December 29, 2016

Fearless Hope

1 John 4:17-21

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

—  1 John 4:18

We’ve been exploring the Christian virtue of hope this month. You could say that the opposite of hope is despair. I think you could also make a good case for saying that the opposite of hope is fear. Fear looks at the future with worry or dread, but hope looks at the future with eager expectation.

In today’s verses we see that hope and love are closely re­lated to each other. We can look to the future and hope because of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. Because we live in hope, we are free to love one another.

Because we are loved by Jesus, we are free from the punishment for our sins. Jesus has already paid the price for our sin on the cross.

We do not need to be afraid that God will punish us someday. We do not need to be afraid of the future, because God has given us salvation and new life in Jesus Christ. God holds our future in his loving hands.

There are many things in this life that can tempt us to live in fear: the unknown, war, sickness, death. But no matter what happens, God promises that nothing can separate us from his love (Romans 8:39). Because of that love, we can live in hope, free from fear.

Do you have that hope in your life?

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess that we often feel afraid. Assure us of your love and of the hope we can have in you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Rebecca Jordan Heys

Rebecca Jordan Heys serves as a pastor at Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Kyle, are the parents of two children.

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