As He Is
Hello again to everyone. Today I’m going to focus on a part of scripture that is often quoted and is mostly misunderstood, but not without due cause. 1 John 4:14-18 is superfluously littered with so many pronouns that it can be difficult to hold the context and the correct connection to the correct nouns.
Now I know I’m going to be presenting a different understanding of these verses, but when the proper rules of grammar are applied to these selected passages, and with some concentration, it becomes clear that the most widely preached commentary is incorrect; although the statement that is expressed is theologically correct. Let me explain.
In 1 John 4:17 we read, “17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: (and here is the part that I want to note) because as he is, so are we in this world.” The question is this, “what noun does the pronoun “he” refer to? Beginning with verse 14 and half of verse 15 we see the mention of Jesus as the Son of God, the savior of the world and the result of agreeing with these facts. Then from the last half of verse 15 and throughout verses 16 through 20, the context totally changes, with the subject of the discourse turning from Jesus, to God. As a result the “he” of verse 17 can only refer to the subject of context, “God” and more specifically, God as perfect love.
These verses are totally loaded with truth and very good news. The question lies in the supposition that the pronoun “he” is in reference to the noun “Jesus.” Now, before you click on the exit button let me say I agree 100% with the statement that we, as Christians, have been given the ability to live our lives just exactly as Jesus would if He were in this world today. Here’s the difficulty: we have many other scriptures to prove this fact and if we take this one verse from 1 John and make it say this, then we have just buried its true and accurate message.
Let me just get right to the point. The correct take-away understanding is, “just as God is love, so are we love in this world. OK. Let me give you some facts. Out of the 54 translations of the Bible (some of them better called paraphrased versions rather than actual translations) only 12 literally name Jesus as the subject of the stated verse: the NIV being the most well-known, the Message, the Easy to Read Version, The New English Translation, The Voice, and 7 others that you may or may not know. All of the remaining 42 translations have left the translated words as they were found on the original manuscripts.
So “what’s the harm” you may say? Only that the intended truth is side stepped and remains hidden in the mix of words. I’m going to read these verses from the JBT Paraphrased Version which uses context in interpreting the meaning, context not only from the book of 1 John, but from the entire New Testament. Listen as I read:
1 John 4:14-18
“14 And we have physically seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son, Jesus, the Savior of the world. 15 If a person confesses or aggress with this truth, and covenants with the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, and all that this implies, God takes up residence within that person with the intention of remaining forever. Then, an additional fact is established. This same person also comes to reside in God to the same degree. 16 Because this is accurately certain – we can understand, believe and trust the love that God has for us, for by definition God is perfect love. Thus the resulting fact is: anyone who is encapsulated by and comes to reside in this perfect love, an alternate truth is established: this person resides completely within God [the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit], and God [the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit] completely and fully reside within that person. 17 Now, because of this reality, even our love is completely and fully perfected, which when we realize the final implication of this amazing principle, we are enabled to experience sound assurance regarding any day or time of judgment unto condemnation; either in this life or after: because as God is, by definition, love: through the truth of us residing in God and God in us, so are we defined as love, and can even now rest in this certainty while we continue to live from day to day in this world.
18 Now, because of all that I have just explained, our boldness in judging ourselves as being fully encompassed by this perfect love to the point that God’s love and our love are completely and fully the same – because of this we should have no alarm or fear at any time or in any day. This type of fear has been thrown far away, outside of God’s realm of love as trash upon the trash heap. The person who lives in dread of impending judgement and condemnation lives in torment, not knowing or understanding the immeasurable, perfect love of God.”
I know that I just loaded you down with a lot of awesome information, so I have attached a PDF of text that reflects the audio version of this entire podcast. It can be located on my Spotlight Ministries website for those who would rather read. Check it out and let the revelation of truth soak into your hearts. Just as God is love, to and in you, you are also love in and to this world. Rest in this truth and know that you, as a Christian have been inserted into the family of God where there is now no condemnation to anyone who is in Christ Jesus. Your life is now hidden in Christ with God. God bless and have a great day!