“Brimming with Confidence”
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love (1 John 4:17-18).”
Last week we examined how the Bible affirms that Christians will not face any condemnation on the Day of Judgement (Romans 8:1). But further than this, God’s people should not fear that awesome Day but can actually have well-grounded confidence that none outside of Christ can be assured of.
The key for this confidence on Judgement Day is God’s perfected love in us (1 John 4:16-19). Perfected love does not refer to flawless performance by us but rather to God’s love in us coming to completion in our actions.1 It is love that has moved from a spoken sentiment to a visible manifestation. John says that our love isn’t to be merely talk but it is to become our walk (1 John 3:18). Christian love is not something one says but something one displays, not for their own glory but as a representative of Jesus on this earth.
There may be no test more reliable in indicating Christ within us than showing our love for one another.2 Do you have God’s perfected love? Do you eagerly anticipate being together with His family at each opportunity (Hebrews 10:24-25)? That is love for the brethren in action. Do you experience vicarious joy when other saints are rejoicing and do you hurt when others are weeping (Romans 12:15)? This is loving as Jesus loves us. When you see a brother or sister in Christ lacking in some important way do you act to meet their needs (James 2:15-16, 1 John 3:16-17)? Such sacrificial love is well pleasing to God (Hebrews 13:16).
Christian, if this perfected love is bearing fruit in your walk you not only should not fear the Day of Judgement, but you may have boldness towards it. Is there anything that can match the value of such confidence as this?
John does show us the flip-side of the coin however. He who fears has not been made perfect in love (1 John 4:18). They have shut up their hearts to perfected love towards their brothers (1 John 3:17). The same test can be inversely applied to these souls. Do you forsake gathering with the people of God (Hebrews 10:25-27)? Fear accompanies this spirit. Are you jealous of other’s victories and covet them selfishly (James 4:1-2)? There is no inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God (Ephesians 5:5) with this spirit. When you see a Christian in need do you merely wish them well but fail to help them when it is in your ability to do so? This kind of faith cannot save anyone (James 2:14-17).
John wants his readers to have boldness in the Day of Judgment so he exhorts us to love one another throughout 1 John using the word for Christian love, agape, 49 times. If you love your brother you abide in the light (1 John 2:10). It is in this light that we have fellowship with one another and with Christ, Whose blood keeps on cleansing us from all sin (1 John 1:7). There is the basis for our confidence; our fellowship with each other and our common dependence on the blood of Christ. Our confidence cannot be found in perfect performance but in perfected love for one another. We have this boldness because as He has loved us so are we in this world towards His family (John 15:12, 1 John 4:17). John assures us that because of this we KNOW that we have passed from death to life (1 John 3:14). Don’t fear, love each other like He loves you and like you love Him (Matthew 25:38-40).
“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).”
Duane Warden, Ph.D., Truth For Today Commentary, 1 & 2 Peter and Jude, p.225, Resource Publications 2009, Searcy, AR