I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus.
When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good - not only ours, but the whole world's.
Here's how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments.
If someone claims, "I know him well!" but doesn't keep his commandments, he's obviously a liar. His life doesn't match his words.
But the one who keeps God's word is the person in whom we see God's mature love. This is the only way to be sure we're in God.
Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.
My dear friends, I'm not writing anything new here. This is the oldest commandment in the book, and you've known it from day one. It's always been implicit in the Message you've heard.
On the other hand, perhaps it is new, freshly minted as it is in both Christ and you - the darkness on its way out and the True Light already blazing!
Anyone who claims to live in God's light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark.
It's the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God's light and doesn't block the light from others.
But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn't know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.
I remind you, my dear children: Your sins are forgiven in Jesus' name.
You veterans were in on the ground floor, and know the One who started all this; you newcomers have won a big victory over the Evil One.
You veterans know the One who started it all; and you newcomers - such vitality and strength! God's word is so steady in you. Your fellowship with God enables you to gain a victory over the Evil One.
Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father.
Practically everything that goes on in the world - wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important - has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him.
The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out - but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
Children, time is just about up. You heard that Antichrist is coming. Well, they're all over the place, antichrists everywhere you look. That's how we know that we're close to the end.
They left us, but they were never really with us. If they had been, they would have stuck it out with us, loyal to the end. In leaving, they showed their true colors, showed they never did belong.
But you belong. The Holy One anointed you, and you all know it.
I haven't been writing this to tell you something you don't know, but to confirm the truth you do know, and to remind you that the truth doesn't breed lies.
So who is lying here? It's the person who denies that Jesus is the Divine Christ, that's who. This is what makes an antichrist: denying the Father, denying the Son.
No one who denies the Son has any part with the Father, but affirming the Son is an embrace of the Father as well.
Stay with what you heard from the beginning, the original message. Let it sink into your life. If what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father.
This is exactly what Christ promised: eternal life, real life!
I've written to warn you about those who are trying to deceive you.
But they're no match for what is embedded deeply within you - Christ's anointing, no less! You don't need any of their so-called teaching. Christ's anointing teaches you the truth on everything you need to know about yourself and him, uncontaminated by a single lie. Live deeply in what you were taught.
And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we'll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives.
Once you're convinced that he is right and righteous, you'll recognize that all who practice righteousness are God's true children.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)