Good morning! Perfect love is that which is fueled by and tethered to God our Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. If we are in Him who is love, then we have no reason to fear any punishment (4:18b) because Christ has taken our punishment on our behalf.
Too many Christians live in fear because they do not understand nor have they received the full import of the gospel. The great doctrine of substitutionary atonement–Christ atoned for our sins (paid for them) on our behalf (our substitute). The gravity of understanding this doctrine will bring about a gladness in our hearts and minds for Christ’s sake. I’m thankful for Nick Batzig’s insight here:
Whatever other dimensions belong to the work of Christ crucified, on this much we must be settled: The principal work of Jesus on the cross was atoning for the sins of His people by standing in their place and bearing the consequences and judgment of their sins. Jesus was constituted a sinner—though without any sin of His own—by the imputation of the sins of God’s people to His own person so that He might bear that sin in His body on the tree and receive the just punishment for those sins. In doing so, Jesus atones for the sins of all those for whom He died, removing their guilt and providing the basis of forgiveness for their sin. When we come to understand this in our hearts, we sing: “Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned he stood. Sealed my pardon with his blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior!”Nick Batzig, “Why is Substitutionary Atonement Essential?”
Have you received Christ, who died on your behalf for your sins? Are you walking in the light, in love, in power, and in sound mind (2 Tim 1:7)? Look to the cross and the empty tomb and see what Christ accomplished for you!
Matthew Perry, Ph.D. is Lead Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO