By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:13-18 ESV).
Today and tomorrow will be the final two in our mini-series about Halloween. We often hear that Halloween celebrates the devil and glorifies his strength, but I don’t think that’s true. I think Halloween demeans the devil. C.S. Lewis once wrote that “Above all else, the Devil cannot stand to be mocked.”, and what is Halloween but our chance to laugh in his face? Our God is stronger, the war is won! John could not have been clearer than in our text today. The resulting fact of our redemption is that God dwells in us and because of this we need have no fear. There are several principles I’d like to point us toward today.
- First, the Bible states that Jesus’ death has brought freedom from the penalty of sin. The Apostle Paul said in his sermon to the Jews in Antioch, Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39 ESV).
- Second, we are new creations built with the power of God’s Spirit in love shown through Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Timothy 1:7). There is no need for us to cower in fear before our enemy any longer. Before the resurrection we had only to look forward to the work of God; however, now we can look back to the accomplished fact of God’s great redemptive work on our behalf. It is a finished work in the process of merely unfolding.
- Third, God is greater than anything Satan can devise to recapture our lives (cf. Psalm 27). There aren’t any enemies that have not been defeated by the death of Christ. We have the perfect love of God dwelling within us. That overcomes fear!
So why do we keep tip-toeing around Halloween as if it were some insurmountable issue for us? Halloween, like all holidays, has its dark side, but we cannot allow these aspects to control our hearts. If we do, we only legitimize their authority, and show the world we have more faith in the power of our enemy than we do in the grace of God. The way I see it, we as Christians have two choices. We can cower in fear each Halloween and give the devil exactly what he wants, or we can celebrate, and reveal his impotence over the sons of God in the process. I know this opinion won’t be shared by everyone. Some Christians will still prefer to cut Halloween out of their lives entirely, and that’s ok. For me, I plan to have some fun and spend the time with my family and church. Because when you can laugh in the face of fear, even the darkest of nights doesn’t frighten us.
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