“By this, love is perfected 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; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us” (I John 4:17-19).
God’s perfect love in us gives us confidence because God sees us in this world just as He sees Himself; beyond reproach, holy, and righteous (Colossians 1:22). Does that sound too good to be true? God said it so we can believe it no matter how it “sounds”. It is a spiritual reality; you are as God is in this world.
One of the effects of God’s perfect love in us is that it drives out fear. Why? Because fear involves punishment and there is no fear in God’s love because we have confidence in the day of judgment that we will face NO punishment. When we fear, we are not putting into practice that which is true about us; we are perfected in God’s love and have nothing to fear.
This freedom from fear of punishment was promised long ago as part of the new covenant. ” ‘Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,’ says the LORD, who has mercy on you” (Isaiah 54:9-10 NLT).
God’s love casts out fear because fear involves punishment, something God has promised to never send our way.
Finally, “we love, because He first loved us” takes us back to the true source of the love we display. God is love in His essence. As His children, love is our essence as well. We love, because He first loved us.