Perfect Love Casts Out Fear Part 3

29 Sep

Let’s continue looking at 1 John 4:16 as we continue our study of 1 John 4:15-21 looking to understand the context of verse 18 where it says perfect love casts out fear.

He who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 16b

Looking at the last part of verse 16, we see that if we abide in love we abide in God and He abides in us.

For a long time I thought this meant that if we were particularly loving people we would abide in God and He in us.  Let’s take a close look here.  We’ll see something that looks a lot like math.  Do you remember those “if—then” sentences in high school math?  What were they called?  Logic statements?  I try to forget my high school math experiences…but…here goes!

1. If we accept Christ as our Savior (v. 15) If and only if.

2. Then God lives in us.  (v. 16) This is a given.

3. And we live in God. (v. 16) This is also a given.

4. God is love.  (v. 16)  This is a fact.

5. Since God is love, if we live in Him, then we live in love. (v. 15 and 16) This is a logical conclusion.

6. Since we live in love we live in God and He lives in us. (v. 16) This is another logical conclusion.

So everything on this list hinges on one act—that we accept God as our Lord and Savior.  It does not depend on how loving we are.  By the way, the word lives is a marvelous word that means to stay in a given place, state, relationship, or expectancy.  And God does all of those things perfectly toward us.

Our union with God never changes.  In that case, why do we sometimes feel that He doesn’t love us?  Why do we feel that He is far from us?  Why do we feel that we do not love Him?  Don’t worry, we’re not going to ignore these important questions.  But for right now, let’s look at what our new relationship with God looks like.

It looks kind of like a Valentine.  And it is!  I remember when my son, Doug, was little he always used to spend his birthday money on the biggest heart-shaped box of Valentine’s candy he could afford for me.  As much as I hated for him to spend his money that way, it warmed my heart with his declaration of love.  But the very best Valentine that we could receive is that God has placed us inside His unfailing love and has placed His unfailing love inside of us.

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