The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Fear vs love

Hi Richard- Hope you see this soon. As I examine these 2 concepts I see a paradox throughout Scripture. Throughout the OT, especially in Proverbs and Psalms, Good results are promised to those who fear God and keep His Commandments. In the NT, several times the message is given, fear not. However, Jesus says to fear Him who can destroy both body & soul in gehenna. Paul says to woork out our salvation with fear & tembling. Hebrews says it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. Love is a central theme of course, having its own entire chapter. The shadow of eternal punishment looms always though. How can perfect love cast out fear if there is a possibility of failing the requirements of perfect love??? i hpe i am being concise in my point here. Look forward to your thoughts on this. I enjoy your blog very much. :smiley: :sunglasses:


In the New Testament, it seems that fear (phobos) is used in two different senses. In the many commands “Do not fear” it is used in that crippling sense of fear that renders us unable to accomplish anything. But in the command “Fear God” it is used in the sense of having a healthy respect for God. It is also used in the latter sense when Paul urges wives to fear their husbands. He is not asking them to tremble in fear, but to respect their husbands.

Unhealthy fear that we are asked to avoid is the opposite to love. Healthy fear, id est “respect”, accompanies love.

I agree with you, Paidion.

Also, to Robert, when the Bible speaks of perfect love casting out fear, I believe it is saying that the love of God, which is given to us, then embraced by us, as well, drives out fear. Only God’s love is perfect. Once we accept it, it begins to transform us into new creations. I believe that the more we trust in God, and His perfect will for us, the more fear dissipates. Trust in God and fear are opposing forces, as we cannot truly fear, when we trust God, for we will know that He takes care of us and our every need. And, we come to accept that all things truly work out for our good, when we love God and are called to His purpose. And, I believe trust is a natural outcome of loving God.

I have been told that the phrase or thought to ‘fear not’ is the thought most often spoken by Jesus, in the NT.

I understand that…raised in an extremely fearful environment, I did all the ‘right’ things, but often for fear, more than for love. It took me many years to reverse that pattern, and realize the dynamics of my situation. Of course, it was God’s strength, not my own, that allowed me to see and ‘be transformed by the renewing of my mind’.

I believe the ‘terror’ of falling into the hands of a living God is the kind of terror one feels when we are put into a situation in which we need to let go of
‘self’ and allow God to fill our being…to die to self, and allow God to live through us, becoming the best us we can be. Likened to gold being purified.

Not sure about the verse to destroy body and soul. I looked at it again this morning, and that one is confusing to me, too.

Let me sit on that one and I will get back here on the weekend, if I have more to offer.

My two cents.


Hi Paidion- I fully agree with you about the differences in the fear responses. Thank you for clarifying more brother :slight_smile:

Dandelion- Thank you for your thoughts. I have seen fear lessen over the course of my life, i guess i have a struggle knowing when i have overcome it enough??? Like, does fear need to be totall extinguished and is that even possible??? Also, I understand love and fear are opposing forces, I have found them paradoxically linked though. God is love so naturally you draw near because you want His love. However sin gets in the way and then fear of letting Goddown, of being punished, of hell if you somehow fall short of the faith & obedience he wants. I think life supplie us with distortions of God as you mentioned and the Holy Spirit needs to provide the healing. I drive myself crazy at times because i wonder- why is fear still a struggle??? Am I somehow damaged goods and lack the ability to trust and love God as a believe st resting in Him?? I get crazy because in my mind i believe all the things you shared. But then i find the struggles continuing and i wonder why, since i know better??

Any others battle fear vs love?? Do you ever feel like somehow you are just missing the boat and can’t figure out why?? Thanks for all who read and comment :slight_smile: