“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.” – 1 John 4:17-18
Perfect love. Our world is consumed with the idea of a perfect love. From the time we enter this world, we look for the one who will love us with this perfect love, for the one who will complete us. Books, movies, Broadway shoes – they depict the journey of the search then the joy and sorrow of human love.
As time goes on, every human being discovers that there is no perfect love to be found in this world. Divorces abound for this very reason. Human beings fail us, even the best of human love is found lacking. Blaise Paschal explained this human dilemma many years ago when he described the human heart as a God-shaped vacuum. There is only one love that can truly fill and complete us, and that is the love of God.
The Apostle John experienced the perfect love of his Savior. He wrote this letter so that others would look to the only one who can truly satisfy the human heart and fill that void. Only God’s love is perfect, filling that God-shaped vacuuming and providing for every need we encounter in this world.
God’s love casts out fear. We do not need to fear punishment because our sins have been completely forgiven through the cross of Christ. We do not need to fear death because this world is not truly our home. It is in death that we find our real home with the Lord. God’s perfect love can cast out fear in this life and the life to come if we choose to it the foundation of our lives.
John exhorts us to consider how fear has a hold on us: “whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (verse 18). Fear can lead to the diagnosis of strongholds in our lives – love of money, the idolatry of relationships, unhealthy attachments to status, people, or things of this world. As we experience fear in this world, it is an invitation to turn once again to that perfect love of the Lord. Throughout this letter, John writes that we are called to see our sinful tendencies and practices and then turn to the Lord for forgiveness, healing, and freedom. Then, as the child of God, we are invited to abide in his perfect love, to let it wash over us and to satisfy our every need and desire.
Perfect love is found in God alone. As his children, can we stop searching and start abiding?
Reflect & Respond:
Consider how you seek perfect love in this world. How is the Lord inviting you to rest in his perfect love today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our new six-week Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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