By Stan Brown
I John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
It is love that emboldens us as believers walking in the light in fellowship with the Father and the Son. We are given boldness to enter into the presence of God with confidence. If we would seek an audience with the president of the United States there would be hoops through which we must jump. As believers, walking in love and light, we may confidently and boldly enter and remain in the presence of God. John uses the Greek word ‘agape’ translated love more than one hundred times in his New Testament writings. He uses it forty-five times in this epistle. He uses it to describe the love of God for us as well as his own (John’s) love for us and our love for each other. He tells us what we must not love as in the case of the worldly system. The unfathomable love of God is expressed in His sacrifice on the cross bringing us eternal life. But that is just the beginning. He wants us to come into His presence with confidence and remain there as we love Him and love one another. He has chosen us to be the messengers through whom the world will catch a glimpse of His love.
So, now we will briefly look at the verse itself. John addresses his readers as Beloved expressing the love that he has for us and that he encourages us to have for each other. God seeks to quiet the self-condemning hearts of believers who are walking in the light as John expressed in the first section of this epistle. As we walk with God, recognizing and confessing our sins we have perfect fellowship with Him and He seeks to quiet the guilt that we often feel, even for confessed and forgiven sins. Guilt is covered by the blood of Christ. If God does not condemn us as we walk in the light then neither should our own hearts. This is not sinless perfection but rather God viewing us through the cleansing blood of Jesus as we properly deal with our sins in the light. We need not stumble in fear in God’s presence. We walk with Him as did Adam and Eve in the Garden.
John picks up on the word translated confidence which was previously used to describe confidence at His coming. We need not wait for His coming to receive this boldness. God offers it to us now. In the next verse John will relate this confidence to prayer. Here, he describes the place of fellowship that God wants us to enjoy with absolute confidence. This is not the place of arrogant reveling in sinlessness. Rather it is coming humbly into the presence of God knowing that our sins are forgiven both judicially (for eternal life) and practically (for fellowship). He has provided the opportunity to humbly, with quiet confidence enter into His presence with the boldness that we would enter our own home. After all the presence of God is our home. Ergo, live in the confidence and boldness that He has provided for us.