So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. —1 John 4:16-19
Look again at 4:17. John is saying that our confidence is linked with God’s love for us and that in some sense we are as Jesus is. These two pieces of the puzzle are put together in John 17:23 where Jesus affirms that the Father loves the disciples ‘even as you [the Father] have loved me [Jesus]. This is astounding! Jesus is saying that the Father loves us just like or even as He loves Jesus! Think for a moment of the magnitude of affection God the Father has for God the Son. That’s how much God loves you! Therefore, when John says that our confidence is based on the fact that we are as Jesus is, he means we are loved by the Father as Jesus is loved by the Father! No wonder all fear is cast out (v. 18). There is no need to fear Him whom you know feels only love for you.