For God Has Not Given Us a Spirit of Fear

For God Has Not Given Us a Spirit of Fear

by Barry Pendley

One may ask, “If God wants us to fear Him, then how does this concept correlate with the Scripture passages that state ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear . . . (Ro 8:15)’ and ‘Perfect love casts out fear. (1Jn 4:18)?’”

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. (Ro 8:15)

The Apostle Paul weaves many great doctrines together in this  passage – the doctrines of assurance, eternal security, and adoption. We do not know the exact situation of the Roman believers, but we do know that they are like the rest of us. At different times we wonder “Am I really saved?” “Will God allow me to be doomed to Hell?”

Paul states that we do not need to fear. Literally, as believers, we do not need to be terrified of eternal damnation because we are members of God’s family. The fear spoken of in this passage is the fear of eternal damnation. As believers, we fear God’s discipline and disappointment, not eternal damnation.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. no fear of judgment. (1Jn 4:18)

Again, this passage speaks of having “no fear of judgment.” This is akin to the Romans 8:15 passage. Why does John say that there is no fear in love?

John states that “fear has to do with punishment.” The word punishment is only used here and in Matthew 25:46 where it speaks of eternal damnation. Therefore, what is in view is God’s punishment that is reserved for unbelievers. John’s point is that when the believer stands before the judgment seat of Christ, he will not fear this eternal damnation in hell.

When we, as believers, sin against God, we bring Him displeasure and become subjects of His wrath. But this wrath is loving and fearful discipline. He treats us as part of His family and disciplines us so that we will confess our sins and experience the joy that comes from obedience. For an extended description of God’s discipline on the believer see Hebrews 12:5–11.


  1. This is a great lesson… fear of God is right but living in fear is not…. Living each day the best way can is what we have to do, living the best way we can through God so that we do our best each and everyday.. God has plans for us and those plans are to prosper us.. lets do our best each and everyday to help those plans along.

  2. Thank you for reminding us and make us move forward and get to know God even better.God give the spirit to overcome fear in life of darkness,The spirit of God enlighten our heart within and make us peacefully victorious in any battle in life.

  3. the thing i dont understand about this is that God wants us to fear him but also to love him with all our hearts and souls and minds…how can we perfectly love if we fear…b/c perfect love casts out fear. Therefore God is asking a double standard right? how can we truly love him if we fear him?

  4. Jeff- the type of "fear" mentioned toward God is not fear as in being scared or terrified. What this is speaking of is Reverence as Darren said, or Respect. God is not saying be afraid of me. He is saying Respect me, Honor me, and Love me. Because if we do those things then we will not operate under the type of fear that refers to being scared or terrified or afraid.

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