“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
but perfect love casts out fear,
“Perfect love” is God’s love, not our love. Only God has perfect love. This is the love made perfect in verse 17. However, God’s love extends to the believer in fellowship. Perfect love begins with God, who is love (4:8), and then reaches out to believers in fellowship (4:19). Believers in love with the Lord show the love that Christ has for them to others.
“Perfect” here does not mean “without flaw” but completion. The reference is to love that reaches a stage of completion; it is mature love. A mature understanding of God’s love casts out fear. Acceptance of God’s perfect love does the work of God. It is a love that reaches the stage of completion. It is complete because it followed through to the production of loving. This love completed its intended course of reaching out rather than dying within the soul.
Fear is a self-centered function. Fear has no home in love because love is others-oriented. Perfect love casts out, throws out, and ejects fear. It is either/or; love and fear are mutually exclusive. Where there is one, the other is not. Love always banishes fear. The presence of fear is an indication that love has not yet arrived.
God’s love nourished in our soul indicates there can be no peaceful coexistence of love and fear.
Where God’s love is in the process of being completed in us, there is no room for fear. Where there is perfect love, there is perfect confidence. Perfect confidence dispels fear. Perfect love places its trust in the perfect Christ. This trust does not lean on our love, for our ultimate security is in the love of God.
Love always dispels fear. Fears never originate in love. A wife does not fear her husband, who loves her. His love protects her and gives her assurance that he cherishes her. God’s love assures us that He will be faithful to His name. God’s love for us expels our dread of Him.