1 John 4:12-21
12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
The number of “quotable” phrases in these 10 verses is amazing. You cannot help but read this passage and stop every few words and say, “Oh yes, I’ve heard that before – many times!” The center of the passage is of course the love of God and the impact of that perfect love on the life of every human. When you come across a phrase like “His love is perfected in us” you must stop and take a moment to digest that idea. But John goes on to help us understand how the perfect love of God can be made manifest in our daily lives.
Primarily, we confess that Jesus is the Son of God. In the confession of that truth we find that God Himself abides. There are many throughout the millennia who have denied that fact and they have forfeited the knowledge of God for it. In the acceptance of Jesus as Lord of Lords, we are ready to receive further instruction about God's love. John teaches us about the impact such an understanding has upon our lives. Because of that perfected love we are granted confidence for the day of judgment! There is no need for fear. All of us have heard or even spoken the words “perfect love casts out fear.” Imagine a life lived without fear. Of course, we all have fears and it doesn’t take much contemplation to lay our hands on them. But the greatest fear for every person is what will happen after death. For those who find their hope in the Lord, that fear is obliterated.
Finally, we learn from John that all love emanates first from the throne of God. All love. Without the Father’s love, there would be no love on the planet. This is an amazing fact because it means that even those who do not know the Lord Jesus as Savior are benefactors of His love because all love comes from Him. We then exhibit that love into the world when we love others. Again, it’s pretty simple. But wow, is it profound.