By Tyshawn Gardner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Samford University
Love in Place of Fear
1 John 3:13–18; 4:14–18
We can know and experience love because of Christ. (3:13–18)
No power is stronger than love. The joy of family, the beauty of marriage and the warmth of friendship are all rooted in love.
We know and experience love because of Christ. Apart from Him, it is impossible to know the depths of love.
God’s love is revealed to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. God sent His Son into a fallen world to save humanity.
When we confess that Jesus came into the world as Savior and confess Him as our personal Savior, we experience and become aware of God’s love. God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, lives in us to remind us of God’s love. He comforts us and leads us into God’s truth.
When we know God’s perfect love for us, fear flees. Love drives out our fear of people, circumstances, the future and even death.
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of healthy fears and abnormal fears. Sometimes fear is a healthy emotional response that causes us to seek safety when danger is lurking or to make changes to unhealthy conditions. However, when we have God’s love in us, fear no longer paralyzes and controls us.
God’s love is in us because God remains in us. (4:14–16)
God’s love towards us is not a one-time transaction. He constantly reminds us of His love because He lives in us. He remains in us because His Spirit is in us.
The Holy Spirit is our constant companion and ever-present reminder of God’s love.
In our fallen world, evil constantly tries to find its way into our hearts and lives. When we are filled with God’s love by being filled with the Holy Spirit, His love seals every opening and prevents evil in our lives.
God’s love leads us to seek out and meet the needs of those around us. His love is freely given to us, and we are called to love freely.
Love is best expressed in actions and deeds. Like Christ who loved us by giving His life on the cross, our love drives us to meet needs where others live, work, worship and play.
His love overflows, leading us to powerful and effective deeds for those who live in poverty and lack.
God’s love in Christ met our deepest need, the need to be rescued from our sins.
We cannot save people from their sins, but we can meet their needs when we are motivated by God’s love.
God’s love gives us confidence and dispels our fear. (17–18)
God’s love enables us to be overcomers and conquerors in the face of our most challenging circumstances.
Empowered and enlightened through His love, we can be confident in our ability to overcome sin and evil in our world.
For centuries, division has stained the church and the nation. Lives have been lost, and the cost of division has been incalculable.
While fear divides, displaces and creates detachment, love unites us. Just as God’s love in Christ brings us near to Him, only our love for each other will unite us.
Love is greater than fear. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. His love is universal and we are to fill the world with it, just as He fills us with His love.