First John 4:18 is a beautiful passage. Speaking of the Day of the Lord, John writes: ‘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.’ By themselves, John’s words capture an important truth: for those who have trusted Christ, there is confidence to approach God with boldness (Heb 4:14-16); we are no longer mean servants, we are cherished friends (John 15:15) and beloved children (Gal 4:4-6).
However, like with every verse in the Bible, when 1 John 4:18 is taken as the singular and definitive word on fear, it necessarily misrepresents the whole counsel of God. God has far more to say to us about fear, love, and worship than that God’s love merely casts out fear. Let me suggest four truths about the fear of the Lord. Continue reading