There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18. The more we tangibly experience God’s love, the less we fear. I’ll handle this scripture both in context and out of context, because this principle is true both ways.
First, in context: ‘Fear has to do with punishment.’ If we expect the other shoe to drop, if we expect God to harshly discipline us, if we expect bad things from a good Father, then we have reason to fear. Why? Because we don’t believe that God is really good. We expect him to punish us harshly (not gently) if we do wrong, or even cast us into hell if we really, really screw up. This is not the God expressed in human flesh in Christ. Everything Christ did while walking the earth was bathed in grace and love, even his corrective discipline.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
Romans 5:1. We have peace with God. We are not at war with him, we are not at odds with him, we do not have to be afraid of God. We have peace with him ‘because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.’ What has Jesus done? He has torn the veil apart between man and God forever. He has permanently united us with him. We have been co-crucified, co-buried, co-raised, and co-seated in Christ. We are new (kainos, new in kind and quality) creations in Him.
We have no need to fear God. Therefore we can experience his love deeply, tangibly.
The second application of this verse is out of context, as a general principle, but it works out in a similar fashion. ‘Perfect love casts out fear.’ If we understand, really understand, God’s love, fear dissipates over time. We watch as God supernaturally works circumstances out. We watch him rescue us from ourselves and from other people. We watch as the bad is worked out for good. And we learn to believe. We learn to trust. We learn that he really does love us, love that is complete and everlasting. And fear, over time, just goes away. ‘God worked that out, so this will work out too.’ And our faith (our simple trust) becomes stronger.
Let God’s perfect love drive out your fear today.