1Jn 4:16-18 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (17) By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. (18) 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.
One of Satan’s strategies he frequently launches against the genuine Christian is to tell us (I don’t know all the ways in which he can put thoughts in our minds, but he does it)….one of his favorite strategies is to tell us that God is angry with us. That we need to spend our days working hard to make ourselves acceptable to Him, but our efforts are never good enough. When we pray, we don’t come boldly into His presence but come meekly with the notion that God just “puts up with us.”
Now, let’s say this clearly – we must battle against sin. When we sin, we displease our Father in heaven and we must repent and ask His forgiveness. Grace is not an instrument to use so that we can sin all we want and still enjoy His approval. Anyone who does so is not born again.
But what I wanted to think about here is what I believe John is saying in the verses quoted above. There is no fear in love. When we are born again, everything changes. Condemnation to justification. A rumbling, threatening Mount Sinai to Mount Zion. Slavery to sonship. In Christ, we have forgiveness of sins, we are adopted as sons of God our Father. In few words, God is not mad at us. He loves us as a Father loves His children. He delights in hearing from us. We have a certain invitation to come to His banqueting table and to spend eternity in His house where He has prepared a mansion for us. God desires to be with you, Christian.
When we doubt these things, when we feel that God simply tolerates us and gets pretty tired of having to forgive us, John says that the problem is – we don’t understand the love of God. Our understanding of the love of God is not yet perfected because if we really understood it (as we shall one day), all of this unnecessary fear would be gone.
You have sinned. I have sinned. We all sin as long as we are in this fleshly body in this fallen world. But when we know Christ, we repent of our sin and we confess it to the Lord. We hate it. And God is faithful to forgive us. So when you get out of bed tomorrow morning, understand this – God is not mad at you. He loves you and invites you to pray without ceasing, which paraphrased must mean something like, “let’s spend this day together and talk with one another.” Satan of course wants to slander and accuse us so that we run and hide in the Garden when we hear the Lord coming and try to cover ourselves with garments of our own making. Can’t be done and not necessary. Christ has clothed us with His perfect righteousness and those old says in sin when we hid from God – are over.