Text: 1 John 4:7-21
Verses 17-21, “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. 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. We love him, because he first loved us. 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? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
“Herein is our love made perfect,” or the love that is within us is made perfect. The general idea is that love is made complete in the manner God specifies. Love becomes what it ought to be and will prepare us to appear with confidence before the judgment seat of Christ.
“That we may have boldness in the day of judgment.” The idea here is that if we have true love for God, we will have nothing to fear in the day of judgment because as He is, so are we in this world. In other words, we ought to have the same character traits that Jesus had.
“There is no fear in love,” or real love for God does not produce fear. Guilt makes us fear for the future, but if our sins are forgiven, and we are filled with the love of God, we have nothing to fear.
“But perfect love casteth out fear.” That is, love that is complete. If we love God with all of our hearts, we need never fear Him as our Judge because perfect love gives us bold confidence and casts out fear.
Hebrews 2:14-15, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
“Because fear hath torment.” Fear is a painful and distressing emotion. We suffer from the fear of poverty, of loss, of sickness, of death, and of future problems.
“He that feareth, is not made perfect in love.” This is really food for thought: if our minds are consumed with fear and doubt, it proves that love has not yet accomplished its full work.
“We love him, because he first loved us.” Here are two thoughts regarding this short text:
- The fact that He first loved us is motivation for us to love Him.
- The reason we love Him is because He first loved us.
It is true that our love for God is usually in direct proportion to the blessings we have received from Him, but genuine love for God is something that cannot be explained by His favor or blessing we have received. We must understand that it is the very nature and character of God to love. He gave evidence of His love for us by sending His Son to redeem us, and this explains why we now love Him.
“He first loved us.” John 15:16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar.” No matter what our professions may be, we cannot have any true love for God unless we love our brethren.
“And this commandment have we from him.” The command to love a brother is as much God’s Word as to love God. If we obey one, we should obey the other; and we’ll never be true Christians unless we manifest love toward our brethren as well as toward God. There are three sure ways to measure whether or not we love God:
- Do we love one another?
- Do we love our neighbors?
- Do we love our fellow man?
Do we love them, no matter who they are? If we love our fellow man, it proves that we love God. God has much to say about the matter of proving our love for God and for people.
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Bro. Nikoley emigrated from Germany to the United States with his family at age 13. He served full time in the Nevada Air National Guard for six years. At age 32, He was saved, and in 1977, he graduated from Bible College. He pastored for over 31 years, 27 of them at Pomerado Road Baptist Church in Poway, California. Bro. Nikoley has served at Golden State Baptist College in the Bible Department and also as the Student Employment Director since 2007. He and his wife Mary have two children and have been married for 58 years.