Scripture for Today – 1 John 4:15-21
“15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 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. 18 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. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 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. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”
After we acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God and accept God’s plan for our lives, we will engage in the life long journey of abiding in Him. As John describes it in this passage, “the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (vs. 15). This means that as we spend more time in the presence of God, he actually begins to dwell in us. This is a concept that is nearly impossible to grasp. The Almighty God of the universe choses not only to be in relationship with us, but to actually dwell in us. The apostle Paul in Colossians 1:27 describes it this truth as a mystery, saying “to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
As John writes about this incredible mystery, he identifies three freedoms that we receive as we journey through life with “Christ in you.” First, we notice in verse 17 that we receive freedom from insecurity. John writes that when we are in Christ “love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence” to face the future. In verse 18, we read that we can have freedom from fear. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” And in verses 19 and 20 we see that when we are in Christ and He is in us we have freedom from the power of hatred in our lives.
While we are entitled to these freedoms, they are not forced upon us. John concludes this section with a reminder that we are commanded to live in these freedoms and are enabled to do so through our love for God and our love for one another. Several times, John refers to this process as being “perfected” in love. This implies a continual process of improvement. It is a beautiful journey into the life God designed for us to live.
My NEXT Step: In which of the three areas do you need to find freedoms; insecurity, fear or hate?
Questions to Catalyze Growth:
- What does it mean to confess that Jesus is the Son of God? Have you done this? If so, when?
- Describe the relationship between love and abiding?
- Do you believe John when he writes, “there is no fear in love?” How is this possible?
- What does it mean to you to be “perfected in love?”