A love that casts out fear

Published 2:49 pm Thursday, December 28, 2023

In 1 John 4:18 KJV, John said, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” John is saying that the affection of love does not produce fear. Yet, we live in a time that is filled with the emotion of fear. Satan uses things and events in this life to cause us to worry in our hearts; it is his desire to cause the people of God to be filled with anxiety and live in fear thus causing them to be filled with doubt. The point of John’s statement in 1 John 4:18, is to remind us that “perfect love casts out fear.” Perfect love is from God and is directed to any person that will accept it. Consider some examples of those who have put their faith in God and accomplished great things without fear.
In Daniel 3, we have the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. King Nebuchadnezzar had been convinced that the Jews, particularly Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, were not trustworthy because they failed to worship the false Gods that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Rather than defile themselves these three men of God remained faithful and worshipped only Him. For their defiance of Nebuchadnezzar, the three men were to be cast into a fiery furnace. The three would not relent, stating that God would care for them by delivering them from danger if it was His will. But in any case, they would be right in the eyes of God having obeyed him regardless of any personal harm. They trusted in God; because of his love for them they were able to withstand the temptation that they faced.
In Mark 6:14-29, John the Baptist remained faithful to God even though his freedom and life were in danger. He knew all too well of God’s love and would not pervert the law of God for any man even if it cost him his life. John had preached the coming of the kingdom of God. While doing so he had told King Herod that his marriage was unlawful because he had married his brother for which he was imprisoned. Eventually he would lose his life when Herod honored a request that was made by his wife’s daughter for John to be beheaded.
I suppose that we could add every apostle and many first century Christians to the list of men who for the love of God remained faithful even unto death. Men like James the apostle who died by the sword at the command of Herod for preaching the Gospel (Acts 12:1-3). Thomas in John 11:4-16, fearing the death of Jesus, said let us go with him and die. While many refer to him in the negative as Doubting Thomas, I believe this verse shows his total commitment to God and the Christ. Paul the Apostle who knew well the love of God often placed himself in harm’s way for the cause of Christ (Acts 21:10-15, 2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Paul would eventually lose his life in defense of the Church and the Gospel of Jesus. There is no doubt that these as well as many others had fears, but their love for Christ overcame that fear, knowing that their reward would be worth the cost. And so today, Satan continues to use anything possible in our lives to cause us to fear unto unfaithfulness and eternal death. Many today fear the loss of freedom, declining health and sickness, some fear the loss of physical life for upholding the truth of the Gospel. The fear of physical threats in life are misplaced. It is the fear of rejecting God and spurning His love that should concern us.
People can stand firm in their conviction to obey God because of the love that God has for them. However, God’s love for man does not deter Satan who continually places temptations of fear before our eyes. We can look to the examples found in the Bible as encouragement to never reject the love of God. If Satan can convince us to give in to our fears rather than to be obedient to God, then our souls will be lost eternally! Successful men of God were so because they perfected their love for God which enabled them to cast out the fears of this world from their lives. (See Psalm 1:1-3, Matthew 10:28).
If you are not a Christian or are a struggling Christian, you can drive fear out of your life through obedience to the Gospel of Christ. If you have never obeyed the Gospel, you can do so by believing in Jesus, repenting of your sin, confessing Jesus as the only Son of God, being baptized for the remission of sins and living a faithful life (Revelation 2:10).
(Tony Hoss is minister of the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton)

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