1 Look at how much love the Father has shown to us [Christians], that we should be called His children! But, that is what we [really] are! The reason the people of the world do not know who we are is because they do not know who God [really] is. 2 Dearly loved ones, we are God's children now, but it has not yet been revealed [to us] what we will be [in the future life, Luke 20:34-36]. But, we do know this, however, that when Jesus is revealed [i.e., at His second coming], we will be like Him [I Cor. 15:49], for we will see what He really looks like! 3 And every person who has set his hope on this [i.e., of being like Jesus], will live [as] purely [as possible], just as He [i.e., Jesus Himself] is pure.
4 Every person who practices a life of sin is also breaking [God's] law, for sin is law-breaking. 5 But, you [should] know that Christ appeared [on earth] to take away [our] sins, and that there is no sin in His life [See II Cor. 5:21]. 6 No person who lives in [fellowship with] Christ will continue living a sinful life; the one who keeps on sinning [however], has not seen Him or known Him [as his personal Savior].
7 Little children [i.e., dear ones], do not allow anyone to lead you astray [from the truth]; the person who continues to do what is right is [considered by God as] righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 [But] the person who continues to live a sinful life belongs to the devil, because the devil has continued to sin since the beginning [See Gen. 3]. For this is the reason that the Son of God came [into the world]; it was to destroy the works [i.e., the influence of] the devil [in people's lives]. 9 No one who has been [spiritually] conceived [and eventually born] by God continues to live a sinful life, because God's seed [i.e., His word, See Luke 8:11] continues to live in his heart, so he cannot [continue a life of] sin, because he has been conceived by God. 10 Here is how the children of God and the children of the devil can be recognized: All those who do not continue to do what is right do not belong to God. Also, the person who does not continue to love his brother [or sister does not belong to God]. 11 [Now] this is the message that you people heard from the beginning [of Christ's ministry], that we should love one another [See Mark 12:31], 12 not [hate each other] the way Cain did, who belonged to the evil one [i.e., Satan], when he murdered his brother [Abel]. And why did he murder him? It was because his [own] actions were evil and his brother's were righteous [See Heb. 11:4]. 13 So, do not be surprised, brothers, if the people of the world hate you. 14 [For] we [can] know that we have passed out of [the realm of spiritual] death and into [spiritual] life, because we [show] love for the brothers [and sisters]. The person who does not love [them] continues to be [spiritually] dead. 15 Every person who hates his brother is a murderer [in God's sight]; and you [surely] know that no murderer has [the hope of] never ending life remaining in his heart.
16 Here is how we can know what genuine love really is: It was [demonstrated by] Jesus laying down His life [on the cross] for us. And [because of that] we [too] should [be willing to] lay down our lives for [the sake of helping] our brothers [and sisters]. 17 Now whoever has [a sufficient amount of] life's possessions and [then] observes one of his [Christian] brothers who does not have enough to get by on, but does not feel sorry for him [i.e., enough to help him out], surely a love for God does not continue to live in that person's heart.
18 Little children [i.e., dear ones], we should not [merely] claim to love [people], or [even just] talk about it, but [we should love] by what we do [for them] in a genuine way. 19 And this is how we will know that we are following [God's] truth, and will have assurance [of it] in our hearts and before God [as well]. 20 But, if our hearts condemn us [for not demonstrating God's love for others], surely God, who is greater than our hearts [will also condemn us], because He knows all things.
21 Loved ones, if our hearts do not condemn us [i.e., because we are showing love by helping the needy], we can have boldness before God [in prayer for our own needs]; 22 and we can be assured of receiving from God whatever we ask Him for, because we are obeying His commands [i.e., especially the one about loving others] and are practicing what is pleasing to Him. 23 And this is His commandment: We should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ [i.e., the person of Christ], and love one another, just He has commanded us to do. 24 And God lives in the heart of the person who [continually] obeys His commands, and he lives in [fellowship with] God. And here is [another] way we know that God lives in our hearts: It is by [means of] the Holy Spirit, whom God gave to us. [See Rom. 8:9, 11; James 4:5; I Cor. 6:19].