1 John 4
The Holy Spirit and false spirits
1 My friends, do not believe everyone who says that they speak God's message. There are many false prophets who are travelling around everywhere. They say that they have a message from God's Spirit, but the message comes from a false spirit. So check each message carefully to see if it is really from God.
2 How do you know whether a person has God's Spirit in him? He must agree that Jesus is God's Messiah who was born as a human baby. If someone says that, then he has God's Spirit. 3 But if someone does not agree to say that about Jesus, he does not have God's Spirit. That person has a spirit that comes from the enemy of Christ. You have heard that this enemy of Christ would come among us. Now this spirit is already here in the world.
4 My little children, you belong to God. You have won against those people with a false message. You have been able to do that because God's Holy Spirit is in you. He is more powerful than the spirit that belongs to this world. 5 Those false prophets belong to this world. Their message comes from the ideas of people of this world. So the people of this world believe what they teach. 6 But we belong to God. Everyone who knows God believes our message. But anyone who does not belong to God does not believe it.
So that is how we know if someone's message comes from God's Spirit or not. God's Spirit brings us a true message, but false spirits tell lies.
4:6It is very important to know the difference between true spirits and false spirits. Some people say that Jesus was not really a man. Other people say that he was not really God. People like that do not have God's Spirit. What they teach is false.
Love each other because God loved us
7 My friends, we should all love each other. It is God who makes us able to love other people. Everyone who loves other people has become a child of God. That person knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love other people does not know God. We know this because God's own nature is love. 9 This is how God showed that he loves us: He sent his only Son to come and live in the world. He did that so that we could have true life with God because of his Son. 10 This shows what love is: It is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us. He loved us so much that he sent his Son to save us from sin. He sent Jesus to die as a sacrifice, to take the punishment for our sins.
11 My friends, this shows how much God has loved us. So we should also love one another.
12 Nobody has ever seen God. But, if we love each other, it shows that God lives in us. As a result, we can love people completely, in the same way that God loves us. 13 God has given us his Holy Spirit to live in us. Because of this, we know that we live together with God. And we know that he lives with us. 14 God the Father sent his Son to come into the world. God sent him to save the people of the world from their sins. We apostles have seen that this is true. So now we are telling people about it.
15 If anyone says clearly that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in that person. And that person lives together with God. 16 So we know the kind of love that God has for us. We believe that God has put that love in us. God's nature is love. So, if someone continues to love other people, he is living together with God. And God lives in him. 17 That is how we are able to love other people completely. Then, we will not be afraid on the day when God will judge all people. We can be sure that God will not punish us. We know this because we have lived in this world in the way that Jesus lived.
18 If we really love God, we will not be afraid of him. We cannot love him completely and also be afraid. We would only be afraid of God if we thought that he would punish us. So, if someone is afraid that God will punish them, it shows that they do not completely know God's love.
19 We are able to love God and other people because God loved us first. 20 Someone may say, ‘I love God.’ But if he says that and he hates another Christian, he is telling a lie. He sees other believers but he does not love them. So he surely cannot love God that he has not seen. 21 This is the command that God has given us. He has told us that anyone who loves him should love other Christians too.
4:21God's love is very special. Christians know how much God loves them. He sent Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sin. We are no longer afraid that God will punish us for our sins. That is how much God loves us. Because of that, true Christians love other people. If they hate other people, it shows that they do not really know about God's love.