Perfect Love

Scripture: 1 John 4:18, ‘There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.’

 

Observations: When John says ‘there is no fear in love,’ what does he mean? This is one case where the context really helps. In the previous verse John writes, ‘[God’s] love is made complete in us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement. (v17)’ John is talking about the fear of punishment, the fear that on the Day of Judgment we will be found wanting. But when we understand God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, when God’s love lives in us, it drives out any fear we may have that in Christ God fully accepts us. The ‘perfect love’ that John is describing is not our great love for God, but his great love for us in Christ. If we are afraid for our salvation, if we lack assurance of eternal life, it is because we have not understood God’s perfect love displayed on the cross. The point John is making is that if we believe that Jesus took our punishment on the cross then we have nothing to fear. If we put our faith in Jesus then we are assured of God’s love, now and for all eternity. Again, God’s love isn’t like ours, fickle, circumstantial, limited, rather it is perfect, it doesn’t change depending on God’s emotional state, or circumstances, or even our sin. God is love and we can rely on, or trust in, God’s love (v16).

 

Application: Do you ever wonder if God could love you? Be assured that God’s love is not based on your goodness, or your obedience, or your love for him, rather it is based on his love for us in Jesus Christ. If we cling to Christ, God’s perfect love covers us. Because of Jesus we never have to wonder about whether God loves us, we don’t have to fear the punishment for our sin, we don’t have to wonder if we have received eternal life. Is your trust in God’s perfect love?

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, because of Jesus I never have to doubt that You are my Father, I never have to doubt that I am Your child. Because Jesus took the punishment for my sins I never need to wonder if You will accept me. Lord, help me trust in Your perfect love. Help me to live as Your child in this world. Give me confidence not just in the future, but in every moment, knowing that nothing can separate me from the love that You have for me in Christ Jesus. In His name I pray. Amen.

 

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