One of the greatest human needs is to know that we are loved, but human love can be undependable, resulting in brokenness and uncertainty. The same uncertainty can occur in the Christian life, and today’s Scripture addresses those concerns.
We have several ways to be sure of our relationship with God. First, God “has given us of his Spirit” (v. 13). The Christian life does not consist of a desperate and fearful clinging to God, but of God abiding in us. We should allow that mutual relationship to confirm that God loves us.
Second, Scripture reminds us of history. The Christian life is not a collection of nice ideas and wishful thinking. At its core is the historical fact that “the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world” (v. 14). The Incarnation had eyewitnesses, and it is testified to us through Scripture and the history of Christ’s body. Anyone who confesses God’s Son is acknowledging more than a detail of history. It is the crowning act of God’s love for us, and we are exhorted to “rely on the love God has for us” (v. 16a).
Third, Scripture tells us that our individual and communal lives should encourage us about God’s love: “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (v. 16b). Later, we are told, “In this world we are like Jesus” (v. 17). The love we see among Christ’s body is an overflow of God’s love with us, and it should assure us of God’s relationship with us. Finally, all of these assurances should result in fearless confidence before God on the day of judgment. Because “there is no fear in love, perfect love drives out fear” (v. 18).