September 03 2021
Today, Friday September 3
What Do You Fear?
1 John 4:17-19 “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.”
Jesus in His Mt. Olivet Discourse shortly before His crucifixion told His disciples that one of the signs of the last days would be that “men’s hearts would fail them because of fear.” (Luke 21:26) We live in a world full of fear! Maybe today this is one the issues you are dealing with. These words before us in this passage should give you great assurance and help you. Paul told Timothy, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Two brand-new words come into John's vocabulary here: fear and torment. And this is written to believers! Is it possible that Christians can actually live in fear and torment? Yes, unfortunately, many professed believers experience both fear and torment day after day. And the reason is that they are not growing in the love of God.
The word boldness can mean "confidence" or "freedom of speech." It does not mean brazenness or brashness. A believer who experiences perfecting love grows in his confidence toward God. He has a reverential fear of God, not a tormenting fear. He is a son who respects his Father, not a prisoner who cringes before a judge.
We have adopted the Greek word for fear into our English vocabulary: phobia. All sorts of phobias are listed in psychology books; for instance, acrophobia—"fear of heights," and hydrophobia—"fear of water." John is writing about krisisphobia—"fear of judgment." John has already mentioned this solemn truth in 1 John 2:28; and now he deals with it again.
If we are afraid, it is because of something in the past that haunts us, or something in the present that upsets us, or something in the future that we feel threatens us. Or it may be a combination of all three. But my friend, as a believer in Jesus Christ we do not have to fear the past, present, or future, for we have experienced the love of God and this love is being perfected in us day by day.
"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27). But we do not have to fear future judgment, because Christ has suffered his judgment for us on the cross. "Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life" (John 5:24). "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
For the believer, judgment is not future; it is past. Our sins have been judged already at the cross, and they will never be brought against us again. Today remember, in this world of fear, “Perfect or mature love cast out all fear”.