God is Love

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God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  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 4:16b-18

This short text is tricky; we need to be sharp to get the full benefit of it.  “God is love.” OK, so far, so good, this part is easy.  Them John says, Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  For us to live in love is to also live in God, and when we do that, God lives in us because God and love are the same thing: They are inseparable.  Here comes the curve: John is building again.  Because of the inseparable nature of God and love, living our lives in love will make love complete, and ensure that we will be confident on the day of judgment: This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: OK, this one is really interesting… John finishes this way:

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.

Did you catch that?  If we live in love, we live in God, and God lives in us.  This is because love and God cannot be separated.  If we live this way, we live like Jesus lived.  Jesus did not fear death, why should He? He knew exactly where He was going!  When we live in love, we need have no fear of judgment, for that love drives fear of judgment out of our lives.

When a person dies, the next step is judgment.  You might believe that we die and immediately go to judgment, or you might believe that we die and sleep until judgment day, but to be honest, it doesn’t matter.  Judgment is the next step either way.  Just as Jesus knew exactly where He was going, so do we, we are going to be at His side.

So what really happens?

When we go to judgment, there are two sets of books. There is the Book of Life and there are the Books of Deeds.  If your name is in the Book of Life, that’s it, you’re in!  If not, the other books are consulted, and you are judged by your deeds.  You don’t want to be involved in those deeds books!  The judgment is not a horrifying ordeal if you are in the Book of Life.  Your name is read and that’s it, “welcome home.”  What John is telling us here is that living in love means that our names are in the Book of Life.

Let’s put it another way:  We read about this day in Revelation 21:11 ff. If you are in Christ, living in love (they are the same thing) your name is in the Book of Life.  That being the case, you are not being put on trial or accused of anything at all, for your sins have been taken away entirely; they are as far from you as the east is from the west.  There is no sin to even discuss: Period.  That is why John can say here, that perfect love drives out all fear.  The love God has always had for you terminated all discussion and your appearance at judgment is a welcoming ceremony, you might say.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
This entry was posted in Bible and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to God is Love

  1. Bette Cox says:

    Terrorists can’t understand the concept of agape love at all. To them God’s sacrificial love is so unnatural it must be destroyed. But curiosity is a powerful trait / bait of the Holy Spirit, and when the power of God’s love finally gets through to someone, their lives are completely transformed. Good lessons, Don.

  2. Sherron says:

    Reblogged this on importantstuff and commented:
    God is love. What exactly does that mean? This posting explains that if you are living in Christ, you are living in love.

  3. Sherron says:

    Excellent. Reblogged on https://importantstuff.live/ with comment,
    “God is love. What exactly does that mean? This posting explains that if you are living in Christ, you are living in love.”

  4. Can you clarify something for me? If you claim Jesus as your savior and have him in your heart, are you saying your name will appear in the Book of Life? There is no judgement if your name is in the Book of Life?

  5. surrender884 says:

    Don, I believe you and I are from different Christian denominations. It doesn’t matter because as Christians our faith in the same God is our shared belief. We all share the same commandment , to love one another. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This verse of Scripture has a very special place in my heart. It was the very first time I heard the Lord speak audibly to me. Love the post!

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