There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
-1 John 4:18
Love (Agape, divine perfect love) versus fear, the battle of the ages.
Fear is a normal state of our fallen nature. Fear of the dark, fear of being alone, fear of loss, fear of intimacy, fear of death etc. There is a list on the internet of 147 phobias (fears) and I don’t think that is anywhere near a complete list.
A teenage child of older parents once shared with me with tears in his eyes that his greatest fear was of losing his parents. My heart ached for him.
There are also healthy fears. If you opened your door and a man-eating predator was in your yard the fear reaction there is life-saving.
There is also wisdom in fearing the Lord as his word teaches us in many places. Here is one.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
-Proverbs 1:7 ESV
So what is this fear that John is talking about? Let me offer this explanation:
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.
Adam and Eve had sinned and as a result, had fallen out of fellowship with God. In the nakedness of their sinful state, the holiness and perfection of God caused them to flee in fear from him. That is humanity’s natural state, to flee from the God in the nakedness of our own sin.
Yet, Gods love (Agape) was incarnated in His son Jesus Christ who was sent into the world to rescue humanity from the power of sin and our human nature that entices us to run from God and not to him.
This Christmas Christians celebrated the giving of Gods Son to humanity to save us from our sin and the power of satan. Jesus came to move us from the dark into the light of His truth and love, and free us from the fear that so easily traps us into running from God.
O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.
In his name