I John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, 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 casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
God reminds us that it is important to live by God’s love. We know that God is love. He gives His love to His children. He expects His children to live by His love. In verse 17 we read that our love is made perfect. The word translated as “perfect” means “made complete”. God’s love is perfect but we do not exemplify that perfection. However, His love needs to be taking a greater effect on His children over time. As we function more and more under His love, we can have boldness in the day of judgment. We can trust that we will be able to avoid loss of reward if we function under His love. True saints will appear at the judgment seat of Christ.
True saints need to take their direction from the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to be like Him in this world. We know that Peter and John demonstrated that they had been with Jesus. The people did not appreciate them, but they could see they had been with Jesus. That is what people need to see in those who are saved today as well.
In verse 18 we have two different Greek words used for the words “perfect” The first word “perfect” in verse 18 is speaking of that which is complete, which is God’s love. The second word “perfect” is speaking of that love working in us. Our response to God’s perfect love is not complete, but needs to become more complete as we live out our lives. When we live in God’s perfect love, It will cast out fear. The angel told the shepherds not to fear. They were seeing something unique. God was not coming to destroy them, but to make a glorious announcement to them.
We have had opportunity to learn this love over the past three years. Not many learned this important lesson. Most are still living in apprehension of a virus that is no worse than influenza A. Many people should be in fear of the poison shots they took. The detrimental effects of those shots are being revealed in those who took them. Instead of the years of research that normally takes place before a shot is released to the public, the public is being used for research purposes now. This is against the Nuremberg code but none of that matters to the elites.
Christians do not know everything; however, Christians are children of the One Who does know everything. As we pray and study we can understand the nature of the devil and we can also understand the times in which we are living. True churches help their people to navigate through the current times in a successful manner just as past generations did. True churches need to be building on the truth. They need to be operating under that perfect love of God.
Fear hath torment. Those who live in fear take out that fear in different ways. Some cannot rest and take drugs to settle down. Others turn to violence because they cannot handle the stress of their fears. As we see in verse 18, the person who lives in fear has not been made perfect in love. That person is not living within the bounds of God’s love. They demonstrate that by their words and actions.
Verse 19 is one of the shortest verses in the Bible, but it is also very powerful. No person would love God, if He did not show His love to us first. Jesus Christ is the clearest picture of the love of God. Jesus Christ left heaven’s glory to come to the earth and be abused by mankind as a servant. He allowed wicked people to try to test Him in many ways. They were all being led by the devil. When Jesus was tempted of the devil in Luke 4:13, we read that after he failed to get Jesus to fall, he left him for a season. Satan was always looking for a way to cause Jesus to fall. He never succeeded but he tried hard. Jesus put up with all of that for the purpose of going to the cross and suffering and dying there for our sins. He willingly laid down His life and shed His blood for the sheep.
In verse 20 we are again reminded that if we profess to love God, but hate our brother, we are liars. Love is expressed in speaking the truth. It is expressed in living the truth. In Mark 10 we read of a man who came running up to Jesus with an important question. He wanted to know what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus gave him an answer to which the man declared that he had done all of that. In verse 21 we read that Jesus beheld this man with love. Jesus loved this man. He wanted this man to know His peace. He told the man what was lacking in his heart and life. The man did not like the answer and walked away a lost man. Jesus told this man the truth. He wanted this man to be set free. He wanted this man to have eternal life. He could not earn this. He needed to humble himself and receive it. The man did not want to do this.
There are many today who are not interested in the truth. They want to be blessed but they want it on their own terms. This will never work. It cannot work.
John continued to ask how a man can love God whom he has not seen, if he will not love his brother whom he has seen. It cannot work.
In verse 21 we have the final statement of this chapter. Love is a central theme in this chapter. Here we are reminded that we have been given a commandment from God. This is not to say that we need to try to manufacture love. We see many examples of manufactured love in our world. We are told that a man can lust after a woman and deceive her into going to bed with him because he “loves” her. We hear of many distortions of love in our world. The love that John wrote about is the love of God. There is no distortion in that love. It is pure and it is needed by all.
Those who love God must love their brother also. God will not accept a declaration of love for Him if we cannot love our brother, whom He provided salvation for. We cannot use others as stepping stones to a “better” place. We need to work with others to bring them along as they seek to bring us along to a greater love for God and man.
This is again why the local church is so important. How do you demonstrate your love for your brother if you do not know him and have no interest in knowing him. The local church is designed as the place where brothers and sisters in Christ meet to learn of God and to fellowship with Him and with one another. A Christian is deficient if he is not obedient to that which God has given for his growth and spiritual health.
Let us be those who love, not just in word, but also in deed.