1 John 4:16-17 ESV
“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.”
This first sentence here packs a punch. So, I want to break it down for us so that we understand what it is teaching. So, if we have come to KNOW the love of God, it is through personal experience that we know his love. For the word “know” has to do with us knowing, not just in our minds, but knowing intimately, via a personal and intimate relationship with the God of love, like a wife knows her husband. So, we know in truth, not by others’ words.
And if we come to BELIEVE the love God has for us, then that word “believe” has to do with us being persuaded of God. For we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws us to Christ, i.e. unless he persuades us to put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. So, faith comes from God, it is gifted to us by God, and it is perfected by Jesus Christ. And faith, according to Scripture, equals obedience and is shown by our deeds.
[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3 & 4; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Rom 6:16; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25]
So, if we have come to KNOW and to BELIEVE the LOVE God has for us, then we have intimate knowledge of what all that love entails and how it applies to our lives, and we believe (are persuaded of) the love God has for us, meaning that we are submitting to that love. We are doing what his love for us requires of us. For Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23).
For this word “love” is not based in feelings or emotions, for it is not human love, but is of God. And it means to prefer what God prefers. And he prefers what is holy, righteous, godly, morally pure, honest, faithful, and obedient to him and to his word. So by faith we choose his choices. And he chooses for us to die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And we prefer to live through Christ, to have Christ live his life through us, and for us to actively be doing his will by his power and in his strength and wisdom.
So, if we have come to KNOW and to BELIEVE the LOVE God has for us, then we are preferring what God prefers, we are choosing his choices, and we are obeying them in his power, strength, and wisdom. We are walking (in conduct, in practice) in moral purity, in uprightness, in honesty, in faithfulness, and in obedience to our Lord and to his commands. And we are abiding (staying, remaining, living) in that love via our obedience. And so we are in genuine relationship with God, with Jesus, and he with us.
God’s love being perfected in us then has to do with our walks of faith, our walks of obedience to his commands. It is a process of salvation which will not be completed until Jesus returns and he takes us to be with him for eternity, provided that we remain in that love by continuing to follow him in obedience, and by continuing to die with him to sin daily. Now, none of this is of our flesh, but it is produced in us via our submission to God’s love.
And this is so we may have boldness or confidence for the day of judgment. Why? Because we are living in that love, we are remaining in the love God has for us which sent Jesus to the cross to die for us so that our old self would be crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to righteousness, and so we would no longer obey sin, but obey Jesus (Rom 6:1-23).
Therefore, we are not condemned with the world, because we are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and sin is no longer our master, but Jesus is our Master, and because we are walking in obedience to his commands, and we are preferring what God prefers, and we are no longer living in deliberate and habitual sin, for Jesus set us free. And we are continuing in that faith steadfast until the very end.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
1 John 4:18 ESV
“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.”
So, if we are walking in the love God has for us, and we are doing what he commands us to do, and we are not walking in deliberate and habitual sin, then we have no reason to fear anything, really. Now we should have a wise respect for danger so that we don’t walk into it on purpose, and we should fear God in that same sense of showing him respect, honor, and obedience, but we should not be afraid of what the future holds for us nor of hell nor of punishment, for we can know with certainty that we have eternal life.
Now, this doesn’t mean that we won’t face fearful situations, or that in our emotions that we won’t feel fear, at times, but we must always give those feelings of fear over to the Lord and then trust him with our lives and then rest in him. And it doesn’t mean that we won’t be attacked and have our lives threatened or that we won’t be in real danger of being killed for our faith in Jesus Christ, but that we must not let fear overtake us, but we must remain strong in the Lord and in his mighty strength, putting on his armor.
For, our God is fully sovereign over all that he has made. He is absolutely in control over all things, and all people, and over all things that happen to us. For God does not promise us that if we follow him with our lives that we will never suffer. He says that the Christian life is a life of suffering for his sake, and that we will be hated and persecuted and put to death for our walks of faith and for the sake of the gospel. So, we must remain faithful and continue in his love even if it means that we will be killed for our faith.
Do You Love Me?
An Original Work / July 24, 2013
Do you love Me now?
Will you seek My face?
I have given you
My love and My grace.
Will you walk with Me
Ev’rywhere I lead?
Will you find in Me
All of what you need?
Won’t you meet with Me
Down upon your knees?
Will you obey Me,
And do what I please?
Will you hear My voice
Speaking now to you?
I am couns’ling you
To abide in truth.
I have died for you;
Taken all your sins –
Crucified with Me,
You have been forgiv’n.
I have set you free
From your slavery,
So that you can now
Live in victory.