“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.”1 John 4:18-19
While verse 17 gives context that the ‘fear’ perfect love casts out is the fear of God’s judgement, I think this can also be applied to our everyday fears. Whether this is fear about our future, fear of death, fear of losing a loved one, fear of exams, the list is endless. We fear because we forget that God made us with His love. His love drives, pushes, and casts away all of our tormenting thoughts and fears. Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. The word perfect here can be translated as complete, whole or unmatched. The love of God for us is full and lacking nothing [He loves us with all of His heart].
In 2 Timothy 1:7, we’re told the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. Timothy, [like us all] needed to be reminded of the permanently, indwelling Holy Spirit of God. God has both gifted and empowered us with all that we need for life, no matter how difficult life becomes. After all, Jesus himself warned us that in this world we would suffer trials and sorrows [see John 16:33] – but He also urged us to remember that He has overcome the world.
Part of understanding the love of God is knowing that God’s judgment fell on Jesus at the cross so that we can be spared [Isaiah 53:6 – And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all]. God is so gracious that He devised a plan that would demonstrate His own deep love for us. He gave His One and Only Son as the only possible perfect offering, to pay the price of the sins of the whole world. All of us who have sinned now have access to this free gift of God’s grace.
And finally, verse 19 reads ‘we love each other because he loved us first’. Love is a fundamental characteristic of who God is [https://inanewlight.co/2020/12/16/god-is-love/]. Everything God does is impelled and influenced by His love. Once we understand and experience His love, we are able to extend this love to others. This two-way relationship of God’s love gives us confidence and security in our lives. It is the effectual love of God that first changes our hearts in order to make us capable of love, and it is His example of love [see Genesis 1:27-28; Numbers 13:30; Job 39] that reminds us again and again of our need to love other people.The ability to live out His love is a sign of our deep-rooted faith in Him, and the way for us to follow His Will here on earth. God loves us, so we must love one another.