1 John 4: 13-21 – The World of the Text, Part Two

This week we are going to be looking deeper at 1 John 4: 13-21:

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

Today we are going to look at the second part of this passage, starting with verse 17.  Today we see what love does to the human, it perfects.  Love has been perfected in us, it restores us and it makes us holy.  We see the evidence of holiness and restoration in this, perfect love cast out fear.

This understanding of love, holiness, and fear goes back to the very beginning of creation. Remember Adam and Eve, after they ate from the fruit they were not supposed to eat from, what did they do? They hid from God. Why? they were afraid.  That sin created shame and created fear. That fear made them hid from God.  That is what sin does, it creates fear and hate within us, and we are afraid of God.  Notice the word for fear here is not the same one that is used for “fear of the Lord” but this is the fear that comes out of punishment, not out of reverence.

But perfect love casts out that fear because perfect love “perfects” us, it restores us, it brings us back into right relationship with God, and through that, right relationship with each other.

That is the linage in these passages between abiding in God, perfect love, and loving our brothers and sisters. God is perfect, God is love. God’s love perfects us and brings us back into right relationship with God. That reight relationship restores us into God’s image.  And who is God?  Love. So, if we are restored into His image, we love, as He has loved us because He is love.

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