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God Is Love
1 John 4:18 Are you perfected in love?
Salvation Mountain, Niland, California. salvationmountain.org
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
1 John 4:18 NASB1995
The current sermon series at our church is titled “First Love”, which refers to the first commandment of Jesus (Matthew 22:37) “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” When today’s verse choice appeared, these words of Jesus spoke to me immediately.
In this fourth chapter of the first epistle of John the Evangelist, the section is titled “God Is Love”, citing John 3:16 as the perfect example of God’s love: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
What was John trying to tell his readers when he stated that “there is no fear in love”? The answer is simple, yet so awe-inspiring. God’s love is so complete that believers do not need to dread His judgment at the present time or on the day of judgment. All the judgment we deserved, either now, in the past, or in the future, was placed onto Jesus on the cross.
But aren’t there plenty of places in the Old and New Testaments that tell us to fear God? That Biblical phrase means to show reverence for God, not to experience a deep, tormenting fear that takes away all of our exultation and assurance before God. John is telling us that we should revere God, but not be filled with the gnawing fear of judgment and eternal punishment.
Anyone who does have that fear is “not perfected in love”, essentially meaning that they have not yet been made perfect (complete and mature) in God’s love.
How much fear do you have of the day of judgement? If you have that nagging feeling that your life is being lived in a way that is not pleasing to God, there’s still time to turn that life around.
On the other hand, if you feel confident that God is going to welcome you with open arms on that day, you have been perfected in love. You know that Jesus died for your sin, and that God’s love for you is SO deep and forgiving that there’s no need to fear Him.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Today’s prayer for 1 John 4:18 comes from Knowing Jesus:
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would let these sweet words of truth settle in my heart. There are times in my life when I am very fearful. I know that when I am fearing things in life, I am not exhibiting trust in You. I pray that You would surround me in Your perfect love, where fear has no place to stay and has to be cast out. As I rest in Your love, I pray that I would experience the peace the passes understanding, whatever situation of life I am in. And as I come to a deeper realisation of the depth of Your superlative love for me, may I be used by You to love as I am loved. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.