There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.1 John 4:18(NASB)
Fear, guilt, and shame cannot coexist alongside faith, hope, and love. Fear and love are a contradiction in terms, "for there is no fear in love; because perfect love casts out fear," A confident loving-trust in God cannot cohabit alongside destructive fear. Fear is the antithesis of love and the person who is fearful has not reached the mature love God desires in His children.
The immeasurable strength from the power-house of God's perfect love overwhelms every negative influence of fear. In the life of a believer, fear is rendered powerless by love, "for there is no fear in love." Love describes the character of God, for God is love, and when the love of God permeates a soul, no anxious thoughts can overwhelm the love of God within, "for the one who fears is not perfected in love" - their ability to love others has not reached the fulness of love.
The Bible tells us that if we love one another, then God remains in us, and the love of God is made complete in us. Those whose love is perfected in and through God's love have no fear of His punishment. Christ took the punishment we deserve when He died on the cross in our stead, so that we no longer need to fear God's wrath, because He declared us righteous at the point of our salvation.
Love is the fruit of God's Spirit, and the fruit of love is not fear. It is a complete and confident assurance in our Father and His Word of truth. There is no fear in love, for the perfect love of God drives out all fear. Every aspect of Christ's redeeming work was designed to deliver us from all semblance of fear and all that might cause us to dread.
The emotional fear that brings with it anxious thought, the threat of pain, and the dread of punishment is very different from the biblical fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. In Proverbs, we read that the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised, while in Acts we read that the Church was multiplying because they were walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost.
The fear of the Lord in this context refers to reverencing the Lord and standing in awe of His holy presence. Throughout the word of God, we are exhorted to glorify the Lord and offer Him great respect, for He is worthy of our reverential praise and high admiration. We are to give unto the Lord the glory and worship His holy name demands. We are to come to Him and bow down before Him. We are to worship Him in the beauty of holiness.
When the Lord is given His rightful place in our lives, we have Christ's unshakable promise to be with us through all circumstances of life, so we should not fear. We are not to fear the things in life, nor any threat of death, nor are to fear what happens after death, for our confidence is in the Lord. He is our Defence and our Defender.
He is the Lover of our soul, and He loves us with an everlasting love. The Word of God exhorts us not to fear, and reminds us that, "there is no fear in love, for the perfect love of God casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love."
There are many places in God's Word where we are exhorted not to fear: Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine. Fear Not, I am the Lord Who provides. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? Fear Not, I will never leave you nor forsake you!
The one who has had his sins pardoned should have no fear of life or death. Nor should they fear what lies beyond the grave, for our hope is in Him. Guilt and shame is a fuel that feeds the force of fear, but the heart that overflows with the love of God need not fear His wrath. The one who has confidence in God's Word, will not shrink from His chastening rod. They will not fret about punishments nor dread Him as their Judge.
May we never forget that perfect love is not a selfish, immature, childish love that tries to take advantage of a situation. Perfect love is a mature, adult, responsible love. It is patient and kind. It does not take into account a wrong suffered, nor does it rejoice in unrighteousness. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Perfect love is a responsible love, a giving love, a gracious love that disperses fear, perfects the saint, and is the greatest gift of all.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would let these sweet words of truth settle in my heart. There are times in my life when I am very fearful. I know that when I am fearing things in life, I am not exhibiting trust in You. I pray that You would surround me in Your perfect love, where fear has no place to stay and has to be cast out. As I rest in Your love, I pray that I would experience the peace the passes understanding, whatever situation of life I am in. And as I come to a deeper realisation of the depth of Your superlative love for me, may I be used by You to love as I am loved. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.