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Thought for the Day by Alex Forrest (Voluntary Staff Worker)
17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I vividly remember the first time I became aware of this verse in scripture. It was my second year of Foremarke (our church ventures camp) and I was having a one-to-one with one of my dorm leaders. Throughout the week the big thing that had been playing on my mind was my own sinfulness. There were a couple of sins I had been falling into before I went on camp and started the week with the mentality of “how can God love me when I do these things?” As an extension of that I was thinking “God must be angry at me, God cannot love me, God will look angrily on me for the rest of my life and into judgment, God will punish me in this life for the bad things I’m doing now”. Probably the Bible verse I most needed to hear was 1 John 4:17-18, and thankfully God had provided me a dorm leader to have a one-to-one with who had that verse tattooed on his arm.
As we were chatting, he explained to me how this verse means that we do not need to live in constant despair of our own sinfulness. Speaking from my experience, I despair in my sin. When I fall into sinful behaviour, I despair in myself and await just punishment from God later on. It’s true our sin should make us sorrowful, but that should force us to look to a great Father whose love for us is so perfect that it takes away all fear, so that on the day of judgment we can come humbly before the feet of God and have confidence that the cross of Christ has paid the punishment for us.
We do not need to be living in constant worry of how God will punish us for our evil actions. We do not need to live in fear. Why? Because in this world we are like Jesus. God looks at us and sees his perfect children because of his love poured out for us in Christ Jesus.
God’s love is greater than any sin we could ever commit and drives out our fear of both that sin and the guilt and punishment that comes with it. If ever we look to God and see a ruthless punisher who cannot love us in our sinfulness, we are not living in the reality of being “made perfect in his love”.
I remember hearing a talk from a man called Adrian Holloway in which he painted the picture of a courtroom. God the Father is sat as the judge, Jesus as the defendant, and us as the accused. We often think that when we sin, Christ defends us before the Father by saying things like “oh really sorry, but they’ve done it again. They’ve messed up again! But please forgive them, let them off one more time”. That is such a wrong picture. Really Christ says “The crime has been paid for. You cannot punish this person. The payment is done. They are saved. Fully and eternally”.
Our bereavement service takes place on Sunday, 15 November at 15:00. During the service we will read out the names of loved ones who have gone before us.
Please inform the Church Office if you would like a friend or family member to be included in this act of remembrance.
Things will be different this year due to the current pandemic and further details will be available in the next couple of weeks.
Mental Health Awareness 2020
Please follow the link below to our Resources page for more information.