Greater Than Fear of Punishment
This blog series is a fluid and ever-changing exercise. I started out with a lot of ideas for what this series would look like, and it's changing a little bit, but not too much.
While posting some links yesterday, I was struck by the passage from 1 John 4, and it hit the vein of the theme of our series, so I thought I would share it. However, I think is also becoming the backbone passage of this series. What do I mean by this? Well, let's check it out first.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4: 7-20
I'm sure you noticed several repeated words in this passage: love, fear, know, God, Son, abides, perfected, and us... to name a few.
It's a rich passage talking about love's origin coming from God, His love for us, His love displayed through Christ taking on our sins, and how we ought to love in response to Christ's loving sacrifice.
The part of this passage that always gets me is verse 17-18.
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
The beginning part of the passage from 1 John lays out God's love and how God sending Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins is the ultimate display of God's love. This part of 1 John 4, verses 17-18 focuses on what comes as a result of that love. Jesus' sacrificial love displayed on the cross atones for our sins, but it also gives us confidence on the day of judgment.
We no longer have to fear judgment or punishment because of the loving sacrifice of Christ. All we have to do is know and believe the love that God has for us,that he loved us first by sending His Son, and then abiding in that love.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
I'm still unpacking this passage, and there's always so much more to learn, but this is the essence of this series:
When we understand the love of God and what He has done for us, we are set free from fear and it gives us the freedom to live a loving life, a life lived by faith.
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She Laughs Without Fear