Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not confess Jesus[a] is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming; even now it is already in the world.
4 You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world. Therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.
Knowing God through Love
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us[b] in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice[c] for our sins. 11 Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in[d] us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world’s Savior. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. 17 In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment.[e] So the one who fears is not complete in love. 19 We love[f] because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.[g] 21 And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father[h] also loves the one born of him. 2 This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey[i] his commands. 3 For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, 4 because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.
The Certainty of God’s Testimony
5 Who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 Jesus Christ—he is the one who came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify:[j] 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are in agreement. 9 If we accept human testimony, God’s testimony is greater, because it is God’s testimony that he has given about his Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself. The one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
14 This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him.
16 If anyone sees a fellow believer[k] committing a sin that doesn’t lead to death, he should ask, and God will give life to him—to those who commit sin that doesn’t lead to death. There is sin[l] that leads to death. I am not saying he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that doesn’t lead to death.
18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the one who is born of God keeps him,[m] and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true one.[n] We are in the true one—that is, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.