Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Fear has no place in love. Bold confidence (I John 4:17), based on love, cannot coexist with fear. Love, which, when perfected, gives bold confidence, casts out fear (compare Hebrews 2:14-15). The design of Christ's propitiatory death was to deliver from this bondage of fear.
fear hath torment—Greek, "punishment." Fear is always revolving in the mind the punishment deserved [ESTIUS]. Fear, by anticipating punishment (through consciousness of deserving it), has it even now, that is, the foretaste of it. Perfect love is incompatible with such a self-punishing fear. Godly fear of offending God is quite distinct from slavish fear of consciously deserved punishment. The latter fear is natural to us all until love casts it out. "Men's states vary: one is without fear and love; another, with fear without love; another, with fear and love; another, without fear with love" [BENGEL].
(Compare I John 3:19-21.)
our love—rather as the Greek, "LOVE (in the abstract, the principle of love [ALFORD]) is made perfect (in its relations) with us." Love dwelling in us advances to its consummation "with us" that is, as it is concerned with us: so Greek. Luke 1:58, "showed mercy upon (literally, 'with') her": II John 1:2, the truth "shall be with us for ever."
boldness—"confidence": the same Greek as I John 3:21, to which this passage is parallel. The opposite of "fear," I John 4:18. Herein is our love perfected, namely, in God dwelling in us, and our dwelling in God (I John 4:16), involving as its result "that we can have confidence (or boldness) in the day of judgment" (so terrible to all other men, Acts 24:25; Romans 2:16).
because, etc.—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 (I John 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 (Ephesians 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.
Other Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown entries containing 1 John 4:18:
Song of Solomon 2:14
2 Corinthians 1:5
2 Corinthians 3:17
2 Timothy 1:7
1 John 4:7
1 John 4:12
1 John 4:17-18
1 John 4:19
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