Stop fearing a punishing God.

I know! It is a risky title isn’t it? Especially for those of us who have been brought up with such fear.

Fear of hell; fear of being ‘left behind’; fear of disappointment; fear of disapproval; fear of not being in His will. Our knowledge of God had fears attached.

“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 v 18)

John is focusing not on the person who rejects God and on the Day of Judgment is found inadequate. He is focusing on his Church who are being deceived and led astray by the ‘antichrists’ who dethrone Jesus and who are unloving. Pastorally he continues to point his people to Jesus Christ and as a result to know His love in action through their lives for one another.

He now says fear has no place in love. So you either understand fear or you know love.

The result of being baptised in fear is that we have not plummeted into the rich depths of His love.

Do we run the risk of abusing that love if we do not focus also on fear? Yes! But the risk is worthwhile. It seems for John he ignores the risk because the love is so important.

This is not the fear found in awe and respect. That is without question. God is holy. But this is the fear that God is against us. Through the life of Jesus, He is not. He cannot be.

You cannot know love for God and from God; you cannot be embraced with this amazing love of God; you cannot love other believers; and at the same time fear His punishment of you. So make a choice today and choose love.

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