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. Chapter 4.

The Spirit of God and the Spirit of Antichrist

1 BUT DO NOT TRUST any and every spirit, my friends; test the spirits, to see whether they are from God, for among those who have gone out into the world there are many prophets falsely inspired. 2 This is how we may recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit which does not thus acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is what is meant by 'Antichrist'; [Or: This is the spirit of Antichrist.] you have been told that he was to come, and here he is, in the world already!

4 But you, my children, are of God's family, and you have the mastery over these false prophets, because he who inspires you is greater than he who inspires the godless world. 5 They are of that world, and so therefore is their teaching; that is why the world listens to them. 6 But we belong to God, and a man who knows God listens to us, while he who does not belong to God refuses us a hearing. That is how we distinguish the spirit of truth from the spirit of error.

God is Love

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God. Everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God, 8 but the unloving know nothing of God. For God is love; 9 and his love was disclosed to us in this, that he sent his only Son into the world to bring us life. 10 The love I speak of is not our love for God, but the love he showed to us in sending his Son as the remedy for the defilement of our sins. 11 If God thus loved us, dear friends, we in turn are bound to love one another. 12 Though God has never been seen by any man. God himself dwells in us if we love one another; his love is brought to perfection within us.

13 Here is the proof that we dwell in him and he dwells in us: he has imparted his Spirit to us. 14 Moreover, we have seen for ourselves, and we attest, that the Father sent the Son to be the saviour of the world, 15 and if a man acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him and he dwells in God. 16 Thus we have come to know and believe the love which God has for us.

God is love; he who dwells in love is dwelling in God, and God in him. 17 This is for us the perfection of love, to have confidence on the day of judgement, and this we can have, because even in this world we are as he is. 18 There is no room for fear in love; perfect love banishes fear. For fear brings with it the pains of judgement, and anyone who is afraid has not attained to love in its perfection. 19 We love because he loved us first. 20 But if a man says, 'I love God', while hating his brother, he is a liar. If he does not love the brother whom he has seen, it cannot be that he loves God whom he has not seen. 21 And indeed this command comes to us from Christ himself: that he who loves God must also love his brother.

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