does not understand who Christ is.

7 My little children, do not let anyone tell you lies about sin. It is people who live in a good way that God accepts as right. That is like Jesus who did only what is good and right. 8 But people who continue to do wrong things show that they belong to the Devil. The Devil has been doing wrong things from the beginning. This is why the Son of God came to the world. He came to destroy everything that the Devil has done.

9 Everybody who is a child of God does not continue to do wrong things. This is because God has given them a new life. He has caused them to become his children. So, they cannot continue to do wrong things. 10 So we can see clearly who are God's children and who are the Devil's children. Anyone who does not live in a way that is good and right does not belong to God. People like that do not love other believers.

Christians must love one another

11 Yes, we must love one another. That is the message which you have heard from the beginning. 12 We should not be like Cain. He belonged to Satan and he even killed his brother, Abel. Why did he do that? Cain did bad things and he killed Abel because Abel did things that were right.

13 So, my Christian friends, do not be surprised when people who belong to this world hate you.

14 We know that we now have new life with God. We have left the way of death. We know that because we love our Christian friends. But anyone who does not love other believers is still on the way of death. 15 Anyone who hates other believers is like someone who murders other people. You know that a person like that does not have true life with God.

16 This is how we know what true love is: Jesus Christ gave his own life on the cross. He died on our behalf. So we too ought to give our lives for other believers. 17 When another believer has trouble, we need to be kind to him. Maybe you have all the things that you need to live. Then, if you see another believer who needs things like that, you should help him. If you refuse to be kind to him, it shows that you do not belong to God. You do not love people in the way that God loves them.

18 My little children, we should not show love for each other only by what we say. We should also show true love by what we do to help each other. 19 Then we will know that we really belong to God. We will be obeying God's true message. As a result, our thoughts will not make us ashamed to come to God. 20 Even if our thoughts tell us that we have done something wrong, we still will not be afraid of God. God is greater than our thoughts. He already knows everything about us.

3:18Christians should love their Christian brothers and sisters. We should even be ready to die for them. Our love will show other people that God really lives in us. We have his Spirit, who helps us to do what God wants us to do. He helps us to love other people with God's own special love.

21 My friends, if our thoughts do not tell us that we are guilty, then we will not be afraid to come to God. 22 We can pray to God and we can ask him to help us. He will give us what we ask him for. That is because we do what he tells us to do, and we do the things that please him. 23 This is what God tells us to do: We must believe that Jesus Christ is his Son. And we must love each other, as Jesus told us that we should do. 24 Anyone who obeys God's rules is united with God. God is also united with him. How do we know that God is united with us? It is because of his Holy Spirit that he has given to us.