by Rick Dunham, Founder+CEO
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.
For there to be a perfect love, God must possess it. Because as we saw in an earlier post, God is indeed perfect.
When someone knows they are truly loved by another, they don’t fear the motives or genuine nature of that love. They trust that love to have their best interest at heart. Perfect love has an additional quality. It drives away fear. It banishes fear from the relationship.
To begin to understand that kind of love, you need to understand the character of God’s love. And that means understanding that God doesn’t just love – He is love.
Perfect love is eternal.
John tells us in 1 John 4:16, “God is love.” The structure in the Greek is emphatic that God is the essence of love. It is an intrinsic part of God’s character that defines who God is. Without love, God would cease to be God.
And because God is everlasting and unfailing, His love is everlasting and unfailing.
The psalmist in Psalm 136 tries to put to words the unfailing nature of God’s love. In fact, twenty-six times he reminds us that God’s love endures forever. It’s as though he picks up the diamond of God’s love and turns it so you can see the facets of His love in a different light.
The psalmist shows that God’s perfect love is rooted in the reality that He is God of gods, Lord of lords, creator and giver of life and of all that is good. Therefore, His love, just like His nature, endures forever. And then the psalmist turns that diamond over again and again to show how God’s perfect love is reflected. He is the one who comes to our aid when there is no way forward. He is the one who protects, fights, and graces us with every good gift.
God’s perfect love endures for eternity. Never ever ceasing.
Perfect love is all-consuming.
God manifests His love for us in so many ways, but chief among them is the gift of His Son. That truth has become such a common trope among Christians that we have lost the awe and wonder of this reality. As Paul tells us in Romans 5 “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And Jesus tells us in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John goes on to say in 1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”
The thought of our eternal damnation due to sin and death must have been so unbearable to God because of His perfect love for us. So, the Word put on flesh, became obedient to death, ultimately being murdered in the most excruciating and humiliating way thinkable. Why? 1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” And in 1 John 4:9, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”
Yes, the love of the all-powerful, eternal, pure, and holy God toward you is so all-consuming it drove Him to the ultimate sacrifice. He took you from death to life, from darkness to light, and made you His very own child. That’s how much He loves you. It’s a radical, all-consuming love that can’t be shaken or quenched and will go to whatever lengths necessary to rescue and redeem.
You are loved perfectly.
One final thought. John states that “love comes from God” (1 John 4:7). That is a powerful thought. Because God is love, it means that any love found in the universe emanates from Him. Wherever love exists, it bears witness to the existence and character of God. This is a far cry from the lie that God is a vengeful and wrath-filled God.
Today, regardless of what you might be facing, God loves you with a perfect, unblemished, unfailing love. It can’t be any greater or any less. It can never be quenched. And He has proven the depth of that love by giving everything for you. Indeed, it’s a love you can fully trust.
If you’ve felt impacted by these words and want to read more, check out Rick’s YouVersion plan Perfect Trust.
More Insights from Dunham+Company: “Is God Trustworthy?”
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