“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.”
because fear involves torment.
The perfected love in the believer is a love that resides in God’s love, in mutual fellowship with the Lord. Love casts fear outside its sphere of influence. Fear is at variance with and contrary to God’s love.
Fear has its own retribution. Fear is an unsettling passion that tortures itself. Love drives out this fear. When God’s love develops in us, it expels fear of God’s immediate interdiction or retribution. An unloving Christian experiences self-induced misery because he knows that he must face his carnality at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The believer who loves other Christians has no trepidation about meeting the Lord.
The Greek idea of “torment” is literally to cut short, punish, correct. The translation “torment” is too strong for the Greek word. Fear here is a state in the believer’s life that is at variance with God’s love and thus subject to corrective discipline. The one habitually characterized by servile fear is the opposite of the one applying God’s love to his life so that he becomes mature in owning God’s love.
The mere absence of fear proves nothing. Some people operate in brazen defiance, incorrigible ignorance, presumptuous unbelief, and inexcusable indifference. This is not divine love.
Love displaces fear.
There is no doubt that people fear judgment. They are afraid to render account to God. A person that grows into the maturity of God’s love banishes fear from his life. Fear tends to paralyze. Fear paralyzed Adam in Genesis.
Ge 3:9-10, 9 “Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ 10 So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.’”
Fear is the first penalty on the soul. It is the thing we suffer first when we step out of line with the Lord. It is the awareness that we are not in phase with the Lord.
The principle that love deposes fear is true on the human plane. Children who have an assurance of their parents’ love learn not to fear them. A wife who knows her husband loves her is not afraid of him. Love banishes fear. When you know God loves you, you no longer fear God, the future, death, eternity, or judgment. However, if you do not know the love of God, then there is fear.
Fear comes from our own hearts and not from God. Fear is the sentry of our soul that warns us that our soul is out of whack. It alerts us that our soul is not right with God. Love gives no warning signal to our soul because we know we are in fellowship with the Lord.
Fear imprisons us in anxiety and worry. It limits our lives. Fear immobilizes some people. They will not fly in a plane because of fear. Others will not venture into new business due to fear. Fear binds them from living for God as well. They do not enter into abundant living because Satan imprisoned their soul in abject fear.
We are studying 1 John in Suday School. There was disaggreement as to the meaning or type of fear assosiated with this verse. Does our completed love drive out fear of flying, fear of guns, fear of government, fear of dogs, fear of being robbed downtown and the likes OR is John reffering to fear among other believers OR JUST no fear of death & judgement?
I understand how in the perfect love of God, any and all fear is dispelled. However, in my Christian, mature and completed love, I still fear injury at work and being robbed downtown (as examples).
Thank you greatly Dr. Richison. I use your commentary often. It is my favorite reference when studying the bible.
Gregg, thanks for your encouraging words.
"Fear" in this context refers of fear toward God. We should not fear God because of our knowledge of His love toward us. There is a good fear, a fear that protects us from accident such as looking both ways before crossing the street. However, all forms of anxiety (which is a fear about what will happen to us in the future) is sin. Anxiety is a lack of trust in God to be sovereign over our lives. Two primary verses deal with this:
Therefore, there are two kinds of fear: 1) a good fear that protects us from danger and 2) a bad fear where we do not trust God in trouble.
Thanks again for answering the direct and indirect parts of my question. This verse, although directed at our fellowship with God, gives birth to a question of our trust in The Almighty. We should be cautious not fearful, as that will interfere with fellowship. This verse is similar to 1 John 4:7 "…let us love one another…", in context it is directed at love for other believers and its relation to fellowship, yet elsewhere in the Bible we are taught to expand that to unbelievers as well.
As for your "thanks for encouragement", may I encourage you to continue these expository commentaries for the entire Bible or at least the rest of the New Testament?? Easy for me to say, huh. Earnestly, thank you for all your hard work for Christianity.