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Spirits of truth and error

1MY dear friends, do not trust every spirit, but test the spirits, to see whether they are from God; for there are many false prophets about in the world.

2The way to recognize the Spirit of God is this: every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,

3and no spirit is from God which does not acknowledge Jesus. This is the spirit of antichrist; you have been warned that it was to come, and now here it is, in the world already!

4Children, you belong to God's family, and you have the mastery over these false prophets, because God who inspires you is greater than the one who inspires the world.

5They belong to that world, and so does their teaching; that is why the world listens to them.

6But we belong to God and whoever knows God listens to us, while whoever does not belong to God refuses to listen to us. That is how we can distinguish the spirit of truth from the spirit of error.

Love one another

7MY dear friends, let us love one another, because the source of love is God. Everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God,

8but the unloving know nothing of God, for God is love.

9This is how he showed his love among us: he sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him.

10This is what love really is: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to atone for our sins.

11If God thus loved us, my dear friends, we also must love one another.

12God has never been seen by anyone, but if we love one another, he himself dwells in us; his love is brought to perfection within us.

13This is how we know that we dwell in him and he dwells in us: he has imparted his Spirit to us.

14Moreover, we have seen for ourselves, and we are witnesses, that the Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is God's Son, God dwells in him and he in God.

16Thus we have come to know and believe in the love which God has for us. God is love; he who dwells in love is dwelling in God, and God in him.

17This is how love has reached its perfection among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgement; and this we can have, because in this world we are as he is.

18In love there is no room for fear; indeed perfect love banishes fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and anyone who is afraid has not attained to love in its perfection.

19We love because he loved us first.

20But if someone says, “I love God,” while at the same time hating his fellow-Christian, he is a liar. If he does not love a fellow-Christian whom he has seen, he is incapable of loving God whom he has not seen.

21We have this command from Christ: whoever loves God must love his fellow-Christian too.

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