Good morning! Welcome to week 15 of the Quietly Through 1st John online Bible study. I’m sorry that this post wasn’t posted as early as normal. I hope I haven’t thrown your morning routine too far off. Would you please pray me as we finish up our study. We only have a few weeks left and I want to finish just as enthused as when we started. I’ll be praying for you, too. Speaking of prayer, do you have any other prayer requests? Email me, contact me through social media, or find me on Voxer. I’d love to hear from you!
The Consummation of Love
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 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. 19 We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:17-19)
Ideas to Consider
- Why is love being perfected in us? How? (v 17)
- How do we know if our love is not perfected, or mature? (v 18)
- What is the source of our love? (v 19)
(This is just a little bit of what I took away from the passage. Remember, I’m human and severely flawed. Don’t just take my words as God’s truth. Be sure to be led by the Spirit, not me.)
Context, context, context. This passage only makes sense if you remember to connect it to the previous passage.
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this… (1 John 4:16-17, NKJV)
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. (1 John 4:16-17, NLT)
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… (1 John 4:16-17, ESV)
In other words, our love is made perfect as we abide in Christ. Perfect agape love doesn’t grow apart from Jesus. As we become aware of and familiar with God’s love for us (which happens through abiding in Him) our love matures. Our love for Him and for others begins to look like His for us. Our love turns from self-motivated love to others-motivated love. It begins to be — not just look — more like Christ’s love for us. And because of this we can appear before God with confidence at the day of judgement.
We need to know that the future holds two days of judgment. One for non-believers (Revelation 20:11-15) and one for believers (2 Corinthians 5:10). Non-believers will stand before God without an advocate and be judged according to what they have done with their lives here on earth. And since none of us on our own, Christian or not, have anything holy to offer God, it will be a sad, sad day to be a part of.
The judgement day for believers is the day that John is referring to in verse 18. Remember that John is writing to Christians here — people who have been saved by grace through faith. Believers will stand with their Advocate, Jesus Christ, and they will be judged based on what Jesus has done for them and through them. It won’t be a day of punishment, but rather a day of reward. (I don’t understand the reward part, so lets save this topic for another day.)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
On this day of judgement we will be able to appear boldly, or with confidence, because we will know God’s love and because, as we abided in Christ, we were made more like Him day by day — our selfish love was transformed into His selfless love.
Love that allows us to stand with confidence before God is also love that expels any fears we have of being punished by God. We no longer need to be afraid of Him.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. (1 John 4:18, NLT)
Again, as we abide in Christ we become aware of and familiar with God’s love for us. His desire is not to punish us for our sins. That’s why He sent Jesus to the cross — Jesus took the punishment for us. God’s desire is that we have fellowship with Him. He wants unbroken intimacy with each of us. Knowing this love removes our fears of God wrath.
Knowing this love is also the reason we are able to love others. God’s true love is the source of our true love. Simply put, “we love because He first loved us” (v 19). It doesn’t really need to be said any other way.
Lord in heaven, thank you for the perfecting work that you are doing in me. I do not deserve your love. I do not deserve to be transformed or made to love like you, but you do the work anyway. Thank you for loving me in a way that cast out my fears and gives me confidence in your desire for me, your child. I know that I do not love perfectly. I know that I still “love” for selfish reasons. So I confess this sin to you now and trust that you forgive me and will cleanse me of this unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Today, I choose again to abide in your Son. Please do not allow me to forget my choice or become distracted from your love. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
- How do we become familiar with God’s love?
- Are you confident or fearful of the day of judgement? Why?
- If you are fearful, how will abiding in Christ conquer this fear?
- How does abiding in Christ lead to confidence on the day of judgement?
- Do you find it difficult to love as God loves? How often do you meditate on His love for you?
FURTHER STUDY IDEAS
Here are a few study ideas to do between now and next Tuesday. I suggest doing one or two a day in order to keep you thinking about the passage all week long.
- Start or continue a double entry journal.
- Hand write the passage.
- Did this passage make you think of other passages in the Bible? Share those passages with the rest of us in the comments.
- Read 1 John 4:7-21, ignoring any subtitles or passage breaks.
- Write a summary of what you’ve learned from this passage. If you are a blogger, write a post and share it in the next #QuietlyThroughThursday LINK UP.
- Read 1 John 1-5 all the way through.
Need to catch-up with the series? Click the image below.