'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
Are these two mutually exclusive? Is there a conflict between Love and Fear? Some feel that there is, and often refer to 1 John 4:18 in support: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love". This would seem to be evidence enough. Fear is a negative emotion, counterproductive, and not now useful in God’s scheme of things. There is no place for fear anymore in God’s plan. Case closed...
However, what are we going to do - with all those other scriptures - about fear, as well as love?
It is relatively easy to cast aside the ones about the fear of God, etc., by relegating them to the "Old Covenant" bin, which has been "done away". Now we can concentrate on love, and forget about all those fear things of long ago. But there are some very big problems with this, even in the New Testament! ALL scripture is "God breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16, Grk). Also, Jesus said that he did not come to destroy the law, the Old Covenant (Matthew 5:17). The Apostle Paul speaks concerning the churches "walking in the fear of the Lord" (Acts 9:31). And many times God caused "great fear" to come upon His church (Acts 5:11). We as Christians are commanded to submit to each other, "in the FEAR of the Lord"
The word translated fear means just that - fear. Yes, it includes as secondary meanings the thought of respect, awe, etc., but the primary meaning is fear. Of course, there are degrees of the feeling of "fear", depending on circumstances. There are many references in the New Testament indicating that real fear at the right time under appropriate conditions is approved - even commanded - by God. If then fear is in some way approved by God, lets ask a few questions about it.
First, what is fear? How would you DEFINE fear? "The fear of the LORD IS the beginning of knowledge".(Proverbs 1:7) "The fear of the LORD IS to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way" (Proverbs 8:13) This is the real reason that so many say they cannot understand the Bible. It is also the reason that the world in general dismisses the Bible as fiction or just literature. These are just a few scriptures that define fear as it is used in God's Word.
Second, what will be the results of the fear of the Lord? Would you like for your life to be more secure and stable, even during difficult times...? "And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the FEAR of the LORD is his treasure" (Isaiah 33:6).
Do you struggle with problems and troubles in your personal life, that seem to cling to you and trip you up? "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil" (Proverbs 16:6). Perhaps there is a lack of proper fear in your life.
Would you like to prosper more in your life of spiritual overcoming and growth, with a sense of well being and peace? "By humility and the FEAR of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life". More of a fear of God may be the answer.
Would you like to feel more content, safe, and not be visited with the many of the problems that the world around you must deal with? "The fear of the LORD tends to life: and he that has it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil" (Proverbs 19:23). The "fear of the Lord" may be your answer. These are only a few of the many scriptures that a proper fear is a good thing indeed!
Now lets look at 1 John 4:18 again. Notice that John speaks about "perfect" love. None of us are yet perfect. Also, what fear is the Apostle referring to? This is a fear outside the framework of the love of God and His purpose. This is a fear of life and events, outside of a close work with Him. The more perfect we become, the less fear we have because love is more and more the "the fulfilling of the Law". This is the reason that fear "has torment". The law of God is being broken, and the Holy Spirit convicts and convinces the Christian of his imperfection (Matthew 5:48). If we were made perfect in love, we would have no "torment" over being outside the will of God and obedience. Proper fear leads to Godly humility. Once we become perfected in the love of God, there will be no more fear of any kind. Perfection is love. Love IS God. We will finally be perfect. We will have been "made perfect in love". But as long as we are in this flesh, Godly fear will - and must - always be present. Otherwise, we cannot eventually be made perfect. After the resurrection, we will be perfected forever. Perfect love will have been perfected. There will be no more sorrow, pain, or death (Revelation 21:4). And - there will be no more fear!
This is the foundational problem with the world. They have no fear of God (Romans 3:18). Fear of God is the starting place. The world in general has not even started as yet, on the road to perfect love. But it will. Lets us pray that that will be soon...(Matthew 6:10).
I pray for you that you, may come to a proper "fear of the Lord", unto complete surrender and obedience to Him - unto perfect love.
"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" - 2 Corinthians 7:1
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