The Love Doctor, John, finished his last portion of this letter with a statement about how God lives in us if we love one another. Now in these next few verses, he continues to share how we know that God lives in us. Listen to his words:
This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world’s Savior. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love.1 John 4:13-18 CSB
The seal of our relationship with God through Christ is the indwelling Spirit of God. What an amazing gift we’ve been given—the Holy Spirit in us! Prophets and priests caught glimpses of that privilege, but we have not a temporary filling, but the Spirit has a permanent home in us who believe. What does it take? Confession that Jesus is the Son of God.
God in us.
Belief in Immanuel—God with us, leads to the gift of God in us through the person of the Holy Spirit. We not only know God, as John says, but we understand the love that led God to give us such a gift. With the indwelling of the Spirit, we experience a kind of love we’ve never known in this world. The agape love of God now rests in us through his Spirit and enables us to love one another as he first loved us. It’s not possible without his Spirit, his presence working in and through us.
Love gives us confidence.
As the Spirit makes his home in us and fills us with the love of God, we gain confidence that enables us to stand before Almighty God on the Day of Judgment. The fear of not being good enough, not being lovable enough, not enough for God to accept all vanishes when we know Christ and are filled with his Spirit. This perfect love, love that is from God alone, drives out all fear because we understand that Christ has paid the price we could not pay. His sacrifice made the way for us to stand in his righteousness before Holy God.
If you are unsure of where you stand before God; if fear makes you think you still have something that needs proving—you have not yet been made complete in his love. Tear up your “to-do” list and grab Christ’s “done” list with both hands, confessing with a loud voice that you believe he is the Son of God who paid the price to wash away the sins that have entangled you to death. Believe and you will be filled with the Spirit of Love that kicks fear out the door and guarantees your right standing before God.
It’s a gift we don’t deserve. That’s his grace that gives us his peace.
Grace and Peace