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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 John 4:17

 

 

By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Herein is our love made perfect - By God dwelling in us, and we in him; having cast out all the carnal mind that was enmity against himself, and filled the whole heart with the spirit of love and purity. Thus the love is made perfect; when it thus fills the heart it has all its degrees; it is all in all; and all in every power, passion, and faculty of the soul.

May have boldness in the day of judgment - Παρῥησιαν· Freedom of speech, and liberty of access; seeing in the person of our Judge, him who has died for us, regenerated our hearts, and who himself fills them.

As he is - Pure, holy, and loving; so are we in this world; being saved from our sins, and made like to himself in righteousness and true holiness. No man can contemplate the day of judgment with any comfort or satisfaction but on this ground, that the blood of Christ hath cleansed him from all sin, and that he is kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation. This will give him boldness in the day of judgment.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-john-4.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Herein is our love made perfect - Margin, “love with us.” The margin accords with the Greek - μεθ ̓ ἡμῶν meth'hēmōnThe meaning is, “the love that is within us, or in us, is made perfect.” The expression is unusual; but the general idea is, that love is rendered complete or entire in the manner in which the apostle specifies. In this way love becomes what it should be, and will prepare us to appear with confidence before the judgment-seat. Compare the notes at 1 John 4:12.

That we may have boldness in the day of judgment - By the influence of love in delivering us from the fear of the wrath to come, 1 John 4:18. The idea is, that he who has true love to God will have nothing to fear in the day of judgment, and may even approach the awful tribunal where he is to receive the sentence which shall determine his everlasting destiny without alarm.

Because as he is, so are we in this world - That is, we have the same traits of character which the Saviour had, and, resembling him, we need not be alarmed at the prospect of meeting him.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-john-4.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 John 4:17

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of Judgment

The perfection of love

I.
“Herein is our love made perfect.” Love is like every other grace in the Christian bosom, susceptible of various degrees of intensity. It is our duty to aim at perfection in all things, and eminently in love. Our happiness is bound up in our attainment of it. Just as we advance in this grace we secure our growing peace and prosperity.

II. A blessed effect of evidence of such love. “That we may have boldness in the day of judgment.” What are we to understand by the day of judgment? We are certainly not to exclude from our thoughts days of trial, such as may come upon us in the course of life, or at death. Nor can we doubt that the perfection of love would greatly contribute to our boldness at such times. But the mind of the apostle is manifestly directed to the final judgment. In that dread hour they who have cultivated the grace of love shall be enabled to meet it with boldness. How so? This boldness cannot be said to arise out of love as the reason or ground of it. Were it so viewed, its deficiencies would fill us with terror and cover us with confusion. Neither our love nor any other grace can be pleaded for our acceptance at the bar of God. Yet there is an important sense in which boldness in the day of judgment is dependent on the cultivation of love. As love is cultivated, the evidence of our union with Christ is manifested.

III. How may love be so exercised and advanced as to lead us into this holy and happy boldness? “Because as He is, so are we in this world.” It is by studying conformity to Christ our love is strengthened, and the evidence of our union with Him is made clear.

IV. The argument by which the apostle confirms and illustrates his views (1 John 4:18).

1. The nature of love--“There is no fear in love.”

2. More strongly the same view is presented in the operation of love--“perfect love casteth out fear.”

3. This view is farther confirmed by the very nature of fear. “Fear hath torment.” We avoid the person whom we fear.

4. Finally, the operation of fear is to destroy love. “He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” How powerful, then, is this argument for the cultivation of love. Would we be happy in God now, and would we meet Him at last with joy? Then let us love Him. (J. Morgan, D. D.)

Perfect love

1. Love is capable of many degrees; it is the same principle in its commencement as in its termination, the difference being not in the quality, but in the amount; and this must be ever borne in mind in our dealing with inquiring and awakened souls. The weak and just commencing child of God should not be cast down and believe that because he is imperfect in love he therefore has no love. In estimating of the condition of men’s minds with regard to the degree of love which they possess, we take many things into account. There are some upon whom the consciousness of Christ’s sacrifice comes with such tremendous power that they are melted and subdued at once, and withal attracted to the One who displayed such wondrous love toward them. There are others who have attained this consciousness by slow degrees, and so gradually become acquainted with their Lord that from the very gentleness of the way in which they have been led on, they themselves realise more the simple fact that they love than that they are made to love. There are some who have naturally unloving hearts to be changed, and some who have loving hearts to be consecrated; and the processes of God’s actings are so different, and hearts are so varied in their constitution that we can scarce expect to find any two exactly alike. Be encouraged, but be not satisfied, ye who find some love within yourselves; pray and strive for an increase.

2. Love, then, may exist in different degrees; it is further capable of high attainment. Can anyone amongst us produce a reason why he should not be enabled to love as much as Peter, Paul, or John? Can anyone show us anything so supremely bad in his own natural disposition, or so supremely good in that of these apostles, that it is a moral impossibility that he can ever do as they did? or can any prove that the actings of the Spirit are more limited in our case than they were in theirs, and that assistances were given to them which by God’s decrees are withheld from us? There lies before you a glorious course, if only you will run upon it; a magnificent possession, if only you will lay hold of it; an exquisite state, if only you will enter on it. Allow yourselves to be carried on by the Spirit.

3. Thus we see that love may be of different degrees, and also that it is capable of high attainment; we would observe further that it is able to produce a great result. The songs of poets, the tales of real life, the stern records of history, are all full of the triumphs of love; and fallen though we be, love has won more victories than all else beside. When love is true, it is impregnable by assault, it is irresistible in attack, it is indestructible by time; it is not spent by its efforts, it is not wearied out by its vigils; firm in its grasp, yet tender in its touch, that which it lays hold of escapes not from it, that which it caresses is not injured by it. Love is a watcher and love is a warrior--love is a servant and love is a king. True love in things spiritual as well as in things temporal is omnipotent; he who loves most will believe most, and in his faith and love will win the highest goal. (P. B. Power, M. A.)

The triumph of Christ-like love

I. The description of spiritual attainment. “Herein is our love made perfect.” None can doubt that being as the Son of God is in this world is the only possible perfection, and the only ground of “boldness in the day of judgment.” The text shows--First. An attainment of affection to God. God wins our hearts by His love; we then love Him more and more. Secondly. An attainment of complete affection to God. In this asserted perfection of our love there is clearly a recognition of the supremacy of our affection.

II. The adduced evidence of that attainment. “Because,” etc. This clause seems to belong both to our being made perfect in love and our having boldness in the day of judgment. First. The meekness of Christ is reproduced in His followers. Secondly. The endurance of Christ characterises Christians. “Who endureth such contradiction of sinners against Himself.” Thirdly. The truth witnessing of Christ is seen in His disciples. “I am the truth.”

III. The divine design in our evidenced attainment in Christ-like love. “That we may have boldness,” etc. First: This is not an evil boldness, or a boldness in evil (Ecclesiastes 8:1). It is not--

Secondly. This is a holy boldness (Hebrews 10:19). It is--

Boldness in the day of judgment

I. Examine the general conception of “the day of the judgment,” as given in the New Testament. But against one somewhat widely spread way of blotting the day of judgment from the calendar of the future--so far as believers are concerned--we should be on our guard. Some good men think themselves entitled to reason thus: “I am a Christian. I shall be an assessor in the judgment. For me there is therefore no judgment day.” The only appeal to Scripture which such persons make, with any show of plausibility, is contained in an exposition of our Lord’s teaching in John 5:21; John 5:29. But clearly there are three resurrection scenes which may be discriminated in those words. The first is spiritual, a present awakening of dead souls, in those with whom the Son of Man is brought into contact in His earthly ministry. The second is a department of the same spiritual resurrection. The Son of God, with that mysterious gift of life in Himself, has within Him a perpetual spring of rejuvenescence for a faded and dying world. A renewal of hearts is in process during all the days of time, a passage for soul after soul out of death into life. The third scene is the general resurrection and general judgment. The first was the resurrection of comparatively few; the second of many; the third of all.

1. General history points to a general judgment. If there is no such judgment to come, then there is no one definite moral purpose in human society. Progress would be a melancholy word, deceptive appearance, a stream that has no issue, a road that leads nowhere.

2. If there is to be no day of the general judgment, then the million prophecies of conscience will be belied, and our nature prove to be mendacious to its very roots.

II. The removal of that terror which accompanies the conception of the day of judgment, and of the sole means of that emancipation which St. John recognises. For terror there is in every point of the repeated descriptions of Scripture--in the surroundings, in the summons, in the tribunal, in the trial, in one of the two sentences. “Boldness!” It is the splendid word which denotes the citizen’s right of free speech, the masculine privilege of courageous liberty. It is the tender word which expresses the child’s unhesitating confidence, in “saying all out” to the parent. The ground of the boldness is conformity to Christ. Because “as He is,” with that vivid idealising sense, frequent in St. John when he uses it of our Lord--“as He is,” delineated in the fourth Gospel, seen by “the eye of the heart” with constant reverence in the soul, with adoring wonder in heaven, perfectly true, pure, and righteous--“even so” (not, of course, with any equality in degree to that consummate idea, but with a likeness ever growing, an aspiration ever advancing)--“so are we in this world,” purifying ourselves as He is pure. (Bp. Wm. Alexander.)

Because as He is, so are we in this world--

Christ’s poverty in relation to our selfishness and luxury

It is too common to fix our thoughts almost exclusively on the Redeemer’s death, and to leave out of sight the nature and tenor of the life preceding. St. John gives us a corrective of this view. He says that in those who will not be afraid to meet Christ when He appears on His judgment throne, the spirit, character, and habit that belong to Jesus now in glory, as they belonged to Him when on earth, shall be in them. The outward manner of His life, the kind of circumstance which clothed Him here cannot, of course, be reproduced, but the way in which He behaved under those circumstances, the disposition with which He met them, must mark everyone of His disciples--“as He is, so are we in this world.” Now, Christ’s earthly life was distinctly one of poverty. House or property of His own He had none. Now, if our Lord’s poverty encourage the poor and the poor family to struggle against the lowering influence of their lot, to keep themselves respectable and orderly, consider with what earnest pleadings it seems to address all richer folk, especially in an age like our own. Society is fastidious and extravagant. Entertainments are reckoned, not by the pleasure which they are calculated to give, but by their variety and costliness. Turn upon these aspects of our modern civilisation the light of Jesus’ life in that noble endurance of poverty, that abiding sense of the real value of life, which consisteth not in the abundance of the goods which a man possesseth, that unswerving devotion to His Father’s will which constituted His very meat. His example may yet prove our safety, if we will follow it. (D. Trinder, M. A.)

The servant as his Lord

The connection of my text is quite as striking as its substance. John has been dwelling upon his favourite thought that to abide in love is abiding in God, and God in us. And then he goes on to say that “Herein”--that is, in such mutual abiding in love--“is love made perfect with us.”

I. A Christian is Christ’s living likeness. It is the Christ as He is, and not only--true as that is--the Christ as He was, who is the original of which Christian men are copies. Is there anything, then, within the glory to which I, in my poor, struggling, imperfect life here on earth, can feel that my character is being shaped? Surely there is. I have no doubt that, in the words of my text, the apostle is remembering the solemn words of our Lord’s high priestly prayer, “I in Thee, and Thou in Me, that they also may be in us.” Or, to put the whole thing into plainer words, it is the religious and the moral aspects of Christ’s being, and not any one particular detail thereof. And these, as they live and reign on the throne, just as truly as these, as they suffered and wept upon earth, it is these to which it is our destiny to be conformed. We are like Him, if we are His, in this, that we are joined to God, that we hold fellowship with Him, that our lives are all permeated with the Divine. And thus “we,” even here, “bear the image of the heavenly, as we have borne the images of the earthly.” But, then, I have another point that I desire to refer to. I have put an emphasis upon the “is” instead of the “was,” as it applies to Jesus Christ. I would further put an emphasis upon the “are,” as it applies to us--“so are we.” John is not exhorting, he is affirming. He is not saying what Christian men ought to strive to be, but he is saying what all Christian men, by virtue of their Christian character, are. Or, to put it into other words, likeness to the Master is certain. It is inevitably involved in the relation which a Christian man bears to the Lord. My text suggests that to us by its addition, “So are we, in this world.” The “world”--or to use the modern phraseology, “the environment”--conditions the resemblance. As far as it is possible for a thing encompassed with dust and ashes to resemble the radiant sun in the heavens, so far is the resemblance carried here. Now, you Christian people, does that plain statement touch you anywhere? “So are we.” Well! you would be quite easy if John had said, “So may we be; so should we be; so shall we be.” But what about the “so are we”? What a ghastly contradiction the lives of multitudes of professing Christians are to that plain statement! The world has for the illustrations of the gospel the lives of us Christian people. In the Book there are principles and facts, and readers should be able to turn the page and see all pictured in us. That is what you have got to do in this world. “As the Father sent Me, even so I send you.” “As He is, so are we in this world.” It may be our antagonist, but it is our sphere, and its presence is necessary to evoke our characters. Christ has entrusted His reputation, His honour, to us.

II. Such likeness to Jesus Christ is the only thing that will enable a man to lift up his head in the day of judgment. “We have boldness,” says John, because “as He is, so are we.” Now, that is a very strong statement of a truth that popular evangelical theology has far too much obscured. People talk about being, at the last, accepted in the beloved. It is true! But do not let us forget the other side, that the question put to every man will be, not what you believe, but what did you do, and what are you? And I want to lay that upon your hearts, because many of us are too apt to forget it, that whilst unquestionably the beginning of the salvation, and the condition of forgiveness here, and of acceptance hereafter, is laid in trust in Jesus Christ, that trust is sure to work out a character which is in conformity with His requirements and moulded after the likeness of Himself. The judgment of God is according to the truth, and what a man is determines where a man shall be, and what he shall receive through all eternity.

III. The process by which this likeness is secured. Our love is made perfect by dwelling in God, and God in us; in order that we may be thus conformed to Christ’s likeness, and so have boldness in that great day. To be like Jesus Christ, what is needed is that we love Him, and that we keep in touch with Him. But remember such abiding is no idle waiting, no passive confidence. It is full of energy, full of suppression, when necessary, of what is contrary to your truest self; and full of strenuous cultivation of that which is in accord with the will of the Father. Lie in the light, and you will become light. Abide in Christ, and you will get like Christ. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 John 4:17". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-john-4.html. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 John 4:17

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of Judgment

The perfection of love

I.
“Herein is our love made perfect.” Love is like every other grace in the Christian bosom, susceptible of various degrees of intensity. It is our duty to aim at perfection in all things, and eminently in love. Our happiness is bound up in our attainment of it. Just as we advance in this grace we secure our growing peace and prosperity.

II. A blessed effect of evidence of such love. “That we may have boldness in the day of judgment.” What are we to understand by the day of judgment? We are certainly not to exclude from our thoughts days of trial, such as may come upon us in the course of life, or at death. Nor can we doubt that the perfection of love would greatly contribute to our boldness at such times. But the mind of the apostle is manifestly directed to the final judgment. In that dread hour they who have cultivated the grace of love shall be enabled to meet it with boldness. How so? This boldness cannot be said to arise out of love as the reason or ground of it. Were it so viewed, its deficiencies would fill us with terror and cover us with confusion. Neither our love nor any other grace can be pleaded for our acceptance at the bar of God. Yet there is an important sense in which boldness in the day of judgment is dependent on the cultivation of love. As love is cultivated, the evidence of our union with Christ is manifested.

III. How may love be so exercised and advanced as to lead us into this holy and happy boldness? “Because as He is, so are we in this world.” It is by studying conformity to Christ our love is strengthened, and the evidence of our union with Him is made clear.

IV. The argument by which the apostle confirms and illustrates his views (1 John 4:18).

1. The nature of love--“There is no fear in love.”

2. More strongly the same view is presented in the operation of love--“perfect love casteth out fear.”

3. This view is farther confirmed by the very nature of fear. “Fear hath torment.” We avoid the person whom we fear.

4. Finally, the operation of fear is to destroy love. “He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” How powerful, then, is this argument for the cultivation of love. Would we be happy in God now, and would we meet Him at last with joy? Then let us love Him. (J. Morgan, D. D.)

Perfect love

1. Love is capable of many degrees; it is the same principle in its commencement as in its termination, the difference being not in the quality, but in the amount; and this must be ever borne in mind in our dealing with inquiring and awakened souls. The weak and just commencing child of God should not be cast down and believe that because he is imperfect in love he therefore has no love. In estimating of the condition of men’s minds with regard to the degree of love which they possess, we take many things into account. There are some upon whom the consciousness of Christ’s sacrifice comes with such tremendous power that they are melted and subdued at once, and withal attracted to the One who displayed such wondrous love toward them. There are others who have attained this consciousness by slow degrees, and so gradually become acquainted with their Lord that from the very gentleness of the way in which they have been led on, they themselves realise more the simple fact that they love than that they are made to love. There are some who have naturally unloving hearts to be changed, and some who have loving hearts to be consecrated; and the processes of God’s actings are so different, and hearts are so varied in their constitution that we can scarce expect to find any two exactly alike. Be encouraged, but be not satisfied, ye who find some love within yourselves; pray and strive for an increase.

2. Love, then, may exist in different degrees; it is further capable of high attainment. Can anyone amongst us produce a reason why he should not be enabled to love as much as Peter, Paul, or John? Can anyone show us anything so supremely bad in his own natural disposition, or so supremely good in that of these apostles, that it is a moral impossibility that he can ever do as they did? or can any prove that the actings of the Spirit are more limited in our case than they were in theirs, and that assistances were given to them which by God’s decrees are withheld from us? There lies before you a glorious course, if only you will run upon it; a magnificent possession, if only you will lay hold of it; an exquisite state, if only you will enter on it. Allow yourselves to be carried on by the Spirit.

3. Thus we see that love may be of different degrees, and also that it is capable of high attainment; we would observe further that it is able to produce a great result. The songs of poets, the tales of real life, the stern records of history, are all full of the triumphs of love; and fallen though we be, love has won more victories than all else beside. When love is true, it is impregnable by assault, it is irresistible in attack, it is indestructible by time; it is not spent by its efforts, it is not wearied out by its vigils; firm in its grasp, yet tender in its touch, that which it lays hold of escapes not from it, that which it caresses is not injured by it. Love is a watcher and love is a warrior--love is a servant and love is a king. True love in things spiritual as well as in things temporal is omnipotent; he who loves most will believe most, and in his faith and love will win the highest goal. (P. B. Power, M. A.)

The triumph of Christ-like love

I. The description of spiritual attainment. “Herein is our love made perfect.” None can doubt that being as the Son of God is in this world is the only possible perfection, and the only ground of “boldness in the day of judgment.” The text shows--First. An attainment of affection to God. God wins our hearts by His love; we then love Him more and more. Secondly. An attainment of complete affection to God. In this asserted perfection of our love there is clearly a recognition of the supremacy of our affection.

II. The adduced evidence of that attainment. “Because,” etc. This clause seems to belong both to our being made perfect in love and our having boldness in the day of judgment. First. The meekness of Christ is reproduced in His followers. Secondly. The endurance of Christ characterises Christians. “Who endureth such contradiction of sinners against Himself.” Thirdly. The truth witnessing of Christ is seen in His disciples. “I am the truth.”

III. The divine design in our evidenced attainment in Christ-like love. “That we may have boldness,” etc. First: This is not an evil boldness, or a boldness in evil (Ecclesiastes 8:1). It is not--

Secondly. This is a holy boldness (Hebrews 10:19). It is--

Boldness in the day of judgment

I. Examine the general conception of “the day of the judgment,” as given in the New Testament. But against one somewhat widely spread way of blotting the day of judgment from the calendar of the future--so far as believers are concerned--we should be on our guard. Some good men think themselves entitled to reason thus: “I am a Christian. I shall be an assessor in the judgment. For me there is therefore no judgment day.” The only appeal to Scripture which such persons make, with any show of plausibility, is contained in an exposition of our Lord’s teaching in John 5:21; John 5:29. But clearly there are three resurrection scenes which may be discriminated in those words. The first is spiritual, a present awakening of dead souls, in those with whom the Son of Man is brought into contact in His earthly ministry. The second is a department of the same spiritual resurrection. The Son of God, with that mysterious gift of life in Himself, has within Him a perpetual spring of rejuvenescence for a faded and dying world. A renewal of hearts is in process during all the days of time, a passage for soul after soul out of death into life. The third scene is the general resurrection and general judgment. The first was the resurrection of comparatively few; the second of many; the third of all.

1. General history points to a general judgment. If there is no such judgment to come, then there is no one definite moral purpose in human society. Progress would be a melancholy word, deceptive appearance, a stream that has no issue, a road that leads nowhere.

2. If there is to be no day of the general judgment, then the million prophecies of conscience will be belied, and our nature prove to be mendacious to its very roots.

II. The removal of that terror which accompanies the conception of the day of judgment, and of the sole means of that emancipation which St. John recognises. For terror there is in every point of the repeated descriptions of Scripture--in the surroundings, in the summons, in the tribunal, in the trial, in one of the two sentences. “Boldness!” It is the splendid word which denotes the citizen’s right of free speech, the masculine privilege of courageous liberty. It is the tender word which expresses the child’s unhesitating confidence, in “saying all out” to the parent. The ground of the boldness is conformity to Christ. Because “as He is,” with that vivid idealising sense, frequent in St. John when he uses it of our Lord--“as He is,” delineated in the fourth Gospel, seen by “the eye of the heart” with constant reverence in the soul, with adoring wonder in heaven, perfectly true, pure, and righteous--“even so” (not, of course, with any equality in degree to that consummate idea, but with a likeness ever growing, an aspiration ever advancing)--“so are we in this world,” purifying ourselves as He is pure. (Bp. Wm. Alexander.)

Because as He is, so are we in this world--

Christ’s poverty in relation to our selfishness and luxury

It is too common to fix our thoughts almost exclusively on the Redeemer’s death, and to leave out of sight the nature and tenor of the life preceding. St. John gives us a corrective of this view. He says that in those who will not be afraid to meet Christ when He appears on His judgment throne, the spirit, character, and habit that belong to Jesus now in glory, as they belonged to Him when on earth, shall be in them. The outward manner of His life, the kind of circumstance which clothed Him here cannot, of course, be reproduced, but the way in which He behaved under those circumstances, the disposition with which He met them, must mark everyone of His disciples--“as He is, so are we in this world.” Now, Christ’s earthly life was distinctly one of poverty. House or property of His own He had none. Now, if our Lord’s poverty encourage the poor and the poor family to struggle against the lowering influence of their lot, to keep themselves respectable and orderly, consider with what earnest pleadings it seems to address all richer folk, especially in an age like our own. Society is fastidious and extravagant. Entertainments are reckoned, not by the pleasure which they are calculated to give, but by their variety and costliness. Turn upon these aspects of our modern civilisation the light of Jesus’ life in that noble endurance of poverty, that abiding sense of the real value of life, which consisteth not in the abundance of the goods which a man possesseth, that unswerving devotion to His Father’s will which constituted His very meat. His example may yet prove our safety, if we will follow it. (D. Trinder, M. A.)

The servant as his Lord

The connection of my text is quite as striking as its substance. John has been dwelling upon his favourite thought that to abide in love is abiding in God, and God in us. And then he goes on to say that “Herein”--that is, in such mutual abiding in love--“is love made perfect with us.”

I. A Christian is Christ’s living likeness. It is the Christ as He is, and not only--true as that is--the Christ as He was, who is the original of which Christian men are copies. Is there anything, then, within the glory to which I, in my poor, struggling, imperfect life here on earth, can feel that my character is being shaped? Surely there is. I have no doubt that, in the words of my text, the apostle is remembering the solemn words of our Lord’s high priestly prayer, “I in Thee, and Thou in Me, that they also may be in us.” Or, to put the whole thing into plainer words, it is the religious and the moral aspects of Christ’s being, and not any one particular detail thereof. And these, as they live and reign on the throne, just as truly as these, as they suffered and wept upon earth, it is these to which it is our destiny to be conformed. We are like Him, if we are His, in this, that we are joined to God, that we hold fellowship with Him, that our lives are all permeated with the Divine. And thus “we,” even here, “bear the image of the heavenly, as we have borne the images of the earthly.” But, then, I have another point that I desire to refer to. I have put an emphasis upon the “is” instead of the “was,” as it applies to Jesus Christ. I would further put an emphasis upon the “are,” as it applies to us--“so are we.” John is not exhorting, he is affirming. He is not saying what Christian men ought to strive to be, but he is saying what all Christian men, by virtue of their Christian character, are. Or, to put it into other words, likeness to the Master is certain. It is inevitably involved in the relation which a Christian man bears to the Lord. My text suggests that to us by its addition, “So are we, in this world.” The “world”--or to use the modern phraseology, “the environment”--conditions the resemblance. As far as it is possible for a thing encompassed with dust and ashes to resemble the radiant sun in the heavens, so far is the resemblance carried here. Now, you Christian people, does that plain statement touch you anywhere? “So are we.” Well! you would be quite easy if John had said, “So may we be; so should we be; so shall we be.” But what about the “so are we”? What a ghastly contradiction the lives of multitudes of professing Christians are to that plain statement! The world has for the illustrations of the gospel the lives of us Christian people. In the Book there are principles and facts, and readers should be able to turn the page and see all pictured in us. That is what you have got to do in this world. “As the Father sent Me, even so I send you.” “As He is, so are we in this world.” It may be our antagonist, but it is our sphere, and its presence is necessary to evoke our characters. Christ has entrusted His reputation, His honour, to us.

II. Such likeness to Jesus Christ is the only thing that will enable a man to lift up his head in the day of judgment. “We have boldness,” says John, because “as He is, so are we.” Now, that is a very strong statement of a truth that popular evangelical theology has far too much obscured. People talk about being, at the last, accepted in the beloved. It is true! But do not let us forget the other side, that the question put to every man will be, not what you believe, but what did you do, and what are you? And I want to lay that upon your hearts, because many of us are too apt to forget it, that whilst unquestionably the beginning of the salvation, and the condition of forgiveness here, and of acceptance hereafter, is laid in trust in Jesus Christ, that trust is sure to work out a character which is in conformity with His requirements and moulded after the likeness of Himself. The judgment of God is according to the truth, and what a man is determines where a man shall be, and what he shall receive through all eternity.

III. The process by which this likeness is secured. Our love is made perfect by dwelling in God, and God in us; in order that we may be thus conformed to Christ’s likeness, and so have boldness in that great day. To be like Jesus Christ, what is needed is that we love Him, and that we keep in touch with Him. But remember such abiding is no idle waiting, no passive confidence. It is full of energy, full of suppression, when necessary, of what is contrary to your truest self; and full of strenuous cultivation of that which is in accord with the will of the Father. Lie in the light, and you will become light. Abide in Christ, and you will get like Christ. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 John 4:17". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-john-4.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Herein is love made perfect with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, even so are we in this world.

Have boldness ... One grand dividend received from a love-oriented and love-motivated life is a dramatic diminution of fear, both with reference to earthly fears and those regarding the ultimate summons of all people to the judgment of God.

In the day of judgment ... John, like the Lord Jesus, did not speak of many judgments, but only one. There are literally dozens of places in which the New Testament makes reference to the event of final judgment; and in all of them, the reference is invariably in the singular: the day ... the day .... etc.

Even as he is ... so are we ... It is Christ whom the Christians resemble, and therefore he is the one referred to here. Since all Christians are in the business of being like Christ, to the extent of denying themselves and seeking total identity with him "in Christ" and "as Christ," to the extent that this is achieved, through having love like him, it becomes also a pledge of our likeness to him in glory, the same being the firm ground of overcoming fear.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-john-4.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Herein is our love made perfect,.... Or love with us; which some understand of the love of God towards his people, and which is shed abroad in them: this indeed removes all fear of an awful judgment, and renders that amiable and desirable; and such who are interested in it, shall stand in that day with intrepidity and boldness; and this sense may seem to be favoured by the Syriac version, which reads, "his love with us"; and especially by the Vulgate Latin version, which renders it, "the love of God with us"; but it is best to understand it agreeably to the context, of our love to God, which is with and in our hearts; and which is made, or made to appear to be perfect, true, and genuine, by our love to the brethren; since the love of God to us does not admit of degrees, nor does it, or the reality and sincerity of it, depend upon our love to the saints; See Gill on 1 John 4:12;

that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; not of men's judgment, when brought before judges, governors, and kings, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, and stand at their bar, where saints, who have true love to God and Christ and the brethren, have stood with great courage and intrepidity, and shown much boldness, and used great freedom of speech; nor of judgment in this life, which sometimes begins at the house of God, though the saints often have great boldness and presence of mind, and freedom of expression both to God and man in a day of affliction, as Job had; but of the future judgment, which, though it will be very awful and solemn, Christ the Judge will appear with great majesty and glory, and all men will stand before him, and the books will be opened, and the judgment will proceed with great strictness and justice, and will issue in the everlasting perdition of devils and wicked men, yet the saints will have boldness in it: while evil men and devils tremble at the thoughts of it now, they rejoice and are glad; they love it, look for it, long for it, and hasten to it; and will stand fearless, and without the least dread, while others will flee to the rocks, and into the holes of the earth; and they will use freedom of speech with Christ, as the word here signifies; they will sing his new song, and ascribe the glory of their salvation to him, and express their praises of him, and love to him, then and to all eternity: and this boldness the saints may be said to arrive at through a perfect, or sincere, and genuine love of the brethren; for by this they know they are born again, and are born to an inheritance incorruptible, which they have both a meetness for, and a right unto; and knowing hereby that they are passed from death to life, they justly conclude they shall not enter into condemnation, and therefore are not afraid of the awful judgment: hereby they know that their faith is right, and that therefore they are manifestly the children of God; and if children, then heirs, and so shall be saved, and have everlasting life:

because as he is, so are we in this world; which may be understood either of God, to whom the saints are like; for such who are born again, as those who love the brethren are, they are partakers of the divine nature, and bear a resemblance to God, even in this present state of things; and as it becomes them to be holy in all manner of conversation, as he is holy, and to be merciful to wicked men, as he is merciful, so to love the saints as he does, and to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgive one another, as he for Christ's sake has forgiven them; for as God is love, they should be all love likewise; or of Christ, see 1 John 3:3; and that with respect to God; as he is the Son of God, so are they the sons of God; he by nature, they by grace and adoption; as he is loved by God with an everlasting and unchangeable love, with a love of complacency and delight, so are they loved by him with the same kind of love, even while they are in this world; and as he is the chosen of God, and precious, so they are chosen in him, and unto salvation by him. The Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, render it, "as he was": and the sense may be, as he was in this world, so are they; and which may regard not so much likeness in nature, though there is an agreement in that, excepting sin, but the sameness of state and condition; as he was a man of sorrows, attended with afflictions, loaded with reproaches, and followed with the persecutions of men, so are they; nor need they wonder that they are the objects of the world's hatred and contempt, since he was also; as he was tempted by Satan, forsaken by his friends, and deserted by his God, so sometimes are they in this world; and as he went through a variety of sufferings, and death itself, to glory, so through many tribulations do they enter the kingdom: moreover, as he now is in heaven, so are they in this world; even as he is in heaven, so are they representatively in him, while in this world; and as he is righteous, being justified and acquitted from all the charge of sin he took upon him, and therefore will appear a second time without sin, so they are completely righteous in him: and once more, as he is, so they are, or should be in this world; they should be holy as he is holy, and be humble, meek, and patient, as he is, and walk as he walked; and particularly love the saints and one another, as he does; and which seems to be greatly intended here, and must be understood not of an equality, but of a likeness. The Arabic version reads the words conditionally, and as depending on the preceding clause, "if as he was, we are in this world"; and then the sense is, that the saints shall have boldness in the day of judgment, provided they are in this world as Christ was.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-john-4.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

13 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because i as he is, so are we in this world.

(13) Again (as before) he commends love, seeing that by our agreement with God in this thing, we have a sure testimony of our adoption, it comes to pass by this that without fear we look for that latter day of judgment, so that trembling and torment of conscience is cast out by this love.

(i) This signifies a likeness, not an equality.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-john-4.html. 1599-1645.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Herein (εν τουτωιen toutōi). It is not clear whether the ιναhina clause (sub-final use) is in apposition with εν τουτωιen toutōi as in John 15:8 or the οτιhoti clause (because) with the ιναhina clause as parenthesis. Either makes sense. Westcott argues for the latter idea, which is reinforced by the preceding sentence.

With us (μετ ημωνmeth' hēmōn). Construed with the verb τετελειωταιteteleiōtai (is perfected). In contrast to εν ημινen hēmin (1 John 4:12, 1 John 4:16), emphasising cooperation. “God works with man” (Westcott). For boldness (παρρησιανparrēsian) in the day of judgment (only here with both articles, but often with no articles as in 2 Peter 2:9) see 1 John 2:28.

As he is (κατως εκεινος εστινkathōs ekeinos estin). That is Christ as in 1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:3, 1 John 3:5, 1 John 3:7, 1 John 3:16. Same tense (present) as in 1 John 3:7. “Love is a heavenly visitant” (David Smith). We are in this world to manifest Christ.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-john-4.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Herein ( ἐν τούτῳ )

To what does this refer? Two explanations are given. (1.) To the following that we may have boldness. So Huther, who argues thus on the ground that 1 John 4:18shows that the drift of the writer's thought is toward the fearlessness of love. According to this, therefore, love has its fulfillment in freeing us from fear, and inspiring us with boldness even in view of the final judgment. (2.) To what precedes, viz., our dwelling in God and He in us. So Westcott: “The fellowship of God with man and of man with God, carries with it the consummation of love.” I prefer the latter, principally on the ground that in such phrases as ἐν τούτῳ inthis, διὰ τοῦτο onthis account, therefore, the pronoun usually refers to something preceding, though more fully developed in what follows. See John 5:16, John 5:18; John 6:65; John 8:47; John 10:17; John 12:18; John 16:15.

Our love ( ἡ ἀγάπη μεθ ' ἡμῶν )

The A.V. construes μεθ ' ἡμῶν withus, with love, making with us equivalent to our. In that case it might mean either the love which is between Christians, or the love which is between God and Christians. The Rev. construes with us with the verb: love is made perfect with us. The latter is preferable. I do not think it would be easy to point out a parallel in the New Testament to the expression ἀγάπη μεθ ' love that with us = our love. The true idea is that love is perfected in fellowship. The love of God is perfected with us, in communion with us, through our abiding in Him and He in us. “Love is not simply perfected in man, but in fulfilling this issue God works with man” (Westcott). Compare 2 John 1:3, “grace shall be with us ” (true reading); and Acts 25:4, “what things God had done with them.” See also Matthew 1:23; 1 Corinthians 16:24; Galatians 6:18. Μετά withis used constantly in the New Testament of ethical relations. See Matthew 20:2; Matthew 2:3; Luke 23:12; Acts 7:9; Romans 12:15; 1 John 1:6.

Boldness ( παῤῥησίαν )

See on 1 John 2:28.

The day of judgment ( τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῆς κρίσεως )

Lit., the day of judgment. The exact phrase occurs here only. Ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως dayof judgment, without the articles, is found Matthew 10:15; Matthew 11:22, Matthew 11:24; Matthew 12:36; 2 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 3:7. The day is called the great day of their wrath (Revelation 6:17); the day of wrath and of revelation of the righteous judgement of God (Romans 2:5); the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:12); the last day (John 6:39, John 6:40, John 6:44, John 6:54); that day (Matthew 7:22; Luke 6:23; Luke 10:12). The judgment is found Matthew 12:41, Matthew 12:42; Luke 10:14; Luke 11:31, Luke 11:32.

Because

Likeness to Christ is the ground of boldness.

As ( καθὼς )

Not absolutely, but according to our measure, as men in this world.

He is

The present tense is very significant. Compare 1 John 3:7, “is righteous even as He is righteous.” The essence of out being as He is lies in perfected love; and Christ is eternally love. “He that abideth in love abideth in God and God in him.” Compare 1 John 3:2.

In this world

This present economy, physical and moral. The phrase limits the conception of likeness.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-john-4.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Hereby — That is, by this communion with God.

Is our love made perfect; that we may — That is, so that we shall have boldness in the day of judgment - When all the stout-hearted shall tremble.

Because as he — Christ.

Is — All love.

So are we — Who are fathers in Christ, even in this world.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-john-4.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The idea intended is, that by this may we know that our love to God is true and sincere, and such as will be our security in the day of judgment, namely, by seeing that our conduct and character here correspond with the image of God.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-john-4.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

17Herein is our love made perfect There are two clauses in this passage, — that we are then partakers of divine adoption, when we resemble God as children their father; and,secondly, that this confidence is invaluable, for without it we must be most miserable.

Then in the first place, he shews to what purpose God has in love embraced us, and how we enjoy that grace manifested to us in Christ. Then, God’s love to us is what is to be understood here. He says it is perfected, because it is abundantly poured forth and really given, that it appears to be complete. But he asserts that no others are partakers of this blessing; but those who, by being conformed to God, prove themselves to be his children. It is, then, an argument taken from what is an inseparable condition.

That we may have boldness He now begins to shew the fruit of divine love towards us, though he afterwards shews it more clearly from the contrary effect. It is, however, an invaluable benefit, that we can dare boldly to stand before God. By nature, indeed, we dread the presence of God, and that justly; for, as he is the Judge of the world, and our sins hold us guilty, death and hell must come to our minds whenever we think of God. Hence is that dread which I have mentioned, which makes men shun God as much as they can. But John says that the faithful do not fear, when mention is made to them of the last judgment, but that on the contrary they go to God’s tribunal confidently and cheerfully, because they are assured of his paternal love. Every one, then, has made so much proficiency in faith, as he is well prepared in his mind to look forward to the day of judgment.

As he is By these words, as it has been already said, he meant that it is required of us at our turn to resemble the image of God. What God then in heaven is, such he bids us to be in this world, in order that we may be deemed his children; for the image of God, when it appears in us, is as it were the seal of his adoption.

But he seems thus to place a part of our confidence on works. Hence the Papists raise their crests here, as though John denied that we, relying on God’s grace alone, can have a sure confidence as to salvation without the help of works. But in this they are deceived, because they do not consider that the Apostle here does not refer to the cause of salvation, but to what is added to it. And we readily allow that no one is reconciled to God through Christ, except he is also renewed after God’s image, and that the one cannot be disjoined from the other. Right then is what is done by the Apostle, who excludes from the confidence of grace all those in whom no image of God is seen; for it is certain that such are wholly aliens to the Spirit of God and to Christ. Nor do we deny that newness of life, as it is the effect of divine adoption, serves to confirm confidence, as a prop, so to speak, of the second order; but in the meantime we ought to have our foundation on grace alone. (87) Nor indeed does the doctrine of John appear otherwise consistent with itself; for experience proves, and even Papists are forced to confess, that as to works they always give an occasion for trembling. Therefore no one can come with a tranquil mind to God’s tribunal, except he believes that he is freely loved.

But that none of these things please the Papists, there is no reason for any one to wonder, since being miserable they know no faith except that which is entangled with doubts. Besides, hypocrisy brings darkness over them, so that they do not seriously consider how formidable is God’s judgment when Christ the Mediator is not present, and some of them regard the resurrection as fabulous. But that we may cheerfully and joyfully go forth to meet Christ, we must have our faith fixed on his grace alone.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-john-4.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 17. In the day of judgment] Those that bear his image shall hear his euge; well done, he will own them and honour them, and their faith that worketh by love, "shall be found unto praise, honour, and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ," 1 Peter 1:7. He that was so willingly judged for them, shall give no hard sentence against them.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-john-4.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

1 John 4:17

The Fear of Death.

I. Is not the bondage to the fear of death the one heavy burden of life? I do not mean that the fear of our own individual death is a constantly present fear. It may but seldom occur consciously to the mind. But though the prospect and the thought be banished, the bondage abides still. The hunger of a soul is felt, though the attention be distracted from its existence. A life occupied only upon the things which perish feels resting heavily upon it a burden; and that burden is the bondage to the fear of death. The weariness of a worldly life is in part bodily and mental fatigue, but it is more than this: it is the protest of a spirit which was meant for other things. To have forgotten death, to have put it out of sight, out of our reckoning, is itself the completest death. The enemy is not to be conquered by closing the eyes upon him. He is a conqueror, who is only to be cast out by another conqueror.

II. St. John in our text declares that fear has a conqueror's power; it can inflict torment. It is a power which requires another stronger power to exorcise it. This power of grace is "perfect love." In this Epistle St. John does not speak vaguely and sentimentally about love. He connects it directly with God's goodness to us, and with our duties as children of the Father. And as love grows, fear, the fear that has torment—the fear, that is, of finding Him a God of hate in the next world whom we have found, by blessed experience, to be a God of love in this—becomes no longer tenable. It is forced out of the soul by the spreading roots of affection and trust, for while it abides it is the lingering shadow of unfaithfulness. Love is not the grace which has made obedience superfluous; it is a feeling which, like Aaron's serpent, has swallowed up all the rest, which has taken up into itself, absorbed, duty and obedience, as unconscious and spontaneous offerings of the will.

A. Ainger, Sermons in the Temple Church, p. 101.



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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/1-john-4.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 John 4:17. Herein is our love made perfect, Herein is love perfected in us (so it should be rendered), even by our thus dwelling in love, and thereby dwelling in God: and having this plain token of God's love to us, wemay assuredly hope to appear with humble confidence before him in the awful day of judgment: because as he is all love to us, so we in resemblance of him, and in consideration of his love, are filled with a supreme love to him, and with a sincere and ardent love to the brethren for his sake, even whilewe live in this tempting and ensnaring world. The phraseday of judgment, does not appear ever to signify in the New Testament (as some assert) the day of trouble, or the time of those calamities by which the faith and patience of God's servants are often tried in this world; or the day in which the primitive Christians should be brought before the tribunal of the unbelieving Jews or Heathens: but it is well known to every reader of the Scripture, that it frequently signifies the day in which Jesus Christ will judge the world with the most perfect justice and equity. See 2 Thessalonians 2:2.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-john-4.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Still our apostle proceeds by way of argument to enforce upon us the obligation of our duty to love one another; he assures us here, that if our love be made perfect, that is, heightened and improved by an exact corresponding with the divine pattern and precept; if we love one another in obedience to God's command, and in conformity to Christ's example, it will give us boldness in the day of judgment, and we may think and speak of, we may expect and look for, the approach of that day without fear and consternation of mind; the reason is added, because as Christ was, so are we in the world; that is, as he was full of holiness and purity, of love and charity, so have we endeavoured to be in imitation of his example, according to our measure, in some proportion and degree.

Learn hence, 1. That such as are sincerly gracious, and do excel in the grace of love, are in the word in some sort as Christ was in the world; such as walk in love, walk as Christ walked.

Learn, 2. That such as are in the world, as Christ was in the world, shall have boldness when Christ comes to judgment, and need not fear the condemnation of that dreadful day; Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; the reason of this freedom from the fear of wrath is added, There is no fear in love; 1 John 4:18 that is, no slavish or distrustful fear, whereby we question the favour of God, but only a filial and reverential fear, whereby we stand in awe of offending him as a father; But perfect love casteth out fear; that is, either the actings of our perfect love to God, or the apprehensions of God's perfect love towards us, do cast out all that fear which has torment in it.

Yet note, That although perfect love casteth out tormenting fear, it calls in obeying fear, Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man; Ecclesiastes 12:13 an awful fear of God is all duty, and every grace.

Note also, The true reason of our disquieting and tormenting fear is the imperfection and weakness of our love: fear may stand with faith and love, but not with perfect faith, nor perfect love: He that feareth is not made perfect in love, and because he is not made perfect in love, therefore he feareth.

Blessed be God, as there will be no torment, so no fear, in heaven; that is, no tormenting fear; yet there is a fear of reverence, which will undoubtedly remain with glorified saints in heaven; they shall have an everlasting awe of the majesty and holiness of God eternally fixed upon their hearts and spirits, even in the kingdom of glory in heaven, as well as in the kingdom of grace here on earth; the saints serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear;

Lord, hasten the perfecting of thy grace in us, particularly the perfection of our love, that perfect love may cast out tormenting fear, and cherish such a reverential fear as will both prepare us for heaven, and accompany us in heaven, to all eternity.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/1-john-4.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 John 4:17. After the apostle has said in 1 John 4:16 that he that dwelleth in love (and therefore no one else) has fellowship with God, he now indicates wherein love shows itself as perfected; the thought of this verse is accordingly connected with the preceding: μένων ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ.

ἐν τούτῳ τετελείωται ἀγάπη μεθʼ ἡμῶν] Several commentators, Luther, Calvin, Spener, Grotius, Hornejus, Calovius, Semler, Sander, Besser, Ewald, etc., understand by ἀγάπη “the love of God to us,” interpreting μεθʼ ἡμῶν = εἰς ἡμᾶς, and τετελείωται as referring to the perfect manifestation of the love of God; Grotius: hic est summus gradus delectionis Dei erga nos.(272) This interpretation, however, has the context against it, for in 1 John 4:16 : μένων ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ, as well as in 1 John 4:18 : φόβος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ, by ἀγάπη is meant the love of man, the love that dwells in us; comp. also 1 John 4:12. Here also, therefore, ἀγάπη must be understood of this love, with Estius, Socinus, Lange, Lücke, de Wette, Neander, Gerlach, Düsterdieck, Braune, etc.; τετελείωται is used in the same sense as τετελειω΄ένη ἐστιν, 1 John 4:12; comp. also 1 John 4:18 : τελεία ἀγάπη.

It is not the object of the love that is described by ΄εθʼ ἡ΄ῶν, for ΄ετά is not = εἰς, but it means “in;”(273) it either belongs to the verb: “therein is love made perfect in us” (Lücke, de Wette, Düsterdieck, Braune, etc.; Erdmann, who explains ΄ετά = ἐν), or to ἀγάπη: “the love which exists (prevails) in us is,” etc. With the first construction, the addition appears rather superfluous; besides, its position would then be more natural before ἀγάπη. The underlying idea is that the love which has come from God (for all love is ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ) has made its abode with believers. Here, also, ἀγάπη is used without more particular definition, as in 1 John 4:16, and is therefore not to be limited to a specific object (so also de Wette, Düsterdieck, Braune); it is therefore neither merely “love to the brethren” (Socinus, Lücke,(274) etc.), nor merely “love to God” (Lange, Erdmann); Baumgarten-Crusius not incorrectly explains the idea by “the sentiment of love;” only it must not be forgotten that true love is not merely sentiment, but action also; comp. chap. 1 John 3:18.

ἐν τούτῳ does not refer to the preceding, nor to dwelling in love, nor to fellowship with God, but to what follows; not, however, to ὅτι, as Beza,(275) Grotius, etc., assuming an attraction, think, but to ἵνα παῤῥησίαν ἔχωμεν ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῆς κρίσεως. From 1 John 4:18 it is clear that the chief aim of the apostle is to emphasize the fact that perfect love ( τελεία ἀγάπη, 1 John 4:18) is free from fear, or that he who is perfect in love ( τετελειωμένος ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ) experiences no fear, but has confident boldness ( παῤῥησία). The thought of this verse is no other than this, that love has its perfection in the fact that it fills us with such παῤῥησία; the clause beginning with ἵνα therefore contains the leading thought, to which the following ὅτι is subordinated. It is true, the combination ἐν τούτῳἵνα (instead of ὅτι, 1 John 4:9-10, and frequently) is strange, but it is quite John’s custom to use the particle of purpose, ἵνα, not seldom as objective particle; the same combination is found in the Gospel of John 15:8 (Meyer, indeed, differently on this passage); comp. chap. 1 John 3:10, 23: αὕτηἵνα (Gospel of John 17:3); by ἵνα, παῤῥησίαν ἔχειν is indicated as the goal, not “which God has in view in the perfecting of love in us” (Braune), but which the ἀγάπη in its perfection attains (Düsterdieck). With παῤῥησίαν ἔχειν, comp. chap. 1 John 2:28.(276)

The ἡμέρα τῆς κρίσεως is the day ὅταν φανερωθῇ ἰησοῦς χριστός, 1 John 2:28. The preposition is not to be interpreted = εἰς, and ἔχω΄εν is not to be taken as a future (Ewald: “that we shall have”) the difficulty that anything future (behaviour on the judgment-day) should be taken as the evidence of perfect love in the present ( τετελείωται is not to be taken as future complete, but as perfect: “has been made perfect,” or “has become perfect” = “is perfected”), is removed if we take it that in ἐν the παῤῥησία, which the believer will have at the judgment-day, and which he already has when he thinks of the judgment, is included, which could the more easily occur in John, as in his view the judgment-day did not lie in far-off distance, but was already conceived as begun (chap. 1 John 2:18). The future παῤῥησία is to him in his love already present: similarly de Wette, Sander, Besser.(277)

The following words: ὅτι καθὼςτούτῳ, serve to establish the foregoing thought. By ἐκεῖνος we are not to understand, with Augustine, Bede, Estius, Lyranus, Castalio, etc., God, but, with most commentators, Christ, who is also suggested by the idea: ἡμέρα τῆς κρίσεως.

The comparison ( καθώς) does not refer to εἶναι ἐν τῷ κόσ΄ῳ τούτῳ, so that the sense would be: “as Christ is in this world, so are we also in this world,” for (1) Christ is no longer in this world (comp. Gospel of John 17:11), and (2) in the fact that we are in this world lies no reason for παῤῥησία at the day of judgment. By καθὼς καί it is rather the similarity of character that is brought out, as in 1 John 2:16, where καθώς does not refer to the idea of περιπατεῖν in itself, but to the character of the walk, so that it is to be interpreted: “as the character of Christ is, so is our character also;” in the second clause οὓτως is to be supplied, as in 1 Corinthians 8:2; Ephesians 4:17; Ephesians 4:21. What sort of character is meant must be inferred from the context; it is entirely arbitrary to find the similarity in the temptation (Rickli) or in the sufferings of Christ (Grotius), or in the fact that Christ was in the world but not of it (Sander), for there is no such reference in the context. But it is also inadmissible to regard as the more particular definition of καθώς the δικαιοσύνη (Düsterdieck), or the Sonship of God (Lücke: “as Christ is the Son of God, so are we also children of God”), for neither do these ideas appear in the context. We are rather to go back to ΄ένων ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ, and accordingly to refer καθώς to love (so Lorinus: “reddit nos charitas Christo similes et conformes imagini filii Dei;” Bengel, de Wette, Ewald, Myrberg, Braune, etc.(278)), so that the sense is: “if we live in love, then we do not fear the judgment of Christ, because then we are like Him, and He therefore cannot condemn us.”(279) The present ἐστί is to be retained as a present, and not to be turned into the preterite (Oecumenius: ὡς ἐκεῖνος ἦν ἐν τῷ κόσ΄ῳ ἄ΄ω΄ος καὶ καθαρός). Love is the eternal nature of Christ, comp. 1 John 3:7 : καθὼς ἐκεῖνος δίκαιός ἐστιν. In the concluding words: ἐν τῷ κόσ΄ῳ τούτῳ, which belong, not to ἐστι, but only to ἐσμεν, it is brought out that we are still in the earthly world ( κόσμος οὗτος is not an ethical idea), whereas Christ has already ascended from it into heaven.


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-john-4.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 John 4:17. ΄εθʼ ἡμῶν, with us) The love of God in itself is always the same, and perfect: but with us τετελείωται, it is brought to its consummation, rising more and more from its descent to us.— ἵνα) to such a degree that.— παῤῥησίαν, confidence) The opposite term is fear.— ἐν, in) Thus, in, Romans 2:16, note.— ἡμέρᾳ, the day) most terrible to others, more so than the day of death itself.— τῆς κρίσεως) of the last judgment.— ὅτι, because) The because has reference to τούτῳ, this.— ἐκεῖνός ἐστι, He is) Jesus Christ is love, in heaven; which is silently opposed to the world. By the words, in heaven, however, I suppose His previous dwelling in the world: the word is, on the other hand, shows certainly the present state of Jesus Christ.— ἡμεῖς ἐσμεν, we are) who love God. See the next ver.; John 15:10.— ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ, in this world) which is void of love, and fears judgment. The mention of the world is an argument that the word He denotes Jesus Christ. Comp. 1 John 4:9.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-john-4.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And by this means (viz. of our inwardness with God) doth our love grow to that perfection, that we shall have the most fearless freedom and liberty of spirit in the judgment day; our hearts no way misgiving to appear before him as a Judge, whose very image we find upon ourselves, he having beforehand, made us such even in this world, though in an infinitely inferior degree, as he is, compositions of love and goodness. Or, if

the day of judgment should mean, as some conceive, of our appearance before human tribunals for his sake, such a temper of spirit must give us the same boldness in that case also.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-john-4.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

1 John

THE SERVANT AS HIS LORD

1 John 4:17.

Large truths may be spoken in little words. Profundity is often supposed to be obscurity, but the deepest depth is clear. John, in his gospel and epistles, deals with the deepest realities, and with all things in their eternal aspects, but his vocabulary is the simplest in the New Testament. God and the world, life and death, love and hate, light and darkness, these are the favourite words round which his thoughts gather. Here are nine little monosyllables. What can be simpler than, ‘As He is, so are we in this world?’ And what can go beyond the thought that lies in it, that a Christian is a living likeness of Christ?

But the connection of my text is quite as striking as its substance. John has been dwelling upon his favourite thought that to abide in love is to abide in God, and God in us. And then he goes on to say that ‘Herein’--that is, in such mutual abiding in love--’is love made perfect with us’; and the perfection of that love, which is thus communion, is in order that, at the great solemn day of future trial, men may lift up their faces and meet His glance--which is not strange to them, nor met for the first time--with open-hearted and open-countenanced ‘boldness.’ But ‘love’ and ‘abiding’ are the source of confidence in the Day of Judgment, because love and abiding are the source of assimilation to Christ’s life. We have boldness, ‘because as He is, so are we in this world’; and we are as He is, because we love and abide in Him. So here are three thoughts, the assimilation of the Christian man to Christ; the frank confidence which it begets; and the process by which it is secured.

I. A Christian is Christ’s living likeness.

That is a startling thing to say, and all the more startling if you notice that John does not say ‘As He was,’ in this earthly life of humiliation and filial obedience, but ‘as He is,’ in His heavenly life and reign and glory. That might well repel us from all thought of possible resemblance, but the light, however brilliant it may be, is not blinding, and it is the Christ as He is, and not only--true as that is--the Christ as He was, who is the original of which Christian men are copies.

Now there is the difference between the teaching of such classes of religionists as represent Christ’s humanity as all in all, and preach to us that He, in His earthly life is the pattern to whom we are to seek to conform our lives, and the true evangelical teaching. That dead Man is living, and His present life has in it elements which we can grasp, and to which every Christian life is to be conformed.

Is there anything, then, within the glory to which I, in my poor, struggling, hampered, imperfect life here on earth, can feel that my character is being shaped? Yes, surely there is. I have no doubt that, in the words of my text, the Apostle is remembering the solemn ones of our Lord’s high-priestly prayer as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of his gospel, where the same antithesis of our being in the world, and His not being there, recurs; and where the analogy and resemblance are distinctly stated--’I in Thee, and Thou in Me, that they also may be in us.’

So, then, when we stand with our letter-writer in his Patmos island, and see the countenance ‘as the sun shining in his strength, and the eyes as a flame of fire,’ and the many crowns upon the head, and the many stars in the hand, though we may feel as if all resemblance was at an end, and aspiration after likeness could only fall at His feet and cover its face, yet there is within the glory something which may be repeated and reproduced in our lives, and that is, the indissoluble union of a Son with a Father, in all loving obedience, in all perfect harmony, in all mutual affection and outgoing of heart and thoughts. This is the centre of the life, alike of the Christ when He is glorified, and of the Christ when He was upon earth. So the very secret heart of the mysterious being of the Son is to be, and necessarily is, repeated in all those who in Him have received the adoption of sons.

Or to put the whole thing into plainer words, it is the religious and the moral aspects of Christ’s being, and not any one particular detail thereof; and these, as they live and reign on the Throne, just as truly as these, as they suffered and wept upon earth--it is these to which it is our destiny to be conformed. We are like Him, if we are His, in this,--that we are joined to God, that we hold fellowship with Him, that our lives are all permeated with the divine, that we are saturated with the presence of God, that we have submitted ourselves to Him and to His will, that ‘not my will, but Thine, be done’ is the very inmost meaning of our hearts and our lives. And thus ‘we,’ even here, ‘bear the image of the heavenly, as we have borne the images of the earthly.’ Now I am not going to dwell upon details; all these can be filled in by each of us for himself. The centre-point which I insist upon is this--the filial union with God, the filial submission to Him, and the consequent purity as Christ is pure, righteousness as Christ is righteous, and walking even as Christ walked, for ever in the light.

But then there is another point that I desire to refer to. I have put an emphasis upon the ‘is’ instead of the ‘was,’ as it applies to Jesus Christ. I would further put an emphasis upon the ‘are,’ as it applies to us--’So are we.’

John is not exhorting, he is affirming. He is not saying what Christian men ought to strive to be, but he is saying what all Christian men, by virtue of their Christian character, are. Or, to put it into other words, likeness to the Master is certain. It is inevitably involved in the relation which a Christian man bears to the Lord. There may be degrees in the likeness, there may be differences of skill and earnestness in the artist. We have to labour like a portrait painter, slowly and tentatively approaching to the complete resemblance. It is ‘a life-long task ere the lump be leavened.’ This likeness does not reach its completeness by a leap. It is not struck, as the image of a king is, upon the blank metal disc, by one stroke, but it is wrought out by long, laborious, and, as I said, approximating and tentative touches. My text suggests that to us by its addition, ‘So are we, in this world.’ The ‘world’--or, to use modern phraseology, ‘the environment’--conditions the resemblance. As far as it is possible for a thing encompassed with dust and ashes to resemble the radiant sun in the heavens, so far is the resemblance carried here. Some measure of it, and a growing measure, is inseparable from the reality of a Christian life.

Now, you Christian people, does that plain statement touch you anywhere? ‘So are we.’ Well! you would be quite easy if John had said: ‘So may we be; so should we be; so shall we be.’ But what about the ‘so are we’? What a ghastly contradiction the lives of multitudes of professing Christians are to that plain statement! ‘Like Jesus Christ’--would anybody say that about anything in me? ‘So are we’--no words of mine, dear brethren, can make the statement more searching, more impressive; but, I pray you, lay this to heart: ‘If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.’ You may take sacraments and profess Christianity, or, as we Nonconformists have it, ‘join churches,’ and do all manner of outward work for ever and a day; but if you have not the likeness of Christ, at least in germ, and growing to something more than a germ, in your characters, you had better revise your position, and ask whether, after all, you have not been walking in a vain show, and fancied yourselves the servants of Christ, while you bear the image of Christ’s enemy.

A very tiny gully on a hillside, made by showers of rain, may fall into the same slopes, and has been created by the very same forces, working according to the same laws, as have scooped out valleys miles broad, bordered by mountains thousands of feet high. And in my little life, poor as it is, limited as it is, environed as it is by the world, and therefore often hampered and stained, as well as helped and brightened, by its environment, there may be, and there will be, in some degree, if I am a Christian man, the very same power at work by which Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father shines as the sun on the throne of the universe.

But then, notice further, how that limitation to which I have referred in this world carries with it another message. There is Christ in the heavens, veiled and unseen. Here are you on earth, his representative. There is a rage at present for putting pictures into all books, and folk will scarcely read unless they get illustrated literature. The world has for its illustrations of the gospel the lives of us Christian people. In the book there are principles and facts, and readers should be able to turn the page and see all pictured in us.

That is what you are set to do in this world. ‘As the Father sent Me, even so send I you.’ ‘As He is, so are we in this world.’ It may be our antagonist, but it is our sphere, and its presence is necessary to evoke our characters. Christ has entrusted His reputation, His honour, to us, and many a man that never cares to look at Him as He is revealed in Scripture, would be wooed and won to look at Him and love Him, if we Christian people were more true to our vocation, and bore more conspicuously on our faces and in our characters the image of the heavenly.

II. Look for a moment at the second thought that is here: such a likeness to Jesus Christ is the only thing that will enable a man to lift up his head in the Day of Judgment.

‘We have boldness,’ says John, because ‘as He is, so are we.’ Now that is a very strong statement of a truth that popular, evangelical theology has far too much obscured. People talk about being, at the last, ‘accepted in the beloved.’ God be thanked, it is true. A sweet old hymn that a great many of us learned when we were children, though it is not so well known in these days, says:--

‘Bold shall I stand in that great day,

For who aught to my charge shall lay,

While through Thy blood absolved I am

From sin’s tremendous curse and shame?’

I believe that, and I try to preach it. But do not let us forget the other side. My text is in full accordance with the principles of our Lord’s own teaching; and who knows the principles of His own words so well as the judge, who tells us, in His pictures of that great day, that the question put to every man will be, not what you believe, but what did you do, and what are you?

But this truth of my text has been not only wounded in the house of the friends of Christianity, but it has been overlooked by one of the very frequent objections that we hear made to evangelical teaching, that, according to it, a man is judged according to his belief and not according to his deeds. A man is judged according to his--not belief--but according to his faith. But he is judged according also to--not his work--but according to his character.

And I wish, dear friends, to lay this upon your hearts, because many of us are too apt to forget it, that whilst unquestionably the beginning of salvation, and the condition of forgiveness here, and of acceptance hereafter, are laid in trust in Jesus Christ, that trust is sure to work out a character which is in conformity with His requirements and moulded after the likeness of Himself. ‘The judgment of God is according to truth,’ and what a man is determines where a man shall be, and what he shall receive through all eternity. Remember Christ’s own teaching. Remember the teaching of that other apostle than John, according to which the ‘wood, hay, stubble,’ built by a man upon the foundation shall be burned up, and the builder himself be saved, yet so as by fire. And lay this to heart, that it is only when faith works in us, through love and communion, characters like Jesus Christ’s, that we shall be able to stand--though even then we shall have to trust to divine and infinite mercy, and to the sprinkling of His blood--before the Throne of God. Lay up in store for yourselves a good foundation unto eternal life. And take this as the preaching of my text; character, and character alone, will stand the judgment of that great day.

There is no real antagonism between such truths and the widest preaching of salvation by faith. It is the same man who, in his gospel, says, as from the lips of the Lord Himself, ‘He that believeth is not judged,’ and in his letter says, ‘We may have boldness in that day, because, as He is, so are we in this world.’

III. One word about the last point; the process by which this likeness is secured.

That is contained, as I tried to show in my introductory remarks, in the earlier part of the verse. Our love is made perfect by dwelling in God, and God in us; in order that we may be thus conformed to Christ’s likeness, and so have boldness in that great day. To be like Jesus Christ, what is needed is that we love Him, and that we keep in touch with Him. What is it to ‘abide’ in Him?--to direct the continual flow of mind and love and will and practical obedience to Him, to bear Him ever in the secret place of my heart whilst my hands are occupied with daily business, and my feet are running the sometimes rough race that is set before me. Think of Him ever, love Him ever. Let His name be like a perfume breathed through the whole atmosphere of your lives. Keep your wills in the attitude of submission, of acceptance, of indecision when necessary, and of absolute dependence upon Him. Let your outward acts be such as shall not bring a film of separation between Him and you. When thus our whole being is steeped and drenched with Christ, then it cannot but be that we shall be like Him. Even ‘clouds themselves as suns appear, when the sun pierces them with light.’ ‘Abide in Me, and I in you.’ You cannot make yourselves like Christ, but you can fasten yourselves to Christ, and He will give you power which shall make you like Him.

But, remember, such abiding is no idle waiting, no passive confidence. It is full of energy, full of suppression, when necessary, of what is contrary to your truest self, and full of strenuous cultivation of that which is in accord with the will of the Father, and with the likeness of the ‘first-born among many brethren.’

Dear friends, lie in the light and you will become light. Abide in Christ, and you will get like Christ; and, being like Him, you will be able to lift up your heads, and rejoice when you front Him on the Throne, and you are at the bar. Then, when you are no more in the world, the likeness will be perfected, because the communion is complete. ‘We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’


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Bibliography
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/1-john-4.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Herein; according to some, this word refers backward to the preceding verse. The meaning will then be, that by our dwelling in love, and thus in God and he in us, our love is made perfect; and the words following, "that we may have boldness," etc., will express the end towards which that love is directed. According to others, the reference is forward, precisely as in John 15:8, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." The meaning will then be, that the perfection of our love consists in its giving us boldness in the day of judgment; and consequently now, in anticipation of that day.

Because; the ground of this boldness.

As he is; as Christ is, in respect to love. He does not say, as Christ was, because Christ’s love is not changed by his removal to heaven.

So are we in this world; we manifest in the world the same love which Christ manifested on earth, and now has in heaven.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-john-4.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

17. ἐν τούτῳ τ. ἡ ἀγ. μεθ ̓ ἡμῶν. Here R.V. Herein is love made perfect with us, or the margin of A.V. Herein is love with us made perfect, is to be preferred to A.V. Most earlier English Versions agree with R. V.; and μεθ ̓ ἡμῶν probably belongs to τετελείωται, not to ἡ ἀγάπη. So also the Vulgate (Cod. Am.), perfecta est nobiscum caritas: while Augustine renders perfecta est dilectio in nobis. Ἡ ἀγάπη here must mean our love towards God: His love towards us cannot have any fear (1 John 4:18) in it. This love takes up its abode, is developed, and perfected, with us. Ἐν τούτῳ may refer to either of the clauses which follow. Ἐν τούτῳἵνα is a possible construction, and perhaps occurs John 15:8; and ἐν τούτῳ ὅτι occurs 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10. But it is perhaps best to make ἐν τούτῳ refer to what precedes; to our abiding in God and God in us. This avoids the awkwardness of making perfection of love in the present depend upon our attitude at the Judgment, which though near (1 John 2:18) according to S. John’s view, is still future. In this way we can give its full meaning to ἴνα: by close union with God our love is made perfect, in order that we may have boldness at the Day of Judgment. For παρρησία see on 1 John 2:28. Quisquis fiduciam habet in die judicii, perfecta est in illo caritas (Bede from Augustine).

τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇς κρίσεως. The full phrase occurs nowhere else: the usual form being ἡμέρα κρίσεως (Matthew 10:15; Matthew 11:22; Matthew 11:24; Matthew 12:36; 2 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 3:7). S. John elsewhere calls it ἡ ἐσχάτη ἡμέρα (John 6:39-40; John 6:44; John 6:54; John 11:24; John 12:48), or ἡ ἡμέρα ἡ μεγάλη (Revelation 6:17) or ἡ ἡμ. ἐκείνη ἡ μεγάλη (Revelation 16:14). Other Scriptural phrases are ἡ ἡμ. ἐκείνη (Matthew 13:1; Mark 13:32; Luke 10:12), ἡ ἡμ. τοῦ Κυρίου (1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:2), ἡ τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμέρα (2 Peter 3:12), ἡ ἡμ. (Hebrews 10:25), ἡμ. αἰῶνος (2 Peter 3:18), κρίσις μεγάλης ἡμ. (Judges 1:6), ἡ κρίσις (Matthew 12:41-42; Luke 10:14).

καθὼς ἐκεῖνοςκαὶ ἡμεῖς. For καθὼςκαὶ … see on 1 John 2:18. Ἐκεῖνος, as elsewhere in this Epistle (1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:3; 1 John 3:5; 1 John 3:7; 1 John 3:16), almost certainly means Christ. Our assurance with regard to the future Judgment is not presumption, because so far as is possible in this world we are in character like Christ. The resemblance is marked as close, ‘even so are we’ (καθώς); comp. 1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:3; 1 John 3:7. In what does this close resemblance specially consist? In love: the whole context points to this. He need not fear the judgment of Christ who by loving has become like Christ. ἐν τῷ κ. τούτῳ does not belong to both clauses; otherwise we should have had καθὼς ἐκεῖνος ἡν. The plural throughout is to be noted: μεθʼ ἡμῶνκαὶ ἡμεῖς. “The Apostle does not write to any individuals as individuals, but to the members of the congregation as such. In the Church alone, but certainly there, is to be found such a consummation of love, such a perfection of fellowship with God” (Haupt).

Here again Jerome differs considerably from his own Vulgate. In the latter; In hoc perfecta est nobiscum caritas, ut fiduciam habeamus in die judicii, quia sicut ille est et nos sumus in hoc mundo: in his own works (Adv. Jovin. I. 40); In hoc perfecta est nostra caritas, si fiduciam habeamus in diem judicii; ut quomodo ille est, sic et nos simus in hoc saeculo.


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"Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-john-4.html. 1896.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

Chapter 14

BOLDNESS IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT

1 John 4:17

IT has been so often repeated that St. John’s eschatology is idealised and spiritual, that people now seldom pause to ask what is meant by the words. Those who repeat them most frequently seem to think that the idealised means that which will never come into the region of historical fact, and that the spiritual is best defined as the unreal. Yet, without postulating the Johannic authorship of the Apocalypse-where the Judgment is described with the most awful accompaniments of outward solemnity [Revelation 20:12-13] -there are two places in this Epistle which are allowed to drop out of view, but which bring us face to face with the visible manifestations of an external Advent. It is a peculiarity of St. John’s style (as we have frequently seen) to strike some chord of thought, so to speak, before its time; to allow the prelusive note to float away, until suddenly, after a time, it surprises us by coming back again with a fuller and bolder resonance. "And now, my sons," [1 John 2:28] (had the Apostle said) "abide in Him, that if He shall be manifested, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed, shrinking from Him at His coming." In our text the same thought is resumed, and the reality of the Coming and Judgment in its external manifestation as emphatically given as in any other part of the New Testament.

We may here speak of the conception of the Day of Judgment: of the fear with which that conception is encompassed; and of the sole means of the removal of that fear which St. John recognises.

I We examine the general conception of "the Day of the Judgment," as given in the New Testament.

As there is that which with terrible emphasis is marked off as "the Judgment," "the Parousia," so there are other judgments or advents of a preparatory character. As there are phenomena known as mock suns, or halos round the moon, so there are fainter reflections ringed round the Advent, the Judgment. Thus, in the development of history, there are successive cycles of continuing judgment; preparatory advents; less completed crises, as even the world calls them.

But against one somewhat widely spread way of blotting the Day of the Judgment from the calendar of the future-so far as believers are concerned-we should be on our guard. Some good men think themselves entitled to reason thus-"I am a Christian. I shall be an assessor in the judgment. For me there is, therefore, no judgment day." And it is even held out as an inducement to others to close with this conclusion, that they "shall be delivered from the bugbear of judgment."

The origin of this notion seems to be in certain universal tendencies of modern religious thought.

The idolatry of the immediate-the prompt creation of effect-is the perpetual snare of revivalism. Revivalism is thence fatally bound at once to follow the tide of emotion, and to increase the volume of the waters by which it is swept along. But the religious emotion of this generation has one characteristic by which it is distinguished from that of previous centuries. The revivalism of the past in all Churches rode upon the dark waves of fear. It worked upon human nature by exaggerated material descriptions of hell, by solemn appeals to the throne of Judgment. Certain schools of biblical criticism have enabled men to steel themselves against this form of preaching. An age of soft humanitarian sentiment-superficial and inclined to forget that perfect Goodness may be a very real cause of fear-must be stirred by emotions of a different kind. The infinite sweetness of our Father’s heart-the conclusions, illogically but effectively drawn from this, of an Infinite good nature, with its easy going pardon, reconciliation all round, and exemption from all that is unpleasant-these, and such as these, are the only available materials for creating a great volume of emotion. An invertebrate creed; punishment either annihilated or mitigated; judgment, changed from a solemn and universal assize, a bar at which every soul must stand, to a splendid, and-for all who can say I am saved-a triumphant pageant in which they have no anxious concern; these are the readiest instruments, the most powerful leverage, with which to work extensively upon masses of men at the present time. And the seventh article of the Apostles’ Creed must pass into the limbo of exploded superstition.

The only appeal to Scripture which such persons make, with any show of plausibility, is contained in an exposition of our Lord’s teaching in a part of the fifth chapter of the fourth Gospel. [John 5:21; John 5:29] But clearly there are three Resurrection scenes which may be discriminated in those words. The first is spiritual, a present awakening of dead souls, (John 5:21) in those with whom the Son of Man is brought into contact in His earthly ministry. The second is a department of the same spiritual Resurrection. The Son of God, with that mysterious gift of Life in Himself, (John 5:26) has within Him a perpetual spring of rejuvenescence for a faded and dying world. A renewal of hearts is in process during all the days of time, a passage for soul after soul out of death into life. The third scene is the general (John 5:24) Resurrection and general Judgment. (John 5:28-29) The first was the resurrection of comparatively few; the second of many; the third of all. If it is said that the believer "cometh not into judgment," the word in that place plainly signifies condemnation.

Clear and plain above all such subtleties ring out the awe inspiring words: "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment;" "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ."

Reason supplies us with two great arguments for the General Judgment. One from the conscience of history, so to speak; the other from the individual conscience.

1. General history points to a general judgment. If there is no such judgment to come, then there is no one definite moral purpose in human society. Progress would be a melancholy word, a deceptive appearance, a stream that has no issue, a road that leads nowhere. No one who believes that there is a Personal God, Who guides the course of human affairs, can come to the conclusion that the generations of man are to go on forever without a winding up, which shall decide upon the doings of all who take part in human life. In the philosophy of nature, the affirmation or denial of purpose is the affirmation or denial of God. So in the philosophy of history. Society without the General Judgment would be a chaos of random facts, a thing without rational retrospect or definite end-i.e., without God. If man is under the government of God, human history is a drama, long drawn, and of infinite variety, with inconceivably numerous actors. But a drama must have a last act. The last act of the drama of history is "The Day of the Judgment."

2. The other argument is derived from the individual conscience.

Conscience, as a matter of fact, has two voices. One is imperative; it tells us what we are to do. One is prophetic, and warns us of something which we are to receive. If there is to be no Day of the General Judgment, then the million prophecies of conscience will be belied, and our nature prove to be mendacious to its very roots. There is no essential article of the Christian creed like this which can be isolated from the rest, and treated as if it stood alone. There is a solidarity of each with all the rest. Any which is isolated is in danger itself, and leaves the others exposed. For they have an internal harmony and congruity. They do not form a hotchpot of credenda. They are not so many beliefs, but one belief. Thus the isolation of articles is perilous. For, when we try to grasp and to defend one of them, we have no means left of measuring it but by terms of comparison which are drawn from ourselves, which must therefore be finite, and, by the inadequacy of the scale which they present, appear to render the article of faith thus detached incredible. Moreover, each article of our creed is a revelation of the Divine attributes, which meet together in unity. To divide the attributes by dividing the form in which they are revealed to us, is to belie and falsify the attribute; to give a monstrous development to one by not taking into account some other which is its balance and compensation. Thus, many men deny the truth of a punishment which involves final separation from God. They glory in the legal judgment which "dismisses hell with costs." But they do so by fixing their attention exclusively upon the one dogma which reveals one attribute of God. They isolate it from the Fall, from the Redemption by Christ, from the gravity of sin, from the truth that all whom the message of the Gospel reaches may avoid the penal consequences of sin. It is impossible to face the dogma of eternal separation from God without facing the dogma of Redemption. For Redemption involves in its very idea the intensity of sin, which needed the sacrifice of the Son of God; and further, the fact that the offer of salvation is so free and wide that it cannot be put away without a terrible wilfulness.

In dealing with many of the articles of the creed, there are opposite extremes. Exaggeration leads to a revenge upon them which is, perhaps, more perilous than neglect. Thus, as regards eternal punishment, in one century ghastly exaggerations were prevalent. It was assumed that the vast majority of mankind "are destined to everlasting punishment"; that "the floor of hell is crawled over by hosts of babies a span long." The inconsistency of such views with the love of God, and with the best instincts of man, was victoriously and passionately demonstrated. Then unbelief turned upon the dogma itself, and argued, with wide acceptance, that "with the overthrow of this conception goes the whole redemption plan, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Resurrection, and the grand climax of the Church scheme, the General Judgment." But the alleged article of faith was simply an exaggeration of that faith, and the objections lay altogether against the exaggeration of it.

II We have now to speak of the removal of that terror which accompanies the conception of the Day of the Judgment, and of the sole means of that emancipation which St. John recognises. For terror there is in every point of the repeated descriptions of Scripture-in the surroundings, in the summons, in the tribunal, in the trial, in one of the two sentences.

"God is love," writes St. John, "and he that abideth in love abideth in God: and God abideth in him. In this [abiding], love stands perfected with us, and the object is nothing less than this," not that we may be exempted from judgment, but that "we may have boldness in the Day of the Judgment." Boldness! It is the splendid word which denotes the citizen’s right of free speech, the masculine privilege of courageous liberty. It is the tender word which expresses the child’s unhesitating confidence, in "saying all out" to the parent. The ground of the boldness is conformity to Christ. Because "as He is," with that vivid idealising sense, frequent in St. John when he uses it of our Lord-"as He is," delineated in the fourth Gospel, seen by "the eye of the heart" [Ephesians 1:18] with constant reverence in the soul, with adoring wonder in heaven, perfectly true, pure, and righteous-"even so" (not, of course, with any equality in degree to that consummate ideal, but with a likeness ever growing, an aspiration ever advancing)-"so {Cf. Matthew 5:48} are we in this world," purifying ourselves as He is pure.

Let us draw to a definite point our considerations upon the Judgment, and the Apostle’s sweet encouragement for the "day of wrath, that dreadful day." It is of the essence of the Christian faith to believe that the Son of God, in the Human Nature which He assumed, and which He has borne into heaven, shall come again, and gather all before Him, and pass sentence of condemnation or of peace according to their works. To hold this is necessary to prevent terrible doubts of the very existence of God; to guard us against sin, in view of that solemn account; to comfort us under affliction. What a thought for us, if we would but meditate upon it! Often we complain of a commonplace life, of mean and petty employment. How can it be so, when at the end we, and those with whom we live, must look upon that great, overwhelming sight! Not an eye that shall not see Him, not a knee that shall not bow, not an ear that shall not hear the sentence. The heart might sink and the imagination quail under the burden of the supernatural existence which we cannot escape. One of two looks we must turn upon the Crucified-one willing as that which we cast on some glorious picture, on the enchantment of the sky; the other unwilling and abject. We should weep first with Zechariah’s mourners, with tears at once bitter because they are for sin, and sweet because they are for Christ. But, above all things, let us hear how St. John sings us the sweet low hymn that breathes consolation through the terrible fall of the triple hammer stroke of the rhyme in the "Dies irae." We must seek to lead upon earth a life laid on the lines of Christ’s. Then, when the Day of the Judgment comes; when the cross of fire (so, at least, the early Christians thought) shall stand in the black vault; when the sacred wounds of Him who was pierced shall stream over with a light beyond dawn or sunset; we shall find that the discipline of life is complete, that God’s love after all its long working with us stands perfected, so that we shall be able, as citizens of the kingdom, as children of the Father, to say out all. A Christlike character in an un-Christlike world- this is the cure of the disease of terror. Any other is but the medicine of a quack. "There is no fear in love; but the perfect love casteth out fear, because fear brings punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love." We may well close with that pregnant commentary on this verse which tells us of the four possible conditions of a human soul-"without either fear or love; with fear, without love; with fear and love; with love, without fear."


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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/1-john-4.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17. Love… perfect—It is carried to its proper completion.

Boldness— Fearlessness. A calm assurance that our judge is our friend, and that for us there is no condemnation. And this boldness is not based on the idea that there is no punishment for the finally impenitent, but upon the consciousness, through the spirit of love bestowed upon us, that our reconciliation with him is perfect. Day of judgment. His parousia, or coming. See notes on 1 John 2:28; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

As he is, so are we—Our moral conformity in love gives us a trusting sympathy. He is the holy Son of God, we, his reconciled children.

In this world— Equally opposed to us both.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-john-4.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Our love becomes complete in the sense that we can now have confidence as we anticipate our day of judgment (i.e, the evaluation of our works at Christ"s judgment seat; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10-12). The characteristic of God and Christians in view here is our love. We do not need to fear the judgment seat of Christ if we have demonstrated love to others. By loving we become like Jesus Christ our Judge. Therefore to give love is to gain boldness (confidence).

Here John said God"s love reaches perfection "with us" (Gr. meth hamon) whereas in 1 John 4:12 he wrote that His love reaches perfection "in us" (Gr. en hamin). When it reaches perfection in us, a proper relationship to other people exists, namely, no hate. When it reaches perfection with us, a proper relationship to God exists, namely, no fear.

As Jesus abode in His Father and consequently had confidence in the face of trials and death, so we can abide in Christ and have confidence in spite of the world"s hostility. Abiding in God gave Jesus confidence, and it gives us confidence too.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-john-4.html. 2012.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 John 4:17. τετελείωται, cf. 1 John 4:12. μεθʼ ἡμῶν: love is a heavenly visitant sojourning with us and claiming observance. Love has been “carried to its end” when we are like Jesus, His visible representatives. ὅτι resumes ἐν τούτῳ, ἵνακρίσεως being parenthetical: “herein … because” (1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10). παρρησίαν, see note on 1 John 2:28. ἐκεῖνος, see note on 1 John 2:6. ἐστιν, “is,” not ἧν, “was”. Jesus is in the world unseen, and our office is to make Him visible. We are to Him what He was to the Father in the days of His flesh—“Dei inaspecti aspectabilis imago”.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-john-4.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

The charity of God (which may either signify the love by which we love God, or by which God loves us) perfected with us, or in us, and so possesseth our souls, as to give us an humble confidence of our salvation, when we shall appear before his tribunal at the day of judgment: because as he is, we also are in this world. These words are differently expounded. They may signify, that as this world by his grace are always loving him and our neighbour, and increasing in this love, which gives us a confidence of our salvation. Or they may bear this sense, that as Jesus Christ was suffering in this world for us, so we are suffering for his sake. (Witham)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-john-4.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

our love = love with (App-104.) us.

made perfect. App-125.

boldness. Greek. parrhresia. See 1 John 2:28.

judgment. App-177.

as He is. See 1 John 2:6.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-john-4.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

(Compare 1 John 3:19-21.)

Our love , [ hee (Greek #3588) agapee (Greek #26) meth' (Greek #3326) heemoon (Greek #2257)]. 'LOVE is made perfect (in its relations) with us.' Love dwelling in us advances to its consummation 'with us;' i:e., as it is concerned with us (Luke 1:58, "showed great mercy upon (with) her:" 2 John 1:2.)

Boldness - `confidence' [ parreesian (Greek #3954)]: parallel to 1 John 3:21; opposite to "fear," 1 John 4:18. Herein is love perfected, namely, in God dwelling in us, and our dwelling in God (1 John 4:16) involving as is result, 'that we can have confidence (boldness) in the day of judgment' (so terrible to other men, Acts 24:25).

Because ... The ground of our 'confidence' is, 'because even as He (Christ) is, we also are in this world' (He will not, in that day, condemn those like Himself; we are righteous as He is righteous, especially in that which is the sum of righteousness, love (1 John 3:14). Christ IS righteous, and love itself, in heaven: so are we, His members still "in this world." Our oneness with Him even now in His exaltation (Ephesians 2:6), so that all that belongs to Him of righteousness etc., belongs to us by perfect imputation, and progressive impartation, is the ground of our love being perfected, so that we can have confidence in the day of judgment. We are in, not of, this world.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-john-4.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
our love
Gr. love with us. made.
12; 2:5; James 2:22
we may
2:28; 3:19-21; James 2:13
the day
Matthew 10:15; 11:22,24; 12:36; 2 Peter 2:9; 3:7
as
3:3; Matthew 10:25; John 15:20; Romans 8:29; Hebrews 12:2,3; 1 Peter 3:16-18; 1 Peter 4:1-3,13,14

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-john-4.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

The purpose. "Love is an official heavenly visitor who stays with us and claims our loyalty. Love has been ‘made perfect in us' when we are facsimiles of Jesus - His visible portrait!" Compare Matthew 5:16; Galatians 2:20.


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-john-4.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Lore made perfect means it is complete, and God made it possible for man to have that perfect (or complete) love, to give them boldness in view of the judgment day. As ls Hebrews -, Isaiah , so are we. To be confident with reference to the judgment, we must be on good terms with God in this world. That can be accomplished only by manifesting that unselfish love that was first shown by the Lord for us.


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Bibliography
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/1-john-4.html. 1952.

The result of this should be a boldness before God. Perfect love has made provision for the believer to have confidence and boldness in the presence of God.

1 John 4:17. By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He Isaiah , so are we in this world.

We find this same thought in the book of Hebrews.

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need ( Hebrews 4:16).

We who are creatures of the dust can have real, intimate fellowship with God.

Divine love, imparted to us, guarantees the perfection of His purpose in His people. We have three glorious proofs of love making perfect. Let us look at them.

One, in chapter two, we found that because we love Him and belong to Him we live in obedience to His Word.

But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him ( 1 John 2:5)

This is our relationship to God.

Two, in chapter four, we found that His love is perfected in us in our manifestation of love for the people of God.

If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us ( 1 John 4:12).

This is in our relationship to self.

Three, notice, it does not say as He Isaiah , so will we be when we get to heaven. We all would believe that. The Bible clearly states that when we see Him, we shall be like Him ( 1 John 3:2). God has determined that we are going to be conformed to the image of His Son ( Romans 8:29). Oh, yes, when we get to heaven, we will never fail Him.

But this verse17 is saying that just as He Isaiah , so are we now.

In this world! 1 John 4:17

This is our position in Christ. This is our relationship.

Death, sin, judgment are all behind us. No one can produce any evidence in the presence of God that we were sinners. His perfect love has made a perfect provision for us to come into His presence. Hence, we have boldness.

Death, sin, judgment are all in the past. When we stand before God, we stand before Him without sin. We stand in the righteousness of Christ. This gives us peace of heart, boldness, confidence. God has made a marvelous provision for us in His Song of Solomon , and it is beyond the comprehension of men.

If we wait until we can analyze and understand all the program and purpose of God in man's redemption, we will wait until it is too late. In fact, one cannot know until one first accepts the Saviour.

When we accept Jesus Christ, the door is flung open by the Spirit of God, and He keeps and guides us into all truth. He makes the things of Christ very real to us.

I love this17th verse. It was one of the first verses I learned when I became a Christian. It was so beyond me I could hardly believe that it was in the Bible. Yet, here it stands in the word of God. 1 John 4:17

As He Isaiah , so also are we in this world.

Someone may ask why I don't talk about Christian service. Doesn't that come in here somewhere? Service is the outflow of our fellowship with the Saviour, our relationship to Him. The more we walk with Him, the more gladly we serve Him.

Otherwise we get occupied with self, become indifferent to Him, and service becomes a burden. It is so easy for all of us to allow things to interfere with our own intimate fellowship with God and our walk with Him.

Yet this should always be our first concern.

The perfect provision that God has made for us, whereby we can fully enjoy that fellowship with Him, is that "perfect love casts out fear."

Christianity is not a religion of fear.

I recognize there are those who try to scare people into obedience to God by calling the judgment and wrath of God upon them.

I find so many Christians who are fearful about coming into the presence of God, not sure about their eternal destiny. The reason they are not sure is that they look at themselves, their works, their service, their failures.

They become so occupied with their weaknesses that they are miserable. There is a terrible fruitage from self-occupation and introspection. Not only does it produce selfishness and egotism but also discouragement.

By the way, Satan doesn't mind a bit if we get occupied with ourselves and our accomplishments. Our accomplishments may make us proud and our failures may make us discouraged. Satan doesn't care which it Isaiah , so long as we are not occupied with the Saviour. When we get our eyes on Christ, we find the One whom God accepts and we are accepted in the Beloved.

God never sees us apart from His Son. In Christ we can have perfect peace.

Proof Texts

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful ( John 14:27).

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation: but take courage; I have overcome the world ( John 16:33).

He Himself is our peace ( Ephesians 2:14).

i

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass ( 1 Thessalonians 5:23 ,24).

Fear and love do not go together. The more we look at ourselves and at each other, the more we find fault and become fearful. The more we love the Saviour and are occupied with Him, the more we will experience perfect peace. Let us read the Word of God to see the Saviour, to understand what kind of Father we have, and to know His provision for all our needs. Then love will replace our fears. Perfect peace and full joy is found in Jesus Christ, our wonderful Saviour.


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Bibliography
Mitchell, John G. D.D. "Commentary on 1 John 4:17". "Mitchell's Commentary on Selected New Testament Books". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jgm/1-john-4.html.

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