This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:17-18 NIV)
“Perfect love drives out fear“. For a long time, I thought this verse said that if I loved enough there would be no room in my life for being afraid. And I could never understand how love would keep me from being afraid. Especially when a big dog charged out at me, or any number of other scenarios. But I don’t believe that is really what John was talking about here. I believe that v. 17 is key to understanding v. 18; “love is perfected in us so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment.” I do not need to fear death and judgment if I am abiding in God’s love.
My mother-in-law, a believer, died this past week, and tomorrow is her memorial service. While some are mourning her passing, because they have no hope, others of us are rejoicing that she is now with the Lord. God’s love in us allows us to not fear death and the coming day of judgment. Instead, we can have confidence. The more we know God’s love, the less we will be afraid of leaving this life behind, and the more we will look forward to the life to come.