17 “By 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.” (I John 4:17)
Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
The Greek verb translated “began” is used only here and in Galatians 3:3. In both instances it refers to salvation. When God begins a work of salvation in an individual, He finishes and perfects the work that He started. Additionally, the verb “bring it to completion” (ἐπιτελέσει; epitelesei) points to the eternal security of the Christian (John 6:40, 44; Rom. 5:10; 8:29–39; Eph. 1:13–14; Heb.7:25l 12:1-2). With respect to the phrase “the day of Jesus Christ,” this refers to the final salvation, reward and glorification of the believer (1 Cor. 3:10–15; 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:9–10).
Philippians 1:6 parallels today’s text from I John 4:17. The Apostle John, much like the Apostle Paul, addresses the subject of God’s perfecting work in the believer. The word perfected (τετελείωται; teteleiotai) means to complete. It is a work of God upon the believer. It is a past completed action with ongoing results. Our salvation in Christ, while a past event, has a continuing impact in our daily lives.
The purpose of such a work of God is so that the believer in Christ may have confidence for the Day of Judgment. The confidence (παρρησίαν; parresian) means boldness while in the midst of intimidating situations. Imagine how intimidating it will be to face the Lord on the Day of Judgment. This is the Bema Seat Judgment the Apostle Paul spoke of in I Corinthians 3:10-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:9-10. It is also what he made reference to in Philippians 1:6.
This Day of Judgment will be when God evaluates the believer’s life. Dr. John MacArthur writes, “He (the Apostle John) is not suggesting sinless perfection, but rather mature love marked by confidence in the face of judgment. Confidence is a sign that love is mature.”
The reason why we may have confidence in facing God’s judgment is because each believer is clothed, so to speak, with the righteousness of Christ. This is vividly portrayed in Zechariah 3 and clearly explained in Romans 4.
The Apostle Paul also personally testified of it in Philippians 3:3-9 which says, “3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”
Is your confidence in facing God in eternity based upon the righteousness of Christ? If so, you possess a confident love when considering the Day of Judgment.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!