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Most Christians are aware that the Bible states that perfect love casts out fear, yet many Christians still walk in fear daily. What fear is the Bible talking about?
Let’s look at 1 John 4:7-21 ESV. These verses describe your Heavenly Father’s true nature and heart for you. The truth they hold debunks any thought that God still wants to punish you. Scripture is in italics with my comments below the verses.
God Is Love
7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In 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.10In 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. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 7-12
Perfect love is described in verses 9-10. Perfect love is how God loves us demonstrated by His actions in sending His only begotten Son. Adam brought death into the world, death is an enemy of God. Our Father wants us to have life, to live through Jesus and not die in Adam. To accomplish this, he sent Jesus to be the propitiation (full payment) for our sins. It says God SO loved us. Meditate on the truth of how much your Heavenly Father loves you.
Perfect love played out on the cross and if we understand what happened, love will be perfected with us.
13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16So 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.17By 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. 18There 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.
Verse 14 tells us that we testify that Jesus was sent by the Father to be the savior of the world, not as a judge to condemn. Verse 16 is key; it says we have come to know and believe the love God has for us. We do not just know of it or possess head knowledge of it, we believe it in our hearts. Verse 17 goes on to tell us that when we know and believe our Fathers love for us, we will have confidence instead of fear for the day of judgment. This confidence is a fruit of right believing. If we still fear death and possible punishment from God, we do not yet believe the love our Father has for us.
19We love because he first loved us. 20If 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. 21And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:7-21 ESV
Jesus Love Cast Out the Fear of Death and Punishment by God
We feared death because we know we have sinned and therefore feared God’s punishment. Jesus made us right with God by paying for our sins and placing us under grace. He defeated death and took away the fear of punishment.
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. Hebrews 2:14-15 ESV
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 5:1 ESV
For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. Heb 10:14 NASB
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Tim 1:7 ESV
He SO Loved Us!
He first loved us by sending Jesus to save us while we were still sinners. Jesus fulfilled the law for us by loving us as He did. Love is the spirit of the letter of the law. Love is the only thing that fulfills the law and is much higher than the letter.
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Rom 13:8-10 ESV
The whole of God’s law can only be fulfilled through love. - For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal 5:14 ESV
We are Called to Walk Like Jesus, by the Spirit and Not the Letter. We are to Love Others as He Loved Us.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit (love). For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:6 ESV
Whom Do You Love More, Your Life in This World or Your Heavenly Father?
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15 ESV
If we love our life and this world more, the Bible teaches that it is not because we do not have love for our Father. It is because the love of the Father is not in us. In other words, we do not know how much our Father loves us. If we did, we would not be focused on, and love the world or the things in it. Our treasure would be in heaven, and our hearts and thoughts would be with our Father, and we would be anxious to go home.
Conclusion: The fear of death and punishment by God is the mother of all fears. From it, all other fears are born. Once you know and believe the love our Father has for you, love is perfected and you no longer fear death and punishment by God. Every other fear pales in comparison. Once you realize God is really on your side, you will be able to overcome all things in Christ. If you still fear punishment, you are still living under the letter of the law in your thoughts. The law can only bring thoughts of punishment and condemnation. Renew your mind by learning what it means, Christians are under grace and not the law. Sin is not counted under grace; God has fully forgiven you in Christ, and He is not counting your sins. He just wants you home like the story of the prodigal son Jesus told in Luke 15:11-32. No judgment, no punishment, and no condemnation. Just love that is perfected in you when you are rooted and grounded in the love of the Father, your Father’s great love for you.
How great is our Fathers love for us? If you can figure out how much our Father loves Jesus, you will know how much He loves you. Your Father loves you as much as He loves Jesus according to Jesus.
I in them and You in Me--that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them just as You have loved Me. John 17:23 BSB
Christians are under the New Covenant of grace and truth that Jesus shed His blood to establish. The New Covenant is filled with your Father’s great love for you. I strongly recommend you study it. Below are some more New Covenant studies.
Many more New Covenant studies HERE.
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