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5/6/15 – As he is, so are we in this world

Written by Carlton L. Arnold

In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.   1 John 4:17-18

The book of First John is more of a sermon than a letter like the other books in the New Testament.  John was the pastor of the church at Ephesus, and First John is a sermon that he gave the Believers of that church. The purpose of the sermon was to discuss the high standards that a Believer should live by in the world. Compromise was beginning to enter into the church similar to what is happening in many churches today.  God intends the church (made up of Believers) to be different from this world.  To take on some of the characteristics of worldliness was to move away from God.  As you read this article, ask the Holy Spirit if there are any areas in your life where the love of Christ cannot be found.  At the same time, celebrate your life in Christ when you are found to be like Christ.

 

“Love” is the major theme of the above Bible verses.  John presents love as something that Believers increasingly mature in and apply to their lives.  As Believers, we should have the goal to make the love of God complete in our lives. 

God’s love is always defined by a decision.  Love in the world is usually described with emotions or sexual overtones.  I can love my brothers in this world because of the closeness of growing up together.  That is not God’s love.  If one of my brothers does something that endangers our relationship, I probably will not feel like loving him.  But, if he was in need, then I could decide to ignore the problems and help to satisfy his need. 

The same type of decision is made when we do something for others that do not deserve anything from us.  They could be considered as our enemy, but God would say to love your enemies.  The use of the word in that context is to decide to put aside any animosity or ill feelings and to help them, especially if it requires a sacrifice on our part.  Christ sacrificed himself for the forgiveness of our sins and the restoration of a healthy relationship with God. 

I think as Christians we need to clearly distinguish that we are to love others in the form of decisions we make.  When we learn to do this on a regular basis, we are growing to be more Christ-like in our attitude and behavior.  God says that we will not fear the day of judgment, because we decided to love our enemies as Christ did. 

“As He is, so are we in this world” is a strong statement to make about the sinful human being.  This is only possible as we decide to love others unconditionally.  As the Christ love grows in us it will be perfected to the point of experiencing no fear in this world.  Realize that God loves (has decided to love) you as you are.  Take a moment of each day to realize that God’s love is His decision and is not based on your behavior.  Thank you Lord for loving us so that we can have boldness and confidence in our living relationship with you.

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