Thursday, November 17, 2011

1 John 4:17-21

By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in 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, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

Love is perfected in us – made complete and becoming what it should be. If we live in love for others through the power of the Holy Spirit in this life we can have confidence to face Christ on the Day of Judgment. The influence of God’s love on our hearts delivers us from fear of the day of wrath to come. When God’s love permeates our life we have the same character traits Jesus exhibited on the earth – displaying in our lives His holiness, humility, patience, love, and forgiveness. If we have mature love we will have no fear. We will not fear death, for heaven lies beyond the grave; we will not fear man, for what can man do to us in the eternal scheme of things? Fear expects punishment, but love expects to receive love.

We could not love with true love without first His love being shown to us and making a relationship with him even possible. Otherwise we could only exhibit human love – conditional, self-serving, and temporary. And if we love God we must love people, especially those who are His children. All mankind bears the image of God, and if we can hate any man we would do well to search our hearts. It is difficult to prove our love for God based on our actions toward Him, as He is unseen. Therefore we have the commandment that the one who loves God should love his brother also – whatever we do not do for one of the “least of these” we do not do for Him.

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