1 John 4:18 ESV 18 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.
1 John 4:18
KJV - 18 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.
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In the ideal world that God created, humans were meant to live in a relationship of everlasting, harmonious fellowship and mutual love with God. However, because of the presence of sin in this fallen world, and although humans (especially Christians) are to aspire (in the case of Christians, with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit) to the perfection of which John is speaking, none of them (including Christians) are capable of completely achieving it in this life. That does not serve as an excuse for not continually striving to attain it, but, just as the reward that will await them in eternity should serve as an incentive in that regard, a fear of discipline or punishment from God (either temporally or eternally) (from a negative perspective), or a fear of disappointing God after His sacrifice of His own Son to make salvation possible (from a positive perspective), should motivate Christians to do their utmost in this life to achieve it (Luke 12:4-5).
Solomon began his writing of the proverbs with six sermonic verses for an introduction to his main thought for all the pithy sayings he would offer: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov. 1:7). He says to begin to gain understanding you must start by acknowledging that God is the supreme power over all of life. It's like saying if you want to learn to read you must start by learning the letter A. God is the letter A, the beginning of the knowledge of reading. It is a waste of time to seek wisdom and understanding if you don't have the proper reverence of the almighty God. Throughout the scriptures we are told to fear God. The context isn't that we should be emotionally distressed or see God as an impending danger to us, but that we should hold God in such high regard because of His holiness, that it should establish a reverential awe in us of Him. A deep sense of RESPECT and esteem for God's excellence is what the bible tries to deliver to us, not a feeling of dread or apprehension. When homes were first provided with electricity there were many who didn't understand the science so they were fearful of it. The power of electricity is to be respected more than feared. The improvements it offered soon turned that fear to adoration. Isaiah 11:1,2..There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. We know Isaiah is prophesying the advent of the Christ Jesus. We also know that Jesus and the Father are one and He had a great reverence for His Father, but no dread of Him. This is the "fear" we are to have of the Lord. 1Jn 4:18.. Perfect love casts out fear... fear is about punishment.... He means that fear is caused by an expectation of impending doom. That's not the concern of a saint. Love is perfected (ideal, the saint is to be a model to be imitated) in the saint, "so that [he] may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as [ Jesus ] is so also are we in this world" (1Jn 4:17). Perfect love (God abiding in the believer, God is love) expels, drives out the impending doom (fear of judgment) that was there before regeneration by the Spirit of God. The fear of the Lord (the reverential awe and respect) is in the believer to give wisdom and instruction, justice, judgment, and equity; to give subtly to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion (Prov. 1:2-4). We're not told to dread God, but to respect (reverence) Him.
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