3/12/22 Saturday

Journal 1 John 4 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture: “God is love…and whoever abides in love abides in God and God abides in him.


By this love is 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.


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.  We love because he first loved us.


If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother WHOM HE HAS SEEN cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:16b-21


Observation: Talk about a word salad!!  And to think this must make sense and correspond/correlate with the rest of the Scriptures…


And that’s the point: There is no stand-alone doctrine here, much less a stand-alone book.  How does this support other books of the Bible?  How does the Bible support John in this writing?


Analysis: A key phrase here is “whom he has seen.”  Jesus told the story about the Good Samaritan.  Paul writes about love to the church at Corinth.  James challenges believers with “I’ll show you what true religion is about.”


Also, the Psalmist writes about pursuing the Word of God and what He says about Himself.  Jesus speaks about looking to know God (my responsibility) and being known by God.  Paul writes extensively about what God does and the doctrines behind it.


Pursuit of knowing Jesus through His Word and exhibiting works CONSISTENT with a growing knowledge of Him is a portion of what John is writing about here.


Confession: I am still trying to figure out these two things: The Fear of the Lord and Perfect love casts out fear.  Both of these phrases are stated in God’s self-revelation (the Bible) and are each true, so the result is that both of these phrases/statements must be True as a synthesis—together, and not self-cancelling.  I have been involved with folks that argue (and live) like this is an “either/or” situation: I can live in fear, or I can live in love and then make a choice.  Abandon one for the other…and then basically suffer the handicap for the rest of my days.


Personally, I fear Him because He is God, and I am unholy to the core.  No matter how much good I do will never grant me an audience before Him except for Jesus to proclaim judgment and condemnation upon me.  That scale was announced before the day I was born.  Define that “fear” as “reverence” and it still doesn’t make a difference—I probably will fall on my face the first time we meet face to face.


Also, I love God.  I love Him because He loved me first: the ultimate quid pro quo.  All my love for the Trinitarian God is because He initiated love toward me by the Father sacrificing the Volunteering Son to be the atonement, the propitiation of my Sin—and He decided to do that before “Let there be light” was uttered.


The process of journaling is not to wrap up every piece of doctrine in a nice, tidy, ball—I need to finish all of the pieces and products of the Gospel.  There are times to let the threads dangle on pages and in the mind until the Holy Spirit and my own initiative ties them all to completion.


When in doubt or confusion or just at a place where you go “huh”, start back reviewing the Gospel and then think…


Prayer: Lord God, I am convinced for myself and am grounded in my conviction that I love and fear You as appropriately as I think and not disproportionately.  I raise my hands and voice in worship to you, loving you, and knowing that without my Lord’s blood being the Atonement, I still fear.


I ask for your help in my life so that I may walk firmly, honoring You in all my ways, in the crispness of the Gospel.



Ricky Two Shoes