Full of love
In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. 1 John 4:17-18 CSB
A few weeks ago, we read briefly on how believers can be confident on the day of judgment when Christ returns, as seen in 1 John 2:28, “So now, little children, remain in him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” John then combines the idea of the love that should be displayed in a believer’s life towards others with the confidence to be in the presence of Jesus in the end without shame. The confidence is born out of knowing that one has lived a life loving God and loving others in the manner that God had loved them, “as He is, so also are we in this world.” John keeps on coming back on the theme that “God is love.” And since believers experienced this love from God when they accepted that Christ’s death at the cross was sufficient to save a sinner, all the more they understand the love of God. This love of God ensures confidence for it dispels fear. John writes that “fear involves punishment.” One who loves as Christ loves should not be fearful in the end, for instead of expecting punishment, they should be expecting Christ honoring them, as seen in John 12:26, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” In light of this idea, if one is a growing believer, yet is still experiencing that fear within them of disappointing Christ if He were to return right then and there, there is still some maturing needed, growing in the love of God, for “the one who fears is not complete in love.” The love of God in the life of believers motivates them to live like Christ. “Whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete. This is how we know we are in him: The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked” (1 John 2:5-6). Bible commentator Max Anders summed up our text today saying, “A person who lives in love toward God has nothing to fear on the day of judgment.” Therefore, believers should have confidence in the life they live as they pursue loving the Lord with everything that they are and love others as Christ has loved them.
Isaac De Guzman