Love Replaces Fear and Judgment
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so 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 reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
Pastor John’s Notes:
The way of love delivers us from the fear of judgment, but we must love in truth and with action. When we love others, it demonstrates that the love of God is truly within us, and this love drives out the fear of judgment. On the Day of Judgment, when Jesus Christ returns, we will not be afraid, but we will rejoice in it. Loving others gives us this confidence.
Sometimes people make great claims about themselves and want others to believe that they are truly wise and religious people. Yet often these same people are judgmental and harsh, or demanding and critical. Such religion is worthless in the kingdom of God. Those who are truly mature are those who love well. They don’t seek to advance themselves but seek the well-being of others. They are the quiet, humble people who are always working behind the scenes to bring blessing to others and to bring people to Christ.
Lord God, let your love be perfected in me. Let love permeate my entire being. Teach me to love my brothers and sisters in such a way that my actions always reflect your own love and grace.