“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.” (1 John 4:18)
As I read the Word tonight, I came across this verse and it just really struck a chord in my heart! So many Christians are living in fear, rooted in condemnation. If you are living in fear of punishment today, you need to experience first hand, God’s love for you. His love is unfailing, everlasting, unchanging, unconditional and forever. I could say a whole lot more and give you a heap of scriptures, but this verse says it all…if you are afraid God will punish you for your sins, you have not yet fully experienced God’s perfect love.
I know I haven’t fully experienced His love, but everyday I am gaining a glimpse of His love and grace that is so undeserving. Because of this, my heart is being filled with so much peace and joy. At times, I lose sight of this and return to a fearful state, and this affects my heart and mind terribly, even the way I relate to others is affected. I can be up one minute and down the next. I seem to lose confidence and start to stutter and stumble over my words. It’s really terrible. That is the effect of condemnation. But these days, this is becoming less and less, as the more I meditate on and remind myself of the grace of God and the finished work of Jesus on the cross. His work is so complete that He cried, “it is finished!” And indeed it is. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. (Rom 8:1) There is nothing added to that statement either. In the NKJV, it adds “for those who do not walk according to the flesh, but who walk according to the Spirit.” I learnt first from Joseph Prince, then discovered it for myself after double-checking, that in fact, that sentence was actually not in the original manuscripts. So it should read, “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” And that’s it. I had taught otherwise for years, that there is condemnation for those who didn’t walk according to the Spirit….but that is works. If you are in Christ, there is no condemnation, period. That is a marvellous truth! How can we preach on one hand, “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ,” then turn around and say, “but you have to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh for there to be no condemnation!” I am not negating walking in the Spirit, but the way to walk in the Spirit is to receive His love and grace and realize first, He does not condemn you! That truth sets you free to walk in the Spirit!
When Jesus set the woman free who was caught in the very act of adultery in John 8, He told her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Notice here that first comes no condemnation, then the command not to sin. The command can only be obeyed when you become set free from condemnation first. We cannot obey in and of ourselves. The church has said for years, “Don’t sin, and we’ll accept you,” (or they won’t “say” it, but their actions reflect that attitude) but Jesus first sets you free from condemnation, then gives you the power over sin.
Remember, the Law is the strength of sin. If you are free from the Law, you are free from the power of sin. Hallelujah! Romans 8:2 then says, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death!” The only law we are now under is the law of the Spirit of life! Praise be to God forevermore!
Ask God to reveal His love afresh to you today, that you may fully experience His love and grace. When you know that He loves you, you know nothing can separate you and Him, because you are bonded together in love. Be blessed and encouraged today in Him…