Friday in the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 John 4:16-19

How Love Is Perfected in Us

So we learned from verse thirteen that we have the testimony of the Holy Spirit within that we abide in Him and He in us, and this is because He has birthed us anew.  And through that Spirit we are able to believe and confess that Jesus is the Son of God.

John now returns to his favorite theme of love.  Because the Spirit abides within, because we have been enabled to believe in the work that the Son has done for us on the cross and his resurrection, “we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.”  A little later, he will say, “We love [Him] because He first loved us.”  God is love and our loving Him and others is grounded in His love for us.  No one loves rightly until they come to know God’s love for them through Christ, for that is how God has manifest His redemptive love for us.  And to love God through Christ is to abide in God and God in us and to love others in a redemptive and Christlike way.

God’s love has another benefit for believers.  As we are perfected (made complete) in His love, as we come to understand and experience it in even greater depths, and as the Holy Spirit bathes and sanctifies us through that love which we share with others, we become more confident in light of the coming day of Judgment.  Any sane person would fear that great and terrible day—but not the Christian.  As he grows in love, that love “casts out fear,” for he knows that the One who judges him is the one who gave his life for him, “for the Father…has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).  This is not to say that a believer should have a careless way with God, treating his relationship with the Almighty as a light thing, for then he has every reason to fear.  Nor does this mean that the word, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10) no longer applies.  It simply means that the more one abides in God, the more confidence or assurance one has before that day arrives.  “Fear has to do with punishment,” the Apostle tells us.  But if the child does nothing for which to be punished, and if his father forgives him his misdeeds out of his great love for his child, then the child need not worry about coming into his Father’s house now or in the future.

“Whoever fears has not been perfected in love,” and that’s our fault either due to sin or doubt.  Repent and know the love that forgives, cleanses, heals, and brings assurance.  And strive to be made perfect in love through abiding in the Source of all love through Christ.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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