Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
Beloved: Grace and Peace
How Love Influences Fear
May God bless you all!
Someone asked a really good question referring to 1 John 4:18. If I have perfect love won't my fears and "fear of God" go away?
First, let me share that there is a variety of words for fear, and context is very important. For example, in the Old Testament there is
- a thing or deed of terror or dread
(Strong's H4172) - animals have a dread of man;
- fear or reverence of God (most
used as the fear of the Lord) (Strong's H3372, H3373; Brown, Driver, & Briggs, H3372);
- a thing that startles you (Strong's H6343);
- a dreadful idol (like Moloch
who demanded the sacrifice of babies) (Strong's H367);
- fear caused by
someone's anger (Strong's H6440; H6437);
- to shake in terrible fear (it is a root
used by other Hebrew words for fear such as
) (Strong's H6206);
- reverence, fear, awe (and it has a bunch of derivatives)
". . . without fear" (Strong's G870);
- ". . .
- ". . . to
. . ." (Strong's G1168);
In 1 John, one of the words used is
which when connected to God most often
means awe or reverence, but when connected to man, it often means fear or dread. Another word used is
and without context is a neutral word (
) (Strong's G5401).
So when we look at the context of 1 John, we read the following:
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.
- 1 John 4:15-19
Here the context is dwelling fully in Christ so that in the day of judgment we can, without fear, face God and know that we do not stand condemned. But it is much more than that final standing before the throne. Here is a passage that describes a growing relationship between our Lord and ourselves and describes the slow removal of dread as we experience more and more of God's love.
I liken it a little to the relationship we should have with our own dads. As little children, he is huge, strong, has a booming voice, and we are afraid to upset him (I will assume he is a good dad for this discussion). As we grow and get to know him better, we begin to understand his discipline, training, and values. We do things more and more in line with his will, and we draw closer and closer to having a more meaningful fellowship with him. There comes a time when we no longer fear him as much as we respect him and honor him.
Perfect love casts out "dread." I don't dread the throne or the Lord of Glory who sits on it, for I am covered with the blood of Christ who, because of His love, has saved me and redeemed me to the Father. I do, at times, stand in such complete awe of God that I become aware of my smallness and inadequacies and His infiniteness. He is completely holy - I am being made conformed into His image - I am not yet so - even though I am counted to be righteous before His eyes. It is not of myself but of Christ that I am so.
I have so many failures. But I know that I am able to come boldly to the throne
) without fear and confess my sins to the Father and get back up from my
His perfect love casts out my fears.
We will always and should always be in awe of God, honor Him, respect Him, and fear to hurt or offend Him. But, because of His love, we should never be afraid of Him in a way that we are kept part from Him. Rather, we should be drawn to Him through His love into a close and growing relationship with Him.
- to shrink in fear of something; and a few derivatives (Strong's H1481). In the New Testament we have
- cautious, apprehensive (Strong's G2124); and a number of derivatives.
knees clean, fresh, guiltless, and in right relationship with Him.
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation. (Original work published 1890)
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
dishonored. . ." (Strong's G820);
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword. [computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation.
Brown-Drivers-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions.
Brown, F., Driver, S., & Briggs, C.