Love's Full Expression
26 December 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: 1 John 4:17-21 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
17 By living in God, love has been brought to its full expression in us so that we may fearlessly face the day of judgment, because all that Jesus now is, so are we in this world. 18 Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection. 19 Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us. 20 Anyone can say, “I love God,” yet have hatred toward another believer. This makes him a phony, because if you don’t love a brother or sister, whom you can see, how can you truly love God, whom you can’t see? 21 For he has given us this command: whoever loves God must also demonstrate love to others. (1 John 4:17-21 TPT)
The full expression of God is the full expression of love! The more clearly we see love, the more clearly we see God. The more clearly and fully we express love, the more clearly and fully we express God. The attitude that we must express God’s judgment and God’s wrath has resulted in an incomplete and unclear expression of God to our world. In John’s voice as he captured Jesus’ words to Nicodemus: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17 NLT) So this: Are we here to judge the world, or to save the world through him?
Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection. As I read this, I had to seriously consider how much of my motivation to please God, to “be a good Christian” has come from fear of punishment rather than gratitude and thankfulness for God’s love and mercy. I don’t have a “scale of 1 to 10” on this, but there’s been way too much fear! Now, do I have to feel guilty and unworthy over the fear? No, I don’t!
The point is, friends, the more we receive God’s full expression of love, the more we live free from fear. And the more we live free from fear the more we can love others—other Christians and others who are not Christians.
Father, Thank you for your love freely given. May my friends and I receive your love freely and fully, and express it to others just as freely and fully. Amen!