“Perfect love casts out fear.” What does that even mean? Let’s look…
19 As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.
What is God’s heart? It is expressed in two verses,
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten [one and only] Son, that whoever believes [entrusts] in Him shall not perish [be lost, be destroyed, wander away to his detriment, be annihilated], but have eternal life [life with no end]. John 3:16
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect [mature, complete] love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
The type of relationship that Jesus wants with us is one that is complete and mature; it’s a perfect love the is tied up in unity and oneness. “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21). I know that there are verses that tell us to fear God. I can only say that my Western ideological mind cannot separate fear and God, but the verses I quoted previously demand that I do so. Fear causes us to keep our distance, and that is the LAST thing that Jesus wants.
So, based upon this “new” concept, I am going to “forget” going to heaven or going to hell and focus on my current relationship with Jesus. I feel that when I am concerned about the future, it creates a tension in me that leads to fear. When I think about all the people who might be dying and going to hell, I know it creates tension in me that leads to fear. So, I have decided that I don’t know enough about either one to make an educated decision. In fact, I don’t know anyone who does. It’s funny that Jesus invited people to be a part of His kingdom, and He promised them that “whoever hears His word and believes him [God] who sent Him has eternal life He does not come into judgment, but has [already] passed from death to life” (John 5:24), but when He talked about the afterlife, it was with the present life in mind (see Matthew 25:45-46). Jesus was much more interested in their state of mind and their actions in this life. I believe that we should be the same. It’s a matter of trust. If we trust Jesus, then we will not worry about our future. I also trust that Jesus will reveal Himself to everyone at one time or another so that they have a decision just like us, but that’s His business; we only get involved if He asks us to.
I’m not copping out on evangelism; I’m just leaving it up to Jesus. According to Experiencing God,
We can trust the heavenly Father. In trusting Him, He casts fear out of us as if it were a demon so that we can know Him on a level of intimacy that goes beyond this world. We experience the Fellowship of the Trinity. I don’t understand it all, but I’m learning to trust Him. I pray you are, too.
Abba, I am learning to not fear You, but to trust You. It’s hard because I grew up fearing hell and an angry picture of You. But, Jesus shows me that You are a loving God, full of mercy and grace, and that You pour out both on everyone who trusts You. I am truly grateful! Teach me, O Lord, to “unlearn what I have learned,” and to trust in what the Spirit is saying to me through Jesus’ words. Amen.