By Stan Brown
I John 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
Although I know little about the intricacies of music I will pretend for a moment as if I do. John has the soul of a musician as we move through his epistle and the various themes keep rising back to the surface. The themes of love, abiding, light, obedience and boldness (among others) keep rising to the surface. The theme of perfect love rises back to the surface here. Earlier John had spoken about the relationship between perfect love and obedience to His Word (1John 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him). John also associates abiding with perfect love (1John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.) In the immediate context love, indeed the One Who is Love (God is love) abides in us. It is the love that we have come to know as we have walked in the light with Him. It is this perfect love that flows through us to one another and ultimately to the world as we are God’s messengers.
As the theme of love rises back to the surface, the theme of boldness/confidence flows up alongside it. As we abide in His love, we may walk boldly into His presence at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Indeed, we may walk boldly into His presence today. Twice before, John has written about this bold confidence. He has written of an abiding that replaces shame with boldness. (1John 2:28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.) He has written about the cleansing blood of Jesus that replaces condemnation with confidence. (1John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;). Now it is perfect love that results in bold confidence in His presence. This is especially exciting. Just think, God allows us to come directly into His presence with neither announcement nor fear. His presence remains holy but we may enter confidently because of His great love. He even offers us bold confidence at a time that might ordinarily be fraught with trepidation; that is the day of judgment.
This verse ends with the magnificent statement (magnificent statements keep rising to the surface in John’s music as well.) because as He is, so also are we in this world. I mentioned earlier, that we are His messengers to this world, indeed as we love one another we are His message to the world. We will never be the perfect message that Jesus is but God has given responsibility of exemplifying the love of the Father and the Son in this world today, as He is, so also are we in this world.
I may have said some of these things before but that is only because John has said then before as these themes keep arising back into our consciousness through the beauty of the music John performs in our hearing. John wants these themes to keep rising into our awareness like the songs that we cannot get out of our heads. Too often, it is thoughts of sin that arise into our minds. John wants us to hear the sounds of love and confidence as they continually resonate in our thoughts.