“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17 (KJV)
In a word study of the above verse, I was certain as I began, that my efforts would make the text clearer and afterwards I would walk away with a new truth to be treasured in my heart. Instead, the activity of picking apart the above verse, has given me reassurance of a truth I already understood (always a nice thing to uncover) but brought with it a perplexing question, completely unrelated to the verse I set out to study – let me explain.
As you can see, the above verse is from the King James Version of the bible. Below you will also find the same verse from the New King James Version (my preferred version to read), the New International Version, and the New American Standard Bible – all four of which are the most widely used bible translations in the English speaking world.
“ Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17 (NKJV)
“This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” 1 John 4:17 (NIV)
“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17 (NASB)
I am assuming that after reading these four different translations you may be feeling the same way I did as I approached this study – a bit confused. So, let’s look at the original Greek and see if that sheds any more light on the topic of this verse:
“herein” means that resting place of truth follows in the preceding text
“love” means a charitable love feast
“perfect” to have completed or accomplished in its most perfect form
“have” signifies to hold as a continuous possession
“boldness” otherwise meaning outspokenness
“day” is just a set aside amount of time
“judgment” means to bring to judgment
“as he is” the overall meaning of these words together is that God’s presence resides
“so are we” likewise these words together mean that where eat of us reside
“in this world” meaning creation and all of the things that are contained in the context of creation
What my compilation of definitions left me with was the following:
“In the following truth we find the love feast of God brought to its perfect completion, this being a truth that during the entire length of judgment, will help us His people have the ability to be outspoken about the truths we understand: God was real and present in our world and in the activities we were involved in each day, just like any other person we interacted with on a daily basis – He, God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the gift of the Holy Spirit are REAL.”
In my life I have leaned on the above truth even before the judgment day so as just to have faith when I could not see with my own eyes the God I so dearly love. There are many times God asks us to act and/or speak out for Him when we have no worldly basis to do so, but it is because of our past experiences with Him that give us the courage to be bold and outspoken as He calls us. When that final day of judgment arrives we will receive our final and greatest test of that faith. Will we have a faith strong enough to stand before the throne of judgment and be able to say, “Yes I stake all of my eternity on Jesus!”? Or will we waiver? What God is telling us is that if we have come to know Him in this world as He has been present with us in it, we will not waiver a bit but rather have the ability to be outspoken in our trust and love for Jesus. How wonderful a reassurance!