Summary: During this series I’ve covered what love has to do with salvation, my relationship with God, my service for God and my relationships with others. In the next few weeks I’ll focus on what love has to do with overcoming fear, unforgiveness and the world.
WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? (part four)
During this series I’ve covered what love has to do with salvation, my relationship with God, my service for God and my relationships with others. In the next few weeks I’m going to focus on what love has to do with overcoming; specifically overcoming fear, unforgiveness and the world.
What’s love got to do with overcoming fear?
1st John 4:13-18, “We know that we live 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. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
The Apostle John is dealing with having the fear that I’m not really born-again. Typically, this fear is derives from repeated sin or a lack of commitment and involvement in serving Christ. I’m sure we’ve all gone through times where we didn’t feel saved but for some that feeling develops into a legitimate fear to where they become convinced that they are no longer saved.
So John wants to help alleviate that fear by putting things in perspective for us. He first mentions that we can know we are saved because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When we can identify the voice of God ministering to us, teaching us, challenging us and rebuking us on a regular basis then we know he lives in us and us in him. When the voice of truth breaks through and you know it’s not your own thoughts or reasoning because it’s something new or because your thoughts were not good but suddenly the right counter-thought came-that’s how we know.
Now, I believe the Holy Spirit can influence someone who’s not a Christian and prompt them to go in the right direction when they’re open to it; but that’s different than the Holy Spirit living in you. It’s a constant presence; you would experience it more than just once in a while and in more ways than just one or two.
Next John states that if we acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God then we are saved. This pertains to more than just an intellectual acknowledgement because there are a lot of people who have that but it isn’t any deeper than that. What John is talking about here is being convinced that Jesus is who he said he is and to the point that it changes your life.
“Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” That’s how we know that a true change has taken place. We live in God when we live in love and obedience.
1st John 3:18-24, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”
When my life is characterized by love and obedience than I can have confidence. When I can identify that a legitimate change has taken place in my life regarding how I am towards God and others then I can qualify being in the faith. So when I feel like I’m condemned because of sin I need to come back to the reality that my belief hasn’t changed I’ve simply fallen short.
It’s so easy to be self-condemning. Not that we shouldn’t take sin seriously but when we allow it to render us cast-off by God we are not responding to it appropriately. John wants us to rely on the love God has for us. God loved us when we didn’t care at all about him.