“Empowering the abused woman to recover with God's truth"
1 John 4:18 (Amplified Bible) – www.biblegateway.com
“18There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection].”
1 John 4:17-18 (The Message) – www.biblegateway.com
“17-18God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.”
These are the two meanings of this Scripture that I will discuss:
If we don’t know God, have that intimate, one-on-one relationship with Him, we will not be able to make our calling and election sure. How can we fully trust someone we do not know? How can we believe the promises in the Bible God have given us if we don’t read the Bible and find out those promises? There is no way we can fully take God at His word without having a personal relationship with Him and knowing His Word. Peter says it like this in 2 Peter 1:1-4 as he begins to address the people:
“1-2I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God's straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.”
3-4Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust (The Message).
There is no way we are going to believe that God loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins if we do not know who God is. The only way we are going to embrace this truth is to know God personally; to have a personal relationship with the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We need to know each One personally; their character and function in our daily life. This unconditional love of God will drive out the torment caused by the spirit of fear [fear of dying] which says, “You are going to die and be condemned to hell because of your sins.”
That brings me to the second meaning of 1 John 4:18: Making our calling (our invitation to come to God) and election (acceptance of invitation) sure of where we will live throughout eternity; this will cast out the fear of judgment.
If we don’t really know God loves us, that He has completely forgiven us of our sins, or have not fully committed our lives to Him, we will be tormented by the fear of dying and the fear of judgment. In our subconscious mind, we will be thinking of all the things we have done in our lives and saying, “Even though I have asked God to forgive me, I know He can’t because I have done so many terrible things.” Or we might think, “I wonder has God really forgiven me.”
Most likely these thoughts are not our thoughts but accusing spirits trying to make us doubt God’s love for us and want to keep us thinking of our past.
Another reason we will be afraid to die and of the judgment is because we have not obeyed God’s Word. This is what 2 Peter 1:5-9 says concerning this:
“5-9So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books” (The Message).
The fear of dying and of the judgment, planted there by unbelief, is associated with the fact that: we don’t believe God has forgiven us of our sins (we are oblivious that our old sinful life has been done away with), we don’t know how much He loves us, and we are not building on our basic faith as verses 5-7 of 2 Peter 1 tell us to do. Therefore, we are tormented by the thought that we might go to hell (the judgment) when we die and that makes our calling and election unsure.
2 Peter 1:10-11 tells us:
“10-11So, friends, confirm God's invitation to you, his choice of you. Don't put it off; do it now. Do this, and you'll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ” (The Message). In other words, your calling and election will be sure.
Once we understand the perfect love God has for us, that truth will cast out the fear of dying, fear of judgment, and all other fears in our lives; making us unstoppable.
Here is what verses 5-7 of 2 Peter 1 says in the Amplified Bible:
“5For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),
6And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety: which is devotion),
7And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.”