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Perfect Love Ousts Fear

By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment…there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:17-18 ESV).

Love and fear can they exist together? Some people say no that they are mutually exclusive. Scripture often pairs them together. God is love, and we are to fear Him far above all gods. The fear of God acquaints us with our sister wisdom. Without such fear, we will fail to meet her and lack the pleasure of her company. If love and fear do not oppose one another then why does the Apostle John teach us that perfect love casts out all fear?

My principal in elementary school called me into her office. I was afraid and yet I could not think of anything I had done to account for punishment. I walked down the corridors and into the central office thinking of what wrong I might have done. My condemnation vanished as she met me at the door with a smile. She commended me on some artwork I had done and asked me if I would please do a special project for the school. She honored me with her request, and I left her grinning from ear to ear. Condemnation prevents you from approaching God with confidence. Perfect love cast the fear of punishment out of you because God’s love seeks your welfare never your harm.

Our Father Creator gives us fear to protect us from dangerous situations. It’s healthy to stand near the edge of a mountain and be afraid to get too close lest you fall. Sin opens doors to a variety of deaths, but a healthy fear of God will close those doors. If you do not fear God, you put your life at risk. If you love God, you will obey Him because you know everything He asks of you is for your protection. Jesus desires that you be one with Him as He is one with the Father. Such connectedness to Christ abolishes the fear of punishment. Jesus came to save you from sin rather than to condemn you in it.

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