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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « Five Big Myths About Calvinism | Main | Sins Many, Much Forgiveness! Much Forgiveness, Much Love! »

    Perfect Love for Imperfect People

    How are you doing in your faith today? How are doing in believing God's promises to you in Jesus?

    Now don’t merely measure your faith, seeking to find out whether it is strong or weak. Rather, ponder the greatness of Christ’s strength, beauty and love for you! Faith fixes its eyes on JESUS the Author and Perfector of your faith (Heb. 12:1ff). Faith seeks more of Christ. Even the weakest faith can take hold of a STRONG CHRIST.

    How are you doing in accepting, receiving and resting upon Christ’s completed work for you?

    How are you doing in believing Christ is All-Sufficient and All-Powerful for whatever he calls you to today?


    Here is a Scripture from John's first letter that may encourage and strengthen your faith in Jesus:

    ESV 1 John 4:18-19: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.


    Our faith is strengthened as we realize God's love for us in Jesus Christ!


    God is love

    We don’t by nature love, but God first loved us in Jesus Christ, and we learn to love in Him.

    In our learning to love by receiving God's grace to us in Christ, we learn love God, and we learn to love one another.

    Loving God and one another is another reason why we must draw near to God’s Throne of Grace and find mercy and grace daily (Heb. 4:14-16).

    We need more grace as God’s people to love. Grace for today. Not grace for tomorrow. Not grace for yesterday. Grace for today.

    We all need grace to believe and trust God today.

    1 John 4:19 says that we love because He first loved us. This is the way to experience more of Christ’s love and to demonstrate more of Christ’s love.

    We must prayerfully meditate on God's promises in Scripture and seek God for more grace to believe by faith just how much He loves us.

    God has moved heaven and earth to possess us, to call us His children, to redeem us from slavery to sin and deliver us out of the kingdom of darkness.

    God has set his affections on us before the foundation of the world, and has redeemed us by his Son and sealed us by His Holy Spirit.

    Nothing can separate us from the love of God for us in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:34-39).

    No Fear in Love

    Notice in 1 John 4:18, there is no fear in love. The true and radiant love of God in Christ toward us has no fear in it. There is nothing to fear as we serve God.

    We have nothing to be afraid of in God’s presence. There is nothing in this world that can remove God’s gracious presence from us. If God be for us who can be against us?!

    As we seek prayerfully by faith to understand that there is truly no condemnation for us in Christ, we understand there is no punishment before God’s throne. There is only grace to be found in Jesus Christ, and because of His precious blood shed for sinners.

    No fear in love. Why does John speak of fear here in this passage?

    Fear of God’s judgment. We fear God's judgment.

    We need to know that God’s judgment has been satisfied by the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. Jesus laid down His life for us, taking God’s judgment as an act of loving obedience so that we would know and understand God’s true love for us.

    Why do we fear then?

    We fear that we will fail (or that we have failed already). But the real truth is that we do not fear that we will fail the True God whom we serve in Christ; we fear we will fail the gods and idols that we should not serve.

    Fear of failure. We often live for something and/or someone other than God. We often fear because we live for people and/or things that become more important to us than God. These idols or false gods demand perfection in strength, body, mind, and even in religious practices.

    How many have often performed religious duties only to appease their gods and idols; how many have often gone through their day of work neglecting the more important things in life because they must appease their gods of success, and reputation, and prove themselves that they are better than others?

    If an athlete lives for his sport more than God, then he will live in constant fear of failure: losing and humiliation.

    If a student lives for her grades more than God, she will live in constant fear of failure: failing and/or not getting all the work done.

    If a father lives for his children respecting him more than God, he will live in constant fear of failure: rebellion.

    If a beautiful girl lives for her beauty and acceptance more than God she will live in constant fear of failure: rejection and blemishes.

    If a strong young man lives for his strength and acceptance more than God he will live in constant fear of failure: rejection and weaknesses.

    When we fail these other false ‘gods’, they are merciless- -they are unforgiving- -they demand perfection to their commands- -there is absolutely no grace or love from them. When we love something or someone more than God, we will seek to serve these things- -we will live daily with our eyes fixed on these things, and they will crush us with fear.

    We know that we have often and daily failed these hateful gods and so we fear. John says that whoever fears has not been perfected in love.



    GOD IS LOVE.

    PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT ALL FEAR.

    If you have a great deal of work to do this week, ask yourself who or what you’re serving? Has God sovereignly ordained the work? Has God promised to never leave you nor forsake you? Has God promised that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you? Why so downcast, put your trust in God. Is there anything God cannot do? O you of little faith, put your hope and focus on Christ.

    Start by praying right now for God’s grace, his peace, his strength in your life today. Confess your utter dependence upon Him.

    Confess the fact that if He does not intervene and grant you grace, you will be tempted to serve other people, other desires, other things as functional gods and idols. You will live in fear of failing these functional gods and idols; you will fear failure to yourself.

    You will live to prove yourself.

    Again, John says that whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

    But if you live in the love of the true God, being dependent upon Him every moment, the perfect love of God will cast out all fear.



    GOD IS LOVE.



    PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR.

    Your work has been accomplished fully in Christ; you have nothing to prove; rest in Christ.

    Your faith will grow as you realize His love for you.

    Your fears will subside and you will have confidence and courage in Jesus.

    Do your work in Jesus Christ, and you will do your best work!

    Prepare yourself by God’s grace and then whatever you need to accomplish will get done- -and with God’s grace and strength!

    Fear the LORD and get wisdom. Know God’s love to you right now; then work for Christ; go and serve Him!

    If you have fear, right now confess this to the Father who loves you.

    Ask Him to cast out all of your fears (1 John 4:18). Fear has to do with punishment.

    Christ is All-Sufficient for you right now.

    Believe this by His grace.

    Let his love cast out your fears.

    Rest.

    Praise.

    Enjoy.

    Joy. Joy. Joy.

    Blessings in Jesus!

    Are you fully convinced that God is able to do what he promised he would do?

    “Stand firm, let nothing move you, always give yourself to the work of the LORD, knowing that your labor in the Lord is never in vain” – 1 Corinthians 15:58

    Pastor Charles R. Biggs

    Posted by Charles Biggs on December 7, 2010 10:22 AM

    Comments

    Thank you.

    I needed to hear that truth today. Thank you.

    Nathan

    Thank you for this. Lord, help me to appropriate this timely word completely as I need it desperately today.

    I have a blog called imperfectpeople and this is my passion. Great aticle on his love for our less than perfect selves.

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