Statement of Faith
The Four Most Important Things We Could Ever Tell
Listen to this week's message!
Map to the Church
Enhance your daily reading of God's word. Click here for free, printable Bible Reading and Prayer Journal sheets!
The Fruit of the Spirit
God's Love Made Complete
Reasons for Love
Test the Spirits
Making the Bitter Times Sweet
For He Is Good!
The Assurance That Comes from Love
the Tests of Love
Sermon Message: Extravagant
Sermon Message: Even
the Death of the Cross
Sermon Message: God
Is For Us!
Sermon Message: Fellowship
in the Light
and the World
News That Changes Lives
Sermon Message: O
Worship the King
Perfect Love Casts Out Fear
1 John 4:17-18
Theme: In this passage, we discover how our abiding in Jesus' love impacts
us with respect to the Day of Judgment.
(Delivered Sunday, June 9, 2002 at Bethany Bible Church.
All scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James
Several months ago, I had the opportunity to be in one of the courtrooms
of the Washington County Courthouse. I have been in a courtroom before,
and have seen lots of them on television. I praise God that I've never
been in one because I had to be. Ordinarily, they strike me as very sober,
very serious places. But on this particular occasion, there was nothing
sober or serious about the place at all. In fact, it was a very happy
and celebrative place. I happened to be with a group from our church family
to witnessing the signing of some adoption papers. The context of our
presence there that day was love; and our behavior in the courtroom was
in keeping with the context. I stood in the middle of the courtroom among
those who were chatting informally with the judge; while several kids
were playing around the witness box, acting out scenes from "Perry Mason".
As I stood in the courtroom on that day, I wondered how differently I
would feel if I had been there because I was in serious violation of the
law. I tried to imagined how I would feel about the prospect of being
in that place if I had fallen short of the law and was guilty of the charges
being brought against me. I'm sure I wouldn't be so casual in front of
the judge; and I'm very sure I wouldn't look upon it as a celebrative
time. But on this occasion, I had no reason whatsoever to be afraid. I
could be absolutely confident, and enjoy this happy time in the courtroom;
because we were not there for judgment, but for love.
John expresses something of that spirit of confidence and boldness in
this morning's passage. In this case, however, he isn't speaking of the
prospect of our visiting the local county courthouse, but of our standing
before the throne of God on the day of judgment. And he isn't speaking
of being on equal standing with an earthly judge, but of God Himself loving
and accepting us as much as He loves and accepts His own precious Son
Jesus Christ. And he isn't speaking of mere legal innocence, but of abiding
in the perfection of God's own eternal love. John writes;
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness
in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There
is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves
torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love (1 John
* * * * * * * * * *
This morning, we continue our study from 1 John; a letter that John wrote
to assure his readers of genuine fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.
He wanted to establish them in the fullness of joy that comes through
that fellowship. And to do so, John develops several different themes
in his letter. I'd like to begin this morning by drawing your attention
to two of these themes; the first being the "perfection" of God's love,
and the second being the "confidence" before God's throne that comes from
that perfection of love.
John speaks much about "confidence" or "boldness" before God in this
letter. Genuine confidence before God is a very precious possession; and
John mentions it frequently. He writes, for example, "And now, little
children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and
not be ashamed before Him at His coming" (2:28). Later, he writes, "Beloved,
if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever
we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those
things that are pleasing in His sight" (3:21-22). And near the end of
the letter, he writes, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him,
that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we
know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions
that we asked of Him" (5:14-15). John uses the same Greek word for "confidence"
in all these verses; and he uses it again in our passage this morning
- here translated in some of our Bible's as "boldness".
This is a confidence that comes from God's own love being "perfected"
in us; and that brings us to the second theme I want to bring to your
attention. When John speaks of the "perfection" of God's love in us, he
isn't speaking of our own love for God becoming "perfect", or of our love
for one another becoming "perfect". We wont be perfect in the way we express
love until we're in heaven. Instead, John is speaking of God's own perfect
love being "in" us; and being made "perfect" or "complete" through us
by our loving one another (4:12). As one author puts it, "God's love is
not perfected in a Christian whose heart is simply a reservoir in which
to receive it, but only in one whose heart furnishes an aqueduct to convey
it to others."
John speaks of this "theme" - the "perfection" of God's love in us - in
several places in his letter as well. First, he writes of the perfection of
God's love as it impacts our relationship with God Himself. He writes, "Now
by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says,
'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth
is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is
perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him" (2:3-5). God's love
is "perfected" or "brought to completion" in us, when we express it toward
God by our obedience to Christ's commands. "He who has My commandments and
keeps them," Jesus said, "it is he who loves Me" (John 14:21).
Next, John writes of the perfection of God's love as it impacts our relationships
with one another. He writes, "No one has seen God at any time. If we love
one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us"
(4:12). God's love is "perfected" in us when it is expressed through us
to one another. "By this all will know that you are My disciples," Jesus
taught us, "if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).
And finally, we see that he writes about the perfection of God's love
as it impacts our own inner-selves. God's love is "perfected" in us when
we experience God's testimony of love in our hearts with respect to our
own ultimate destiny, and when we no longer fear to stand before God on
the day of judgment. In our passage this morning, John writes, "Love has
been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day
of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear
in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.
But he who fears has not been made perfect in love" (4:17-18).
* * * * * * * * * *
As you can see, these two themes - the perfection of God's love in us,
and our own confidence before God's throne - come together in this morning's
passage. John had been writing in this section of his letter about Jesus'
command to love (John 13:34). He made the point that, if we love one another
as Jesus has loved us, then His love has been "perfected" or "brought
to completion" in us (v. 12). And now, John's point is this: the perfection
of His love in us is proven to us when we experience confidence before
Him, and are no longer fearful of the day of judgment, or shrink back
from the prospect of His return. His love is perfected in us when we boldly
and confidently enjoy fellowship with God through His Son Jesus; and freely
ask whatever we wish from Him in Jesus' name. Can you think of anything
more precious than the sort of confidence before God this passage is holding
out to us? This takes the blessings that comes from perfect love all the
way to the highest possible level - even to the point of confidence before
the throne of God on the day of judgment!
I pray that the Holy Spirit will establish this truth in our hearts through
the Scriptures this morning. I hope that we will grow together to rejoice
in the complete confidence before God that comes from having His love
perfected in us. Many people have no such confidence before God. For many,
the prospect of standing before God is the most terrifying thing imaginable.
And for those who are outside of Christ, it's appropriate that such a
prospect truly be terrifying. But it's God's will that the day of judgment
lose its terror for those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus,
and who now abide in His. It's His will that those of us who are in Christ
experience confidence in His love.
This passage presents this ultimate blessing to us in two ways, positively
and negatively. First, look with me and see this truth expressed positively,
as John shows us that the perfection of God's love in us will give us
1. CONFIDENCE BEFORE THE JUDGE (v. 17).
John writes, "Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have
boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world."
First, I would like you to notice the spiritual treasure that John is
holding out to us in these words: "that we may have boldness in the day
of judgment." I can't think of anything more precious to have a genuine
confidence - even a boldness! - before the throne of God on the day of
judgment, can you?
I confess that I didn't always have such a confidence. For many years,
I lived in dread of the judgment of God. When I was very young, I had
come to a place in my life in which I defiantly declared that I no longer
believed in God. That conclusion wasn't a result of any sincere, heart-felt,
philosophic quest for the truth. Instead, I made that declaration because
I wanted to be free to do whatever I wanted to do. Frankly, a belief in
the God of the Bible cramped my style; so I chose to flatly disbelieve
in Him. I thought that I was pretty clever in doing this; and that I was
now set free to sin in any way I wanted. I lived with that frame of mind
for a few years; but I eventually discovered that I couldn't stop believing
in God no matter how hard I tried. It's as if God has placed a testimony
of Himself in our hearts that we just can't ignore - no matter how hard
we may try. By the time I was through with my period of disbelief, I ended
up with more fear of the judgment of God for my sins than you could possibly
imagine. I finally gave up my disbelief; and admitted the truth that He
really was there, and that I was a doomed sinner before Him.
The Bible says that Jesus died on the cross in order to "destroy him
who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those who through
fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb. 2:14-15).
I was very much afraid of dying; and that was because I was even more
afraid of what would happen to me after death. In spite of my professed
disbelief, I knew deep down that I would have to stand before a righteous
God and be judged for my having rejected Him. But when I learned that,
in love, God sent His Son to die on the cross in my place, and pay for
my sins, I turned to Him immediately and trusted Him as my Savior. One
of the things that I noticed right away was that my fear of death was
gone. It was gone because I now felt the love of the God I had formerly
But even after I trusted Jesus as my Savior, I still stumbled in sins
and failed Him in many ways. I understood His love for me imperfectly;
and I often thought His acceptance of me was based on my performance.
As a result, I often struggled with a lack of confidence before God. It
took time for me to learn that God's love for me is unconditional in Christ.
A confidence in His love is something that, for some, comes in an instant;
but I believe that, for others of us, it takes time. It's something that
the Holy Spirit helps each of us who have trusted in Jesus to individually
grow into. The Bible says,
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but
you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children
of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and joint heirs with
Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified
together" (Rom. 8:15-17).
Today, I have no doubt about being fully loved and fully accepted by
God in His Son Jesus. I still stumble and fall at times; but He is daily
conforming me more and more into the image of Christ. I have trusted His
promise that all of the punishment for my sins has already fallen on Jesus;
and that He paid for my sins fully at the cross. As a result, I know that
His love for me will never change. Now, I want to live more and more like
Jesus because I have confidence that I'm as certain for heaven as if I
were already there. I know that, if I were to die right now and be suddenly
ushered into the presence of God, I could go before Him as confidently
and as boldly as a beloved child would go before his or her Father. It
would be like entering into the courtroom in which my beloved Father was
the judge. I would be entering into it in happy circumstances, because
I will never go there to be judged for my sins but only to rejoice in
His love forever.
* * * * * * * * * *
It took time for the Holy Spirit to develop this blessed assurance in
me. For this reason, I'd like you to notice, next, that this "boldness
in the day of judgment" is the consequence of our faith in a theological
truth. It's a truth that the Holy Spirit helps us to come to believe,
and to grow to see realized in the way we live. It's a truth expressed
in ten very simple words; but it's a truth almost too wonderful for a
billion words. John writes, "... Because as He is, so are we in this world."
The "He" being spoken of is none other than Jesus Himself. And when we
read those words, we may be tempted to alter their true meaning in our
minds because they're almost too marvelous to believe. We may, for example,
be tempted to read them as saying, "Because as He is, so do we try to
be in this world"; as if John were speaking of Jesus as the great example
to follow in the way we live on earth. It's true that Jesus is our great
example; but this isn't what John is saying. Or we may be tempted to read
these words as saying, "Because as He is, so can we expect to be one day
in heaven;" as if John were seeking to inspire us with the hope of future
glory. Again, it's true that when we finally see Jesus, we will be transformed
into His image in glory; but this, also, is not what John is saying.
The glorious truth John is giving to us is that, if we are truly in Christ,
we are - right now - as Jesus Himself is, in this world. He is in heaven;
but as He is, so are we "in this world". Jesus is at the right hand of
His Father in heavenly glory. And we are, right now, seated at the right
hand of God's glory with Jesus. As the Bible teaches, "... God, who is
rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even
when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by
grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit
together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come
He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward
us in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:4-7). We truly are as He is "in this world".
And that's not the only way that we are like Jesus. Jesus came into this
world as the Son of God; the one who came from the Father. And God has
likewise adopted us as His own sons and daughters. "... As many as received
[Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those
who believe in His name" (John 1:12). And so we, like Jesus, are - right
now - in the world but not of the world; because as Jesus Himself prayed
for us, "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world" (John
17:16). Jesus Himself prayed this! And so in this sense also, we are as
He is "in this world".
And there's more! Jesus is God's beloved Son - precious and dear above
all else to the heart of His Father. And the amazing thing is that we
who are in Christ are - right now - as beloved to God the Father as His
own precious Son Jesus. Again, Jesus Himself prayed about us saying, "And
the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just
as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect
in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved
them a You have loved Me" (John 17:22-23). I would never have dared to
think such a thing unless Jesus Himself had prayed it! Jesus told us;
"In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall
pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you
have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God" (John 16:26-27).
If the Father loves us as much as He loves Jesus, then it's true that
we are as He is "in the world".
Dear brothers and sisters; this, ultimately, is the reason why "we may
have boldness in day of judgment." It's because "as He is, so are we in
this world." No one should ever dare to be bold before the throne of God
on the day of judgment, unless they were as glorious in the eyes of the
Father as Jesus is, or as "born of God" as Jesus is, or as beloved to
the Father as Jesus is. And yet, that's our standing before God right
now - no less so than as is true of Jesus Himself!
This theological truth cannot help but transform us, if we understand
that it's true of us in Christ. If we are truly related to Jesus Christ
in this way, then we are compelled to live on this earth as He Himself
lived. If it's true in a positional sense that "as He is so are we in
this world", then it will show itself to be true in a practical sense
that "as He is so will we be in this world". As John says, "Behold what
manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called
children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did
not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet
appeared what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall
be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this
hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:1-3). He writes,
"He who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk just as He walked"
So, what does all this have to do with the perfection of love? This all
means that, if as He is so are we in this world, we will love one another
as He loved us. "By this," John writes, "we know love, because He laid
down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the
brethren" (3:16). "Beloved," he writes, "if God so loved us, we also ought
to love one another" (4:11). Perfection of love as exhibited in our love
for one another leads to perfection of love as exhibited in our confidence
in the day of judgment.
This is, I believe, what John means by what he says at the very beginning
of this verse. Literally, John wrote, "In this love is perfected among
us ..." While I'm sure that John is thinking back in this to the things
he has already said about our duty to love one another, I believe his
main point is to look forward to our own sense of confident "boldness"
before the prospect of standing before God on the day of judgment.2
As we abide in Jesus' love and allow His love to be expressed through
us to others, then His love is "perfected" in us. And discovering the
perfection of that love in us gives us confidence before God - even so
great a confidence as "boldness in the day of judgment"; because if we
love as Jesus loves, we show that it's true that, "as He is, so are we
in this world".
* * * * * * * * * *
John has expressed this wonderful confidence before God in positive terms.
Now, he expresses it in negative terms. He has shown in verse 17 what
the perfection of God's love in us gives us; and now, he shows us in verse
18 what the perfection of that love in us removes from us. The perfection
of God's own love in us will take away our ...
2. FEAR OF PUNISHMENT (v. 18).
John writes, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,
because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect
Reading this reminds me of a terrible mistake I once made with my niece.
When she was very, very little, and was all strapped up in her little
car seat one day and about to be taken on a car ride, I wanted to make
her smile. (That's one of my favorite hobbies with babies, by the way;
and ordinarily, I do it rather well.) So - fun-loving guy that I am -
I jumped in front of her on this particular occasion, and stuck out my
arms, and surprised her with a unexpected, "Hi!" The blood-curdling scream
I heard from her indicated that things didn't go as well as they usually
do. In fact, for almost seven years, I couldn't even walk into the room
without the poor child becoming traumatized and running to hide from me.
Over time, she began to come to grips with the idea that I really loved
her, and that I was really an okay guy. In fact, as she got a little older,
I remember how hard she would try to get to the place where she could
feel comfortable around me. But you could tell it was a real effort on
her part. She would sometimes stand in front of me, and smile with a really
forced smile on her little face. I suspect that it was because her mother
told her to smile at me; because as soon as she was through, she'd immediately
run away and hide from me again. There was certainly no doubt in my
mind that I genuinely loved her; but the love was made "imperfect" on
the receiving end because of fear. One of the happiest days in my life
was when she finally ceased being afraid of me; because then, I knew that
she knew I loved her.
This illustrates a principle I'd like you to notice from this verse.
John asserts that there is no fear in love. "Perfect love casts out fear".
One thing displaces the other. I can't be perfect in someone's love if
I fear them; and I can't fear someone whose love has been perfected in
me. John says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,
because fear involves torment." The word John uses for "torment" can also
be translated "punishment" (as it is in the NIV and the NASB). The presence
of such fear indicates an imperfect experience of love. It indicates that
we still expect God's judgment to some degree. But once love is perfected
in us, all such fear is gone.
* * * * * * * * * *
I believe that one aspect of this principle is something that we experience
internally. We can know that God's love has been perfected in us by the
fact that we no longer fear to stand before His throne. When we're convinced
of God's love for us, we no longer hold back from drawing near to Him
and enjoying the fullness of His loving fellowship.
Jesus once told a parable that beautifully illustrates this. He was invited
to the home of a self-righteous Pharisee named Simon. While they ate,
a woman - most probably a harlot - knowing that Jesus was there - came
in to where He was. She wept; and as she wept, she washed His feet with
her tears and wiped them with her hair. Then, she kissed His feet, and
opened a very expensive bottle of perfume and poured it out upon them
in an act of deep gratitude and love. Obviously, there's a story of something
that happened between her and the Savior that we haven't been told. But
the evidence of her redemption was shown in her expressions of thankfulness
Simon, however, was shocked by the actions of this sinful woman. And
he was even more shocked at Jesus. Surely if Jesus were a prophet of God,
he thought, He'd never let such a sinful woman touch Him like this. But
that's when Jesus takes the opportunity to tell Simon this parable:
"There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five
hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with
which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which
of them will love him more?" Simon answered and said, "I suppose the
one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged."
Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman?
I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has
washed My feet with her tears and wiped My feet with the hair of her
head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My
feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil,
but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say
to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.
But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little" (Luke 7:41-47).
How could it be that such a sinful woman wasn't afraid to draw so near
to the holy Son of God? Why was it, in fact, that so many of the most
sinful people of Jesus' day loved to be around Him? It was because He
loved them and had forgiven their sins; and now, they had no fear before
Him. His love had been perfected in them that they had no fear of drawing
near to the Judge of all the earth.
The principle John is holding up to us here is that perfect love casts
out fear; and this story of Jesus illustrates an internal aspect of it.
But I believe there's also an external aspect to this principle; one that
has to with our expressing that love to others. We give ourselves no cause
to fear standing before God in the day of judgment, and bring upon ourselves
no cause for concern that we have disobeyed Him, if we are faithful to
allow His love to be perfected in us through our love for others.
John speaks of this earlier in his letter. I have already quoted portions
of this passage to you; but listen to it again in this context;
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And
we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has
this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart
from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children,
let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And
by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts
before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart,
and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we
have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him,
because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing
in His sight (3:18-22).
If I do not love my brother or sister in Christ, then I am living in
disobedience to Christ's command. And if this is the case, then I have
a good reason for my lack of confidence before God. But if I repent of
my lack of love, and humble myself before the Savior and ask His help,
and if I invite Him to perfect His own love in me by exhibiting it through
me, then "perfect love casts out fear". I have no fear of drawing close
to Him; because as He is, so am I in this world.
* * * * * * * * * *
John closes by saying, "But he who fears has not been made perfect in
love." Is it perhaps true of you that you lack confidence in the prospect
of the day of judgment? Do you "fear" to draw near to God? Does the thought
of standing before the throne of the Father remain disconcerting one to
you? If so, then this passage suggests it's because you have not yet been
made perfect in His love.
If you have put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior; and yet you
still have a fear to draw near to Him, let me make a rather surprising
suggestion to you. Don't try to focus on overcoming that fear. Instead,
give yourself to God today in a new, fresh way; and allow the Holy Spirit
to love others through you.
Allow the Spirit to search your heart hatred, or resentment, or bitterness
that you may still harbor toward someone. It may be that the search won't
take long; because you may even already know who that someone is. Then,
confess your sin of being unloving toward that person, and of choking-out
God's efforts to love them through you. Allow Jesus' self-sacrificing
love to be demonstrated through you to that person. Ask for the Holy Spirit
to empower you to be kind, forgiving and merciful to that person. As you
do, you'll find that you are loving as Jesus would love, and truly are
as He is "in this world". I suspect that you'll soon find the fear to
be gone, and that confidence and boldness in your relationship with Christ
has taken its place; because you are now being obedient to His command.
And if you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior,
then this verse is for you too. "He who fears has not been made perfect
in love"; and if you are outside of Christ, this fear would be because
you are still separated from God because of your sins, and are still under
His righteous wrath. You would be right to fear to draw near God in such
But God offers you forgiveness and eternal life. "And this is the testimony:
that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who
has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have
life" (1 John 5:11-12). I suggest that you pray this simple prayer: "God;
I am a sinner. I have turned my back on You and have disobeyed You. And
I fear to stand before You in the day of judgment; because my sins deserve
punishment. But I believe Your promise that Jesus has taken all the punishment
my sins deserve, and has paid for my sins on His cross. I place my trust
in His cross for the forgiveness of my sins. And I now, by faith, enter
into fellowship with You through Him. Thank You for hearing my prayer.
In Jesus' name, Amen."
If you pray that prayer, and mean it, then you have begun to allow His
love to be perfected in you. Continue to allow Him to perfect it in you;
and you will never again have reason to fear on the day of judgment. You
can stand confidently and boldly in fellowship with Your heavenly Father
and rejoice in His love - even unto the day of judgment.
1 Zane C. Hodges, The Epistles of John:
Walking in the Light of God's Love (Irving, TX: Grace Evangelical Society,
1999), pp. 198-9.
2 John's wording in the original language
leaves it somewhat unclear what "this" he's referring to when he says
(literally), "In this is perfected the love with us ..." What interpretation
is placed on the "this" will, in turn, affect how the conjunction in the
next clause is translated. The phrase "in this" is in the emphatic position
in the original Greek; and so The New American Standard Bible sees the
"this" as referring back to the command to love one another that was expounded
on in the previous verses. Therefore, it translates the next clause as
a consequence of that command to love; "so that we may have confidence
in the day of judgment ..." The NIV is similar; translating this next
clause, "so that we will have confidence in the day of judgment". But
because Paul makes the point in verse 18 that "he who fears has not been
made perfect in love", and because he makes the case in verse 17 that
"as [Christ] is, so are we in this world", I prefer the interpretation
adopted by the the King James Version, and the New King James Version;
specifically, that "in this" looks ahead and refers to the confidence
we have in the day of judgment.
Missed a message? Check the Archives!
Copyright © 2002 Bethany Bible Church, All Rights Reserved