Tuesday, August 4, 2009

8/5- I John 4:17-18- Perfect love casts out fear

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

8/5- I John 4:17-18

17 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. 18 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.

Calvin abridged: two thoughts are here; that we are partakers of divine adoption- when we resemble God as children their father; and secondly, that this confidence is invaluable for without it we would be most miserable. No others are partakers of the divine blessing of God’s love but God’s children. We are emboldened by the confidence of his fatherly love because by nature we dread the presence of God because he is judge of the world and holds us guilty for our sins. It is this dread that makes people shun God as much as they can. But the faithful do not fear the last judgment, but they go before the tribunal of God confidently and cheerfully.
“We are like Jesus”- by this John means that we are required as believers to resemble the image of God. What God is in heaven he requires us to be in this world, so we might be seen as His children. The image of God in us, is a seal of our adoption. God’s love casts out fear as a quiet safe harbor, frees a ship from tempest and shipwreck. There are still storms, but they do not torment us. God gives us a quiet conscience and calm mind by his love. Unbelief breeds fear. But the love of God, really known tranquilizes the heart.

Thought- Isaiah says there is no peace for the wicked. When we focus on Jesus we are able to walk on the water as Peter did in the storm. When our focus is away from Jesus’ love we focus on the storms and problems and start to sink (as Peter did). In Peru there are many shamans who instill a combination of fleshly pleasure with dark superstition and fear. It was this darkness that compelled Jim Elliot and so many others to come and risk their lives fearlessly to share the faith with others. We too can find boldness in life to do more than we can do by ourselves if we focus and give ourselves to the Lord.

Prayer: Lord, cast out our fear, and enter in- be born in us today.

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