Perfect love drives out fear. In this part of his letter John gives the struggling Christian church assurance about the signs they belong to Jesus namely: the Spirit of God has led them to believe the truth that Jesus is the Christ of God who sacrificed himself for the sake of the world. The Spirit of God is causing the sacrificial love shown by Jesus to make his followers like him. The effect is that fear begins to be driven from our lives by the work of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. [Audio | Notes]
1 John 4:13-21 | Love, truth and fear
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us (13-16)
This is how love is made complete in us (17-18)
We love because he first loved us (19-21)
For further thought
Q: As Christians we sometimes doubt the reality of God’s work in our lives so John gives us five pieces of evidence as assurance – the first is the experience of the Spirit of God. Can you read through this letter again and list what are the signs of the Spirit of work in someone’s life?
Q: How does the apostles’ testimony (4.14) assure us? Why does the Spirit of God to take us to the apostle’s teaching?
Q: What other assurance of God’s work in our lives does verse 4.15 give us?
Q: How does a relationship with God now give us confidence for the day of judgement (4.17)?
What do we fear and why is fear related to judgement? Do you know examples of love lessening fear?
Q: This passage has been about making the invisible God seen in the love we share as we live in him. Why is this love outward and practical and not only contemplative or a feeling? How does the evidence of love in us assure and challenge us at the same time?