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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

No Fear

The amazing effect of love.

1 John 4:18–21

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

Today’s passage speaks of another aspect of perfected love. Yesterday, we learned that perfected love gives us confidence for the day of judgment.

But perfect love also casts out fear. Ambassadors need that too.

But what fear is John talking about? He obviously doesn’t mean fear related to salvation; that was already taken care of. What fear might Christians have?

John gives us a hint when he says, “fear involves torment.” What is the source of torment for Christians at the time John wrote this?

Persecutors—Roman, religious, etc. Christians can fear their persecutors, but perfect love casts out fear.

This all traces back to the commandment to love our enemies. Love the ones you would fear, and the love casts out fear.

And what great ambassadors that makes us.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. — Acts 16:25

Their fearlessness set the stage for the conversion of their jailers.

This is advanced stuff. Being fearless in the midst of persecution is a great blessing. Unfortunately, we don’t often see, much less experience, that—because our love is still in the process of being perfected.

So, if you see that you’re not all that great at loving your enemies, take heart. That’s normal. You’re still growing.

But don’t slack off either. The goal is exciting.

Imagine what life would be like having cast out fear.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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