What are you afraid of?
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also 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 been perfected in love. 1 John 4:16-18
Do you have lepidopterophobia? That’s fear of butterflies. Some people really are afraid of butterflies, but clearly butterflies aren’t objectively threatening or dangerous. For most people, fearing tiny colorful winged insects seems pretty ridiculous.
I could name a lot of things that are more deserving of fear. John brings up one of them: God’s judgment. God’s judgment is scary because without some means of salvation, our sin can’t measure up to God’s holiness. As Romans says, “the wages of sin are death.” So, as John tells us, fear comes from dreading punishment. No one wants to feel pain or to suffer negative consequences, and punishment is what our sin deserves.
And yet John brings it up just to tell us that there is no need for us to fear. Instead, because of our faith in God, we have confidence that when God does judge us, He will find us abiding in Him. Our living in and with God through the sacrifice of Christ protects us from punishment.
Questions for reflection and discussion
1. What are you afraid of?
2. Are you afraid of God's judgement? Why or why not?
Dear God, nothing I do can save me, so I depend on Your great love, shown in the death and resurrection of Jesus, when I gave Your judgment. Thank You that I have no need to fear because of Your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.