Friday, May 10, 2024

The Vision (5.10.24): Love made perfect (1 John 4:17)


Image: Rhododendron, North Garden, Virginia, May 10, 2024. 

Note: Devotion based on last Sunday's sermon in 1 John 4:17-21.

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he , so are we in this world (1 John 4:17).

What does the apostle John mean when he says our love for God is being “made perfect”?

The Greek verb rendered as “perfect” here does not mean something like numerical perfection so much as it means to complete, or to accomplish, or to come into maturity. It is built on the root word telos, which means end, purpose, goal, or destination. In this life we will not be without sin (see 1 John 1:8, 10).

So, we might render it, “Herein is our love moved closer toward the goal and achievement of our true purpose as believers.” Or, “Herein is our love made more mature or more complete.”

Let me offer an illustration from the world of construction.

In the construction industry they use the term “finishing.” There is the task of building a house, which means building the necessary infrastructure that makes a house a house (e.g., the foundation, framing, roofing, shingles, electrical work, plumbing, drywall, etc.), and then there is the “finishing work.”

I found this description online:

….finishing work describes anything that is used to “finish” off your home (i.e. trim work, crown molding, window casings, millwork, shiplap, paneling, coffered ceilings, etc). All of these things are typically found in a home BUT they aren’t necessarily a “necessity” of building a home.

You can be saved and still be very rough around the edges. All of us are this way when we first come to faith. Some, sadly, do not get much beyond this. The thief on the cross was saved but he did not live long enough to experience a long period of slow and progressive sanctification.

Most of us, however, are granted time and opportunity for the Lord to do his finishing work on us, though it is never complete in this life.

When God saves a man, he begins this “finishing” work of sanctification. This work will only be complete when he enters the state of glorification (see 1 John 3:2: “and it doth not yet appear what we shall be”). But for now, we can be sure God is at work making our love for him and for one another perfect.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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