No Fear in Love

I Jn 4:16-19

16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

18 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.

19 We love Him because He first loved us. (NKJ)

This message was preached June 23, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at  
  1. Love is our primary relationship with God.
    1. Many think of themselves as disciples.
    2. Others think of themselves as servants.
    3. Still others think of themselves as soldiers.
    4. But I think of myself as a child of God's love.
      1. That is our primary relationship with God.
      2. As loving children we are to obey, serve, follow and fight the good fight of faith.
      3. But when we get to heaven, the love relationship will be the enduring one.
    5. Possibly here by the love of God may be meant our love to God, which is shed abroad upon our hearts by the Holy Ghost; this is the foundation of our hope, or of our assurance that our hope will hold good at last. (from Matthew Henry's Commentary)
  2. Love gives boldness
    1. In the day of judgment
      1. None of us lives so as to be bold in our own selves, much less under the investigation of God.
      2. The day of judgment is the day of final reckoning.
      3. It is the day when we are evaluated.
      4. krisis ^2920^ (a) denotes "the process of investigation, the act of distinguishing and separating" (as distinct from krima, see No. 1 above); hence "a judging, a passing of judgment upon a person or thing"; it has a variety of meanings, such as judicial authority, (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
    2. Boldness
      1. This word means boldness, it is used of the preaching of Peter in the book of acts.
      2. We can be bold in our approach to the day of judgment.
        1. But some ask how can that be.
        2. Since no one is perfect.
        3. It is because we do not come to Him bold in our own works and accomplishments.
        4. We come in the boldness that we have through Jesus Christ.
        5. Eph 3:11-12 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. (NKJ)
      3. So John Wesley's hymn:

"Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress:

'Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in Thy great day,

For who aught to my charge shall lay!

Fully absolved through these I am--

From sin and fear, from guilt and shame."

(Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament) on 1 John 2:28

  1. As He is, so we are
    1. This first speaks of the character of Jesus Christ.
      1. [As he is] Pure, holy, and loving; so are we in this world; being saved from our sins, and made like to himself in righteousness and true holiness. No man can contemplate the day of judgment with any comfort or satisfaction but on this ground, that the blood of Christ hath cleansed him from all sin; and that he is kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation. This will give him boldness in the day of judgment. (from Adam Clarke Commentary)
    2. If God sees us as He sees is only Begotten Son then we can have boldness.
      1. And by this means (viz. of our inwardness with God) doth our love grow to that perfection, that we shall have the most fearless freedom and liberty of spirit in the judgment day; our hearts no way misgiving to appear before him as a Judge, whose very image we find upon ourselves, he having beforehand, made us such even in this world, though in an infinitely inferior degree, as he is, compositions of love and goodness. Matthew Poole
      2. Because as he is, so are we, etc. The great ground of boldness is that we are as Christ; purified like him, made sinless like him, filled with love like him and appear at judgment in his likeness. This transformation begins when we are converted, hence, "in this world." Peoples NT Notes
      3. The ground of our "confidence" is, "because even as He (Christ) is, we also are in this world" (and He will not, in that day, condemn those who are like Himself), that is, we are righteous as He is righteous, especially in respect to that which is the sum of righteousness, love (#1Jo 3:14). Christ IS righteous, and love itself, in heaven: so are we, His members, who are still "in this world." Our oneness with Him even now in His exalted position above (#Eph 2:6), so that all that belongs to Him of righteousness, etc., belongs to us also by perfect imputation and progressive impartation, is the ground of our love being perfected so that we can have confidence in the day of judgment. We are in, not of, this world. JFB
    3. But the verse also implies that it is not only imputed righteousness but real, when it says "so are we in the world."
      1. I Jn 2:29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. (NKJ)
      2. I Jn 3:3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (NKJ)
      3. Those who have been made righteous will also be righteous.
  1. There is no fear in love.
    1. There is no fear in love. Love is not an affection which produces fear. In the love which , we have for a parent, a child, a friend, there is no fear. If a man had perfect love to God, he would have no fear of anything--for what would he have to dread? He would have no fear of death, for he would have nothing to dread beyond the grave. It is guilt that makes men fear what is to come; but he whose sins are pardoned, and whose heart is filled with the love of God, has nothing to dread in this world or the world to come. The angels in heaven, who have always loved God and one another, have no fear, for they have nothing to dread in the future; the redeemed in heaven, rescued from all danger, and filled with the love of God, have nothing to dread; and as far as that same loves operates on earth, it delivers the soul now from all apprehension of what is to come. Barnes
    2. Fear involves torment.
      1. [Punishment], or "chastisement," renders a Greek noun that is found in the New Testament only here and in <Matthew 25:46>. The two passages speak of the Last Judgment. Compare also <2 Peter 2:9>, where the related verb is used. (from UBS Translator Handbook Series)
      2. Fear and torment are the opposite of love.
    3. What is this fear?
      1. It is not that we do not have a reverential fear of God.
      2. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.
      3. And the wicked are know by "They have no fear of God to restrain them." Rom 3:18 (NLT)
      4. We must here distinguish, I judge, between fear and being afraid; or, in this case, between the fear of God and being afraid of him. The fear of God is often mentioned and commanded as the substance of religion <1 Pet. 2:17; Rev. 14:7>; and so it imports the high regard and veneration we have for God and his authority and government. Such fear is constant with love, yea, with perfect love, as being in the angels themselves. But then there is a being afraid of God, which arises from a sense of guilt, and a view of his vindictive perfections; in the view of them, God is represented as a consuming fire; and so fear here may be rendered dread; There is no dread in love. (from Matthew Henry's Commentary)
  2. We love Him because He first loves us.
    1. Their love to God assures them of God's love to them, and consequently of the friendship of the Son of God; the more we love our friend, especially when we are sure that he knows it, the more we can trust his love. As God is good and loving, and faithful to his promise, so we can easily be persuaded of his love, and the happy fruits of his love, when we can say, Thou that knowest all things knowest that we love thee. (from Matthew Henry's Commentary)
    2. Love is like a river that flows through us once we have been saved. But when we look closely we find that the source of that river is God.
    3. Does the river of God's love flow through you?
    4. Are you free of fear of death and judgment?