In our Relationship Tuesdays, we just started looking at God’s love, and today we’re going to continue looking at God’s love in relation to sin, and it’s going to be a relatively simple lesson.
1 John 4:18 says, “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.”
There’s a reason why we don’t have to be afraid of punishment when we abide in God’s perfect love, and the premise for this is summed up in the following verses of 1 John 4:
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. 1 John 4:19-21
Paul says we know what sin is because of the law (Romans 7:7), Jesus says that the whole law is summed up in two commandments: love God with all your heart, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:30-32) If love fulfills the law, then anything other than love is sin.
Perfect love = Not sinning against God or anyone else
If we don’t sin aka love, there’s no punishment. Thus perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. If you’re afraid of punishment, it means you’re not living in a loving way in every area of your life.
Now you can get all sappy and say, well the enemy attacks us and tells we’re not good enough and push the blame onto the serpent just as we’ve always done since the garden, but because I love you, I’m going to tell you the truth:
That’s a lie.
Pushing the blame of ungodly fear off onto Satan is an unloving act toward God. You’re basically saying, “God I don’t think you’re big enough to protect me from the lies of the enemy. I don’t think this armor you’ve given me is strong enough to deflect those fiery darts. In fact I think you’re a liar because all those promises you made about the devil fleeing when we resist just aren’t true.”
And yet by giving in to the lies, you’re not resisting, so why would the devil flee?
Do you want to know if you’re loving God and others perfectly? Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, and replace the word Love with your name. “Stephen is patient, Stephen is kind, Stephen is not jealous, Stephen does not brag, he is not arrogant” . . . I’m already falling short of perfect love, and I’m not even a quarter of the way through it. I’d wager no one, save Jesus, could read 1 Corinthians 13 this way and not be lying through their teeth. It’s called a sinful nature.