vs 13 By this we know that we
characteristically dwell in Him, and He in us, because He has
given us of His Spirit.
vs 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
vs 15 Whoever confesses at some point in time that Jesus is the Son of God, God characteristically dwells in him, and he in God.
vs 16 And we have known and have believed the love that God characteristically has for us. God is love, Indeed he who dwells in love characteristically dwells in God, and God in him.
Here again he's reiterating some of his previous points whereby we know whether we have been born of God, namely:
1. By the impact of the Spirit on us (1John 3:24; 1John 2:27; 1John 3:9)
2. By our outward profession of Jesus (1John 2:23)
And in particular here our acknowledgement of him as the Son of God and Savior of the world.3. By our love for one another, being a reflection of God's love (1John 3:14; 4:12)
vs 17 Love has been perfected
among us in this: that we may characteristically have boldness
in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this
vs 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love characteristically casts out fear, because fear characteristically involves torment. But he who characteristically fears for himself has not been made perfect in love.
What he's referring to here is that when we come to realize God's love for us and apply that love to our own lives, it frees us from fears of condemnation concerning the day of judgment. Consider Jesus. During his time on earth did he fear condemnation? No, not for himself. So also those who walk as Jesus did need not fear the coming judgment, having had our sins atoned for on the cross of which we have accepted as the demonstration of God's love for us. For in his world we are like Christ, and thus our attitude reflects His.
Those born of God are not characteristically afraid of the judgment. In fact quite the contrary. However there is the legitimate concern advocated in the Bible as to whether one is genuinely in the faith (i.e. 2Cor 13:5; Heb 10:25,27 etc.) And so one should not be too presumptuous of one's salvation status if in fact one's behavior does not correlate with one's faith - which is the main point of 1John. And furthermore while there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1), there is yet a judgement for rewards (1Cor 3:11-15) And since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 1Peter 1:17 Yet even in the context of this verse in 1Peter 1:17 we find confidence as Peter also says just prior to that, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice" 1Pet 1:3-6a and "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1Pet 1:8-9 So much expression of certainty, confidence, assurance can't be neglected in interpreting what he says afterwards.
However a lack of fear of judgement is not of itself indicative
that one has been born of God. For example it says, "concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There
is no fear of God before his eyes." Ps 36:1 And
furthermore, as an example of the misconceptions inherent in many
other religions, there's Fundamentalist Islam which guarantees
eternal life if you commit a murder/suicide in the name of their
god "Allah". So there are many people in the world who are
confident about their salvation status who shouldn't be. But if
you're walking as Jesus did, you can be confident on the judgement
day. To reiterate 1John 2:28 "And
now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we
may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming."
PERFECTED IN LOVE
Who has been perfected in love? John already stated, "whoever characteristically keeps His word,
truly the love of God has been perfected in him." 1John
2:5a which goes hand in hand with 1John 4:12b "If we characteristically love one another, God
characteristically dwells in us, and His love has been perfected
in us." This is the case for ALL genuine Christians,
that is those born of God. The present tense does not exclude the
possibility that at times one uncharacteristically fails to keep
His word. This is not referring to perfect behavior. One does not
have to have perfect behavior to be characterized as one perfected
in love. While such a phrase may be misconstrued, it seems
to simply mean that God's love had an objective in mind. That
objective was the salvation of souls from sin, which is found to
have hit its target in those who have come to genuine faith in
Christ. Perfect! Mission Accomplished!
The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources