When I started this study, I aimed to prove that God' love remains complete and that His believers reside in His love. I wanted to demonstrate that when believers are imperfect, God perfectly loves them. This understanding is true. God loved us first, so much so that He sent His Son as our sacrifice. In this sacrificial love, God tells us that we do not need to fear the Day of Judgement. Fearing Judgment Day means that we have not embraced the salvation that He has provided. At this point, I wanted the study to be complete. I wanted to know and allow others to know that there is no fear in God's love and judgment. His love is perfect and complete. However, in His perfect love, God prompts us to respond to make it complete.
In I John 4:15, John indicates that whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and him in God. By examining the historical context, we understand that John addressed Christians who needed to believe and commit to Jesus being in the flesh. This declaration meant publically testifying to the truth. It also meant being ostracized from one's community. Therefore, the declaration had consequences. People knew that those who confessed embraced a lifestyle contradictory to their own culture. Most Christians in the western world do not endure such hardships for their faith. Instead, they have the freedom to profess Christ without any persecution. In such freedom, it is easy to not fully grasp the implications of the sacrifice of one's faith. However, John understood that faith alone did not foster the indwelling of God's love. Even though God first loved us, Christians are called to respond to this love. Furthermore, John describes the appropriate response of believers.
Initially, when I read 1 John 4:16, I assumed that I just needed to know and believe in God's love for me. The outcome of such faith allowed me to dwell in God's love. However, when I kept searching the Word, I discovered that this belief depends on Christ being in the flesh and dying for my sins. I easily clung to this understanding. Jesus' sacrifice allows me to be alive today and free from my sinful character. On the other hand, I ended up wrestling with the "and" of this knowledge. Reading the Bible requires time to search out the hidden trues and to discover how everything interconnects. When I was willing to do this, I noticed that John stated that those who keep God's Word and love his brother, God abides in them and His love is made complete in them (1 John 2:5; 4:12). God's love becomes complete in me each time I read and obey His Word or love my fellow brother or sister. Therefore, it becomes imperative that I read the Bible. It is also essential that I love others. When I am not reading or loving others, I halt God's love working in my being. As I reflected, I remembered those times when I did not feel connected with God. I also remember those times where people bothered me, or they infuriate me. In those moments, I remembered that I stopped reading my Bible or praying. I became very selfish only thinking of my needs. I also realized that I started to believe that God did not love me or have my best interest at heart. Therefore, even though I did not want to admit it or want to believe the scriptures; I knew they were accurate when stating that God's love prompts a response. In this response, I walk in the Light, fellowship with others, and am cleansed from my sins through Christ (1 John 1:7). In this response, I proclaim my faith and dwell in God's love.