Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20120111.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
1 John: True, Fulfilling Fellowship With God
Part XV: Identifying True Fellowship By Its Confidence In Facing Christ's Judgment Seat
(1 John 4:17-19)
Lesson: If the believer relies on the Holy Spirit to love God and fellow believers, that love expression gives him confidence that he pleases God, and that the Lord will reward him at the Judgment Seat of Christ so that he can afford to face that day confidently. However, failure thus to love gives no such confidence, but even produces a self-induced form of inner torment due to guilt over such a lack.
- Some Christians, and I include myself in past years, have experienced real fear in considering that they will one day have their Christian lives evaluated by Jesus Christ at His Judgment Seat, 2 Corinthians 5:10.
- However, true fellowship with God exchanges this fear for confidence, a truth John explains in 1 John 4:17-19, and we view that explanation that we might enjoy confidence, not fear, in facing Christ one day:
- Identifying True Fellowship By Its Confidence In Facing Christ's Judgment Seat, 1 John 4:17-19.
- John wrote that "the love," he agape (U. B. S. Greek N. T., 1966, p. 822), God's love that we believers express by the Holy Spirit's work in our hearts as noted back in 1 John 4:12-13 -- that love is perfected ( teleioo, "accomplished, completed, perfected", Arndt & Gingrich, A Grk.-Engl. Lex. of the N. T., 1967, p. 817-818) with us in that we believers have "courage, confidence, boldness" ( parresian, Ibid., p. 635-636) in (literally) "the day of the judgment," Ibid., U. B. S. Greek N. T., 1 John 4:17a.
- Now, this day of judgment is not the Great White Throne judgment where the unsaved are cast into the Lake of Fire for not having their names written in the Lamb's Book of Life (Revelation 20:11-15), for the believer is once-for-all relieved of such dreadful judgment, John 5:24. Rather, this is the judgment of Christians, the Judgment Seat of Christ where every believer will have his Christian life examined by Christ for reward or loss of reward as the case may be, 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15:
- The Judgment Seat of Christ will test each believer's work to see of what "sort" it is, 1 Cor. 3:13 KJV.
- The word "sort" in the Greek New Testament is hopoios, or "quality" or "manner," Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 449.
- A believer will either receive reward for quality, or godly workmanship, or suffer a loss of reward, but he will himself be saved as he has eternal security, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:14-15.
- The confidence we can have in facing this Judgment of Christ as believers is based upon the fact that just as God is, so also are we believers in this world, 1 John 4:17b. What this means by the context is this: since John has just written about God being the God of love (1 John 4:16b), and we believers exhibit God's love as we rely upon the Holy Spirit to express it through us (1 John 4:12-13; cf. also Galatians 5:22), just as God is a God of love, we believers who rely upon the Holy Spirit and who express that love are thus made complete in our experience as loving people, and the exhibition of the Spirit's love in us means we do what pleases God, and so we have confidence in facing the Lord at Christ's Judgment Seat!
- However, if a believer who contemplates standing before Christ one day does so with anxiety, "it is because God's love has not yet reached completeness in him," Ibid., Bible Know. Com., N. T. , p. 900. A mature love authored by the Holy Spirit in the believer has no such fear, and indeed even casts it out, for fear "has punishment," Ibid.; 1 John 4:18. In this context, John meant that fear "carries with it a kind of torment that is its own punishment" so that, "(i)ronically, an unloving believer experiences punishment precisely because he feels guilty and is afraid to meet his Judge," a self-imposed torment in carnality, Ibid.
- In contrast, the believer who expresses God's love by the Holy Spirit's power "has nothing to fear and thus escapes the inner torment which a failure to love can bring," Ibid.
- Then, since even the believer who can stand before God in confidence as a truly loving believer realizes that his capacity thus to love is derived from God Himself, that he loves God because God first loved him so as to save and to equip him by the power of the Holy Spirit to love in return, 1 John 4:19 with 1 John 4:9, 12-13. Thus, coupled with living lovingly and thus with confidence in facing Christ, the believer should also greatly appreciate God's grace that made such a confidence in his experience even possible!
Application: May we rely upon the Holy Spirit to love and so face Christ's Judgment Seat confidently!