Reflections: June 16, 2020
Tuesday of the First Week after Trinity
By Alexander Lange
There is no fear in love, because perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. As a father, I am trying to teach my children to not fear policemen. "They are here to help you," I say. I want them to run to the police if they are in danger. Still, I must admit, even we as adults sometimes fear policemen, especially if we know that we are doing something illegal. We fear the police because they can punish us. And most police officers don't know me, and so they don't love me. If they were to arrest me or give me a ticket, they would lose no sleep over it. The same is true of judges. When you go to court, the judge is pretty intimidating. He doesn't know you or love you. And he has the authority to punish you.
Do you think of God as a policeman or a judge? Are you afraid of Him? Are you afraid that He is going to punish you? Then go and speak to your pastor privately and confess your sins to him. Be ready to hear some incredible good news. Your pastor will show you that "God is love" (1 John 4:16). He is going to tell you that God won't punish you, because Jesus took away the punishment that your sins have merited. He is going to absolve you, right then and there, as the official representative of God.
I think that you will find that the perfect love of God casts out fear. The idea that God is with you always won't cause you to shudder, but will provide you comfort. You will even find yourself praying that Jesus will come again quickly and bring Judgment Day. After all, you have no reason to fear His return.
You might even find that God's perfect love changes the way you live. Often we sin out of fear. However, when God removes your fear, then you are free in Christ to take a big risk and show your neighbor some love. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O love, how deep, how broad, how high, Beyond all thought and fantasy, That God, the Son of God, should take, Our mortal form for mortals' sake! ("O Love, How Deep" LSB 544, st. 1)
— Rev. Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.
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