17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
What’s your idea of the Day of Judgment? Is it scary? Do you have fear or confidence in it? The whole idea—my mental picture—of that awesome day had always, for me, been quite overwhelming: everyone’s sins on display, instant damnation for some, wailing, screaming, God’s wrath. But wait, that’s all wrong. As it says in John’s letter above: we will have confidence on that day, not fear; fear has to do with punishment and we won’t encounter any of that. Our sins are covered, cast away as far as the east is from the west. My new understanding is that I will be able to appear confident before the throne of judgment. There is no fear in love.
The second part of this passage has to do with our loving one another. Easy to love some people, but really difficult to love that guy who keeps attacking us, or that person who _____ (fill in the blank). Yet, God commands us to love our brother. Got to do it.
You might ask: How can we ever get to that point? Answer: Love God. As we love Him and experience His love for us, He will bestow upon us that love for others.