Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17).
Why will having the perfect love cause us to have “boldness in the day of judgment” (1 John 4:17)? If we ever need boldness it will be on Judgment Day. As already noted, we gain that perfect love by obeying all of his commandments (1 John 2:4). It is reasonable that we would have boldness before God if have obeyed all of his commandments. Obeying every command of God, is to please him in everything (John 8:29)! Only when we disobey the commands of God do we need to fear him. This is why the perfect (complete, ‘teleios’) love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
Some have no fear to cast out. Why fear, they ask, when we are already saved? For some, faith alone casts out fear. For others, baptism and worshipping faithfully alone casts out all fear. For others, ignorance prevents them from knowing their real situation and thus having natural fear. None of these is said to cast out all fear in scripture. In fact, the scripture commands us to have fear. Read what the Lord commanded one of the most faithful, favored and ‘already saved’ congregations in New Testament times:
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Phil. 2:12)
Some counter – this is only “reverence fear.” That definition can not be correct. He told the Philippians to fear and tremble. True, Daniel and others in a vision trembled and fainted, but these brethren in Philippi were not seeing a vision. They were commanded to work out their own salvation. Why work out their own salvation if they already have it? They did not have the crown yet. Paul testified to these same Philippians that he did not have the crown yet. They were like Timothy who was told to lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim 6:12). He did not have eternal life or he would not have been commanded to lay hold on it. True Timothy was directed not to fear (1 Tim 1:7) but this referred to the fear of man (1 Cor. 16:10). We are told that “The fear of man bringeth a snare” (Pro. 29:25), but Jesus was very clear that there is a fear we must have. We must fear God:
And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him (Luke 12:4-5).
Fear of being cast into hell is not reverence fear – it is the fear that has terror! We are commanded to “. . . pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (1 Pet. 1:17). The only thing in the scriptures that will cast out “the fear that has terror,” is the perfect love (1 John 4:18). Herein lies our incentive to run diligently, as if only “one receiveth the prize” (1 Cor. 9:24-26).