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1John  ◦   Chapter 3

1How amazing and awesome is the love the Father has poured out on us, that we have been transformed to be children of God! And that is exactly what we are–his offspring, born of his love! The reason the world does not know who we are is that it does not know him.2Dear friends, we are already children of God, but our full restoration (and what we will become) has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ comes again, we shall be just like him in character, for we will be able to see him, face to face, just as he is.3All those who long for this reunion with God choose to become conduits of God's love and thus purify themselves–just as God is pure.

4Everyone who sins breaks the law of love–the law upon which life was created to operate. In fact, sin is selfishness, which means acting without love–choosing to deviate from the law upon which life is based.5But you know that Christ came to heal our hearts and minds and remove the infection of selfishness in order to restore love into our hearts. And in him, there is no selfishness or defilement–no sin.6No one who lives in unity with Christ keeps on living for self; no one who continues in selfishness has either seen or known him.

7Dear children, do not let anyone deceive you. Those who are righteous 'do what is right because it is right'–just as Christ is righteous and always does what is right.8He who does what is selfish is practicing the devil's methods and principles, as the devil is the originator of selfishness. The reason the Son of God came to earth was to destroy the devil's work of selfishness and bring the universe back into unity with God and his law of love!9No one whose mind and heart have been recreated in Godlike love will continue to live selfishly, for God’s character is reproduced in them; they cannot go on living self-centeredly, because they have been renewed in God’s very likeness.10This is how we can know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not love others more than self is not a child of God, nor is anyone who does not 'do what is right because it is right.'

11The message you have heard from the beginning is this: We must be healed in hearts and minds so that we love one another.12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the selfish, me-first family of the evil one, and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were self-centered and his brother's were selfless, loving, and godly.13So do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if this selfish world hates you.14We know that our condition is no longer terminal and that we have been restored to health and life because we have had the infection of selfishness purged from our hearts and God's love restored within. Anyone who does not love others more than self remains infected with selfishness, and their condition remains terminal.15Anyone who hates another is a murderer, as murder happens in the mind and heart before it is carried out in action. You know that murder is the end result of the survival-of-the-fittest principle, and no one who remains infected with this self-first principle has God's eternal life recreated within them.

16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ voluntarily laid his life down for us. And we, who have been restored to Godlike love, will also give all we have, including laying down our lives for our brothers and sisters.17If one has food, clothes, or other material possessions, and rather than give what they have to help their brother or sister in need retain their possessions for themselves, how can the selfless love of God be in them?18Dear children, let us not simply talk about love, but let us live our lives in love, actually putting into action God's methods of truth and love.19Such a transformed life is evidence that God's character of love is truly rewritten within us, and with this knowledge we can have peace in his presence,20even when we feel inadequate and sinful. The truth is more reliable than our feelings, and God's ability to heal and restore is greater than our sickness, so be courageous, for there is nothing God doesn't already know.

21Therefore, my friends, if our hearts and minds have been healed and no longer condemn us, we are no longer afraid of God22and will receive from him whatever we ask, because we follow his prescription and do the things that please him.23And this is his prescription: To value, cherish, and trust in his Son, Jesus Christ, and to be like him–loving one another–just as he has prescribed.24Those who apply his prescription live in oneness with him and his character of love, and he–in unity with them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: His Spirit dwells in us and heals us to be like him.