Bible Truth Examiner


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Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

Question: What kind of fear is referred to in 1 John 4: 18?

Answer: 1 John 4: 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.” Fear is a mental condition which is begotten of uncertainty. There are some things which we ought to fear, and some which we need not fear. The Adversary seems to take advantage of the fallen condition of the race, and to cause them to fear God; for it is natural to avoid whomsoever we fear. Mankind realize instinctively that they are sinners by nature and that there is a penalty for sin. Taking advantage of this fear of the consequences of sin, the Adversary tries to instill in them a dread of God. He pictures before their imperfect minds a God who is unjust, over-severe in His dealings with sin and the sinner, for whom He has prepared a place of everlasting torture.

As we gradually come to a clearer knowledge of God and the principles by which He regulates the universe, we lose this improper fear, and in its stead comes a love for God and a realization that He has love for us. Our love for Him grows in proportion as we perceive that He loves mankind and has made provision for them whereby they may have an opportunity for everlasting life. After we have come to love Him perfectly, all fear in the sense of dread is cast out.

Our knowledge and love should not, however, cast out the fear of displeasing God; for proper fear (reverence) must never be cast out. The more reverential love we have, the more of the proper fear we shall have. Who would not fear to offend a brother or a neighbor whom he loved and appreciated? Much more should we dread offending our wise, just and loving God. The principle that “perfect love casteth out fear” should also operate between husband and wife and between parents and children. The wife who fears her husband cannot be as happy as she would be if there were perfect love. Also, children who are in dread of either, or both, of their parents cannot love them with true filial affection. Each should fear to wound or offend the other, and should strive to have that perfect love which God is pleased to have all exercise.