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1 John 4:17-18
Wednesday AM Bible Study
January 18, 2006
Confidence before God is a great blessing. It gives us boldness in the
place that - otherwise - would mean judgment (1 John 2:28; 3:21-22; 5:14-15).
This confidence before God comes from His love being "perfected" in us.
His perfect love impacts us in three ways:
1. In our relationship with Himself (John 14:21; 1 John 2:3-5).
2. In our relationship with each other (John 13:35; 1 John 4:12).
3. In our relationship with ourselves (1 John 4:17-18).
It is this last relationship - that is, the impact of the perfection of God's
love in us upon our own selves - that is the subject of this morning's
passage. It builds upon two themes: "perfection of God's love" and
"confidence before God's throne". And John's point is that the perfection
of God's love is proven in us when we experience confidence before God; no
longer fearing His judgment, and bold to ask whatever we need of Him.
I. POSITIVELY: CONFIDENCE BEFORE THE JUDGE (v. 17).
A. The rich spiritual treasure being offered to us is boldness before God
in the day of judgment (Hebrews 2:14-15). We still may sin - in fact, we
will! - but His love is never taken from us. It is not a performance-based
love; but an unconditional love in Christ.
B. This boldness is the consequence of grasping a remarkable theological
truth. It is a truth that the Holy Spirit progressively confirms to our
hearts (Romans 8:15-17). It is that as Christ is, so are we in this world.
1. It isn't that as He is, so we should work to be; or that as He is, so we
shall be in glory one day - true as these things are. Rather, it is the
unspeakably marvelous truth that - in God's eyes - we are, right now in this
world, as Christ is.
2. It means that, just as is true of Christ:
a. We are at the right hand of God the Father (Ephesians 2:4-7).
b. We are adopted as God's own sons and daughters (John 1:12).
c. We are not of this world (John 17:16).
d. We are as loved by the Father as His own Son is (John 16:26-27;
C. No one should dare to be confident before God unless they are as Christ
is! And by God's grace, that's what we are!
II. NEGATIVELY: NO FEAR OF PUNISHMENT (v. 18).
A. God's love for us is, in a measure, imperfect until we receive it with
full confidence. So long as we are still afraid of God's judgment, we are
not yet "perfect" in His love. Perfect love casts out fear.
1. Internally speaking, knowing that we are fully loved compels us to
draw near to Him - even though we are still fall into sin. (See the example
of the woman in Luke 7:41-47).
2. There is also an external aspect to this in the way that we express
God's love toward others (1 John 3:18-22). If I do not love my brothers and
sisters in Christ as I should, I am being disobedient to Christ. And if
that's the case, I have reason to lack confidence before God. If I love,
though, I have confidence before Him.
B. If I fear God's judgment, then I am not yet perfect in His love. The
solution would not be to try to focus on the fear. Instead, let's give
ourselves to God through Christ in a fresh, new way; allow the Holy Spirit
to love others through us. We should confess our sin of not loving as we
should. As we do, we will soon find that the fear before God is gone, and
confidence before Him in His love through Christ will have taken its place.