Fear Vs. Love ?

by Robert

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 ESV


Are fear and love enemies? This verse would seem to suggest so.

Isn’t that a contradiction of the common old testament command to fear the Lord?

Even Jesus said to fear God. How does that fit with this verse?

Let me use an illustration. Fear has to do with punishment. So even my one year old daughter fears my stern voice and wagging finger! But I trust she loves me too! Fear and love coexist in an uneasy and restless heart (although she’s thankfully a generally happy kid).

So it is with fear and love of God. A child’s fear of punishment by their father shouldn’t drive them from him, but towards him in respectful obedience.

If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the love of the Lord is the end of wisdom.

Fear of God’s punishment should drive us to God to receive His love and forgiveness.

But as long as we live in these mortal bodies, fear and love will uneasily coexist in our restless hearts, until we enter our eternal rest in Christ Jesus our Lord, the Lamb who was slain for us and the all-conquering Lion.

I wouldn’t say that fear and love are necessarily enemies- more like gladiatorial combatants alongside us in the arena of life. We need to ally ourselves with fear in order to get to love, and then ally with love to ultimately overcome fear. And love is the ultimate winner, who in eternity to come casts out fear forever in the hearts of those who belong to Jesus, our crucified Lord.