Verses to review today: 1 John 1:1-4:17
New Verse: 1 John 4:18-19

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. (ESV)

18 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. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. (KJV)

Greek: 18 φόβος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ ἀλλʼ ἡ τελεία ἀγάπη ἔξω βάλλει τὸν φόβον, ὅτι ὁ φόβος κόλασιν ἔχει, ὁ δὲ φοβούμενος οὐ τετελείωται ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ. 19 ἡμεῖς ἀγαπῶμεν, ὅτι αὐτὸς πρῶτος ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς.

Transliterated Greek: 18 phobos ouk estin en tē agapē all’ hē teleia agapē exō ballei ton phobon, hoti ho phobos kolasin echei, ho de phoboumenos ou teteleiōtai en tē agapē. 19 hēmeis agapōmen, hoti autos prōtos ēgapēsen hēmas.

Literal Word for Word Translation: 18 There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment, and the one who is afraid has not been perfected in love. 19 We love, because he first loved us.

Vocab: φόβος, phobos, fear; τελεία, teleia, perfect/complete (as in reaching an end or purpose); βάλλει, ballei, it casts/throws; κόλασιν, kolasin, correction/punishment; φοβούμενος, phoboumenos, he who is fearing; τετελείωται, teteleiōtai, he has been made perfect.

Commentary: What does a person have to fear who knows Jesus? Talked with a man this morning who turned away from churches that used fear of hell to keep professing Christians in right behavior. While there is a sense that immoral behavior may be a sign that one is not saved, we know that we are not saved by perfect obedience, especially to man derived rules. Forcing right behavior by threats does not lead to salvation. That is legalism! Rather, the love of Christ causes us to want to do what is right, not as a church dictates, but as the Holy Spirit and the Word of God leads. Romans 8:1 says, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Maybe these overbearing churches might want to consider that the love of Christ in them (if it is there at all) may help the disobedient person see the love of Christ to them and they might want to then turn their life over to Jesus as two people who fall in love with each other do? However, let us not think that the love of God does not mean that there are not consequences to those who do not turn to Christ. As I’ve said many times, all people are born apart from God and hell is not punishment for rejecting Christ, but it the result of not knowing God, who is in Christ (see Jn 3:17-21). It is like a person is born unmarried, as all people are, and unless they get married, they will remain forever unmarried and outside of the intimate love marriage brings. Jesus is the means for salvation from permanent separation from God and His perfect goodness and love. He is the bridegroom whose love takes us from the domain of selfishness, if we are willing. When one rejects Christ, they are rejecting the means of escaping the hell they are already bound for. Having no love for God leaves a person in the state they are born in (children are considered innocent until they are of an age where they are consciously aware they are sinning, Deut 1:37-39; Matt 18:3-4; Rev 20:13, children have not yet done works by which they can be judged). Immoral behavior is merely a symptom of not knowing God but is to show us that we do need salvation (Rom 7:7). For those who are saved, fear is of no value. Only the Holy Spirit can lead them to right behavior. Yet, those who do not love God, do ultimately have much to fear. Those who persist in disobedience as a pattern of life, obviously do not love God. Rather, they love fulfilling their own desires. Those who love God, while still falling into sin here and there, have a pattern in general of living a life pleasing to God (Rom 12:1-2). People need to understand they are separated from God and the sin in their life is the proof of it. They need to see that. But when the rubber meets the road, it is knowing the love of Christ that leads to salvation, not fear of condemnation.