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By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment

1 John 4:17 New American Standard Bible

17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, we also are in this world.

The word perfected here is the Greek word teleioo; it means to carry through completely, to accomplish, finish, bring to an end. John here is not speaking of perfected in the sense that it is without error or fault. We will not be made perfect until Jesus Christ returns and we are living with Him in His kingdom.

Perfected here speaks of maturation. There is a maturing that takes place in the life of the believer through the work of the Spirit of God. As we grow in Christ the love of God is made manifest in us. When we come to Christ we are justified by faith, but there is a lifelong process of sanctification in which we are continually transformed into the image and character of Jesus Christ.

It is not something that happens instantaneously or overnight. But as we abide in Christ, the love of God is matured within us. We move from being a sinner broken by sin and fixed on selfishness, to a brand-new creation whose very character and nature has been changed by the hand of Almighty God.

All will stand before Jesus Christ in judgement someday. For the believer in Christ they will stand before the Judgement seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-12, 2 Cor 5:10). This is not a judgement based on salvation. All who have faith in Jesus Christ will enter into God’s kingdom based on faith alone. But the judgement seat of Christ is where rewards will be given. Rewards will be based upon the faithfulness with which we lived our lives upon this earth for Him and His kingdom (Matt 25:21). Those who have lived lives faithfully to the Lord will be greatly rewarded. But those who have not will enter into God’s kingdom having what they have done in their lives burned up, but will still enter in, escaping the flames of eternal punishment (1 Cor 3:15).

For those who are unbelievers they shall stand before the white throne judgement (Rev 20:11-15). It is here that the book of life will be open and all those who have rejected Jesus Christ will stand in judgement. Those whose names are not found in the book of life will hear the Lord say to them “away from me I never knew you”. After this is declared the individual will be cast forever into the Lake of Fire for eternity to suffer in darkness in ways that we cannot comprehend on this side of Heaven.

If the love of God is perfected and brought to completion within us it is an outward sign that we are truly in Christ. If we are truly in Christ, we have nothing to fear. We can draw near to the throne of grace with confidence knowing that our sins are forgiven. What sends a person to hell is not based upon their works or their performance. What ultimately sends a person to hell is their rejection of Jesus Christ. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life.

Ultimately what causes a person to reject Jesus is pride. But for the believer in Christ, who abides in Him, in which the love of God is being perfected, fear has no place. For fear speaks of coming judgement and in Christ we look toward brand-new life. On the other side of this life there is an eternity in Christ that we cannot fathom or comprehend. But it is our great hope and as His love is perfected and manifested in us, we have a great and mighty opportunity to simply bring glory unto Him.

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