The verses 17-19 continue the theme of love that is emphasized in 1 John 4:16. They explain how love is made complete among believers, and how it can give them confidence on the day of judgment.
Verse 17 says that love is made complete among us when we are like Jesus in this world. This means that when we follow Jesus' example of loving God and loving others, our love becomes more complete and mature. This kind of love is not just a feeling, but it is a way of life that reflects the character of Jesus. It emphasizes that believers are called to live like Jesus in this world. This means that we should imitate His sacrificial love, His humility, and His obedience to God's will. By living like Jesus, we become more like Him, and our love becomes more complete and mature.
Verse 18 speaks about the relationship between love and fear. It says that perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. In other words, when we experience God's perfect love, we don't need to be afraid of judgment or punishment, because we know that we are forgiven and accepted by God. The one who fears is not made perfect in love, meaning that if we are still afraid of judgment, it's a sign that we haven't fully experienced God's perfect love.
The phrase "perfect love" refers to the kind of love that is complete and mature, and it comes from God. This kind of love is not based on fear or punishment, but on a deep and intimate relationship with God. When we experience God's perfect love, it drives out fear from our hearts and gives us the confidence and assurance that we need to face the challenges of life.
The phrase "fear has to do with punishment" in verse 18 may sound harsh, but it's important to understand that this is not a threat from God. Rather, it's a reminder that when we are separated from God, we are naturally afraid of judgment and punishment, because we know that we have sinned and fallen short of God's standard. However, when we experience God's love and forgiveness, we are no longer afraid, because we know that we have been accepted by God and reconciled to Him through Jesus.
Verse 19 is a reminder that our ability to love is rooted in God's love for us. We love because he first loved us. This means that our love for others is not something that we can generate on our own, but it flows from the love that we have received from God. When we experience God's love, it transforms us and enables us to love others in a selfless and sacrificial way. This reminds us that our ability to love is not based on our own strength or merit, but on the love that we have received from God. When we recognize how much God loves us, it changes our hearts and motivates us to love others in the same way. This kind of love is not self-seeking or conditional, but it is selfless and sacrificial, because it reflects the character of God.
These verses are also a reminder that love is not just an emotion or feeling, but it is something that is demonstrated through action. When we love others as Jesus did, we are showing them the love of God in a tangible and meaningful way. This kind of love has the power to transform lives and to bring hope and healing to a broken world.
Overall, these verses emphasize the importance of love in the life of a believer, and how it is intimately connected to our relationship with God. By following Jesus' example of love, experiencing God's perfect love, and loving others in response to God's love for us, we can have confidence and assurance in our relationship with God, and in our ultimate destiny on the day of judgment.
1 John 4:16-19. We know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this love has been made perfect among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, even so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.