Sound Doctrine and the Relationship Between Love, Fear, and Hate

alt %22Biblical love, fear, hate%22

Today, spiritual people are expected to love, while never showing fear or hate, and be peaceful, while never expressing anger or judgment. The enemy’s desire in the church is to deceive by promoting a false Christianity. The church, by following cultural ideals of “righteous” behavior, moves away from sound or healthy doctrine (1 Tim 1:10; 2 Tim 4:3; Tit 1:9, 2:1) [1] , which the Spirit reveals through Scripture, into a form of blindness produced by the influence of the world and its constantly changing morals. Many practices, taboos, and behavioral attitudes taught and promoted by the Christian church today may not have a Biblical basis. The worldly leaven is in the heavenly loaf.

What God thinks matters. What man thinks only matters to the extent it agrees with God.

Deception is rampant in the church; a “dumbing down” from its biblical and spiritual roots introducing doctrines and attitudes (leaven) produced by heretics, false teachers and unbelievers (tares).  The effect of worldly pressures, both internally and externally produced, upon the churches’ attitudes is to produce an unhealthy, unbalanced, timid, and spiritually lukewarm body that can never fulfill the call He places upon us. Abiding in His truth, and walking in His light is the only antidote to the deception of the world, Satan, and those he employs. Sanctification that frees from the power of sin illuminates and gives discernment to His body.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “ If you continue (Gk. meno, abide, persevere) in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know (Gk. ginosko, come to know) the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:31-32

The progression of cultural truth occurs over time through education, passage of laws, and the use of media. The very meaning of words becomes transformed to fit the desired culturally “enlightened” yet anti-Christian worldview. This worldly teaching promotes an understanding of love, fear, and hate, accepted by a majority of the young, that is in direct opposition to His revealed Word and wisdom.

Main Point: The Thesis of Biblical Love, Fear, and Hate

  1. Biblical fear of God is an aspect of our love, not a fear of punishment or discipline. The focus in this holy fear centers on not displeasing God.  If you love a person, you don’t want to do anything that will emotionally hurt or physically harm them.  You fear falling short or disappointing them. You harm the relationship by choosing yourself over them.  Fearing God is the fear of that self-induced loss of fellowship. It is the fear of a wasted life.
  2. You are to hate evil but not fear it.  You are to stand firm regarding Satan but not fear his schemes. You are wise to be cautious of evil men and be prudent in your earthly life, but not fear men as they cannot touch you after death; only God can do that.
  3. His love provides a perfect substitute for the penalty of sin via salvation. If He hates sin, we too should hate it.

Love finds its source in God. Love towards God comes from an understanding of all the He has done for believers in grace and a desire to please Him. (We please Him by faith, but we must be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Christ states in the Upper Room, “If you love Me you will keep My commandments… ” John 14:15, 31.)  Included in our walk of fellowship with God in His love and light we:

  • Respect and are in awe (reverential fear) of Him as Creator and Redeemer.
  • Hate what He hates (sin and all that is of the world).
  • Are fearful of displeasing Him through sin or lack of trust or faithfulness.

The interrelationship  of love, fear, and hate are necessary for a balanced and mature Biblical spirituality. Any teaching that moves away from these foundational truths sets the church up for deception. Believers who do not have an understanding and experience of this balance may be unsound doctrinally and spiritually, and be lukewarm at best.

The design of this study will be to refute worldly philosophies and trends through scripture. Christians must base their thoughts, character, and actions upon the light of God’s truth. The Spirit illuminates His Word in the heart of the yielded believer so that, in obedience to the will of the Father, we can, through the enablement of the Spirit, express that truth in our walk, relationships, and life. Only Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). What does the Bible say about love, fear, and hate?

Global and Cultural Ideals of Love, Fear, and Hate

The highest virtue of society today is tolerance. Tolerance is seen as the application of love to others regardless of their culture, beliefs, or behavior. This tolerance moves beyond the Christian ideal of respect and agape love of man because of the value of his eternal soul for which our Savior shed His blood. The definition of tolerance today is not merely a lack of direct opposition to others’ views, but includes a mandate that we should fight for the rights of others’ beliefs, even when they are opposed to our own. The advancement of this virtue fits in well with the modern mantra of “its ok to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.” This is in direct opposition to the desire of a loving and Holy God for men to become righteous as well as loving.

If the greatest expression of this worldly love is tolerance, the exact opposite of love is not hate, but fear. We are told that fear results either from ignorance or unreasonable attitudes. For the “tolerant culture,” there is nothing to fear about the latest expansion of social experimentation regarding the family, marriage, and gender. Fear is prejudice against others and their culture or worldview.

The progressive nature of society seeks to change the very definition of man with the advent of transhumanism, genomic research and designer babies. This progression, seen as “evolution” or a form of “social Dawinianism,” is seen in all areas of society; affecting the foundation of society’s morals and beliefs.  Those who refuse truth framed by education and culture are seen as ignorant, biased to a form of prejudice that is rooted in fear. Science, Judges, and educated elite experts become the leading voices of such a society whose advancement depends upon rooting out those who are seen to be ignorant. By becoming educated away from ancient superstition and taboos, such as the revealed Word of God, man is throwing off the shackles of the past and becoming truly free. The result- man becomes his own god and determines his own truth consistent with secular science, psychology, and the intellectual output of the “natural” mind.

Throughout history, philosophers have pronounced “God is dead.” Anything that opposes “everyone doing what is right in their own eyes” is attacked. Education can be used to remove ignorance and fear, which are the results of “bad programming” by the outdated morals of the past based upon objective biblical truth. Once we are all “reprogrammed” to be on the same secular side, the story goes, hate from ignorance that is founded upon fear will also be alleviated. Tolerance, the application of love, will be the supreme virtue of society. Love wins out over truth. “Fear and hate” (by the Christians) are abolished, legislated against, and run out of society. Heaven on earth will be had when we can get rid of all the ignorant living-in-the-past “haters.”

And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God. Luke 16:15

Famous Sayings that Propagate a Worldly View of Love, Fear, and Hate

Fear Hate. Hate Fear.

The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.   Gandhi

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.   George Lucas (Star Wars, spoken by Yoda)

The opposite of love is not hate, it is fear.   Gary Zukav

Fear is the only true enemy, born of ignorance, and the parent of anger and hate.  Edward Albert

Postmodern Society’s Hidden Motive of Hate

Postmodern society[2] desires to do away with all objective morality and substitute in its place a relative or subjective one. The Bible clearly presents the reason and motive of the world in its rebellion against God and His revealed truth.

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. John 3:20

Jesus tells his unbelieving brothers before he goes to Jerusalem that the world cannot hate them for they are of the world. The world loves those who are its own and walk in darkness according to their evil deeds. Jesus exposes the deeds of the world and the world hates Him for it.

The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.     John 7:7

The truth of the world is a lie. Man worships man and denies the Creator and Redeemer to whom they are obligated for the very life they live.

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Rom 1:25

The men of the world are haters of God enslaved to sin. The ones they approve of are the men who practice the same evil deeds of darkness that Christ exposed.

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. Rom 1:28-32

The hatred of the world for Christ is due to their sin. The hatred of men for Christ is irrational. “They hated Me without a cause.”

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘ They hated ME without A cause.    John 15:22-25

We have been transferred as believers out of the reign of darkness and enslavement to Satan and sin into the kingdom of light, life, and love of Christ Jesus. Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20). We are strangers and aliens on the earth (1 Pet 2:11; Heb 11:13; Ps 39:12) much like Abraham (Heb 11:9), who lived in tents longing for the city of God, the New Jerusalem, that will come down out of heaven and be the home of those of the family of faith.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.   Col 1:13

If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.   John 15:18-19

Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.  1 John 3:13

The Basis of True and Lasting Freedom is Eternal Truth

Man wants freedom to do as he wishes. “It is my life and I can do with it whatever I want. No one has the right to tell me how to live my life.” Men of the world see authority and morality as oppression. A life devoid of God produces slavery to sin, death, hate, and fear. The only way to be free, whether eternal salvation (freedom from the penalty of sin, Gal 5:1) or experiential sanctification (freedom from the power of sin, John 8:31-32, 17:17; James 1:25, 2:11), is through the truth.

But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25

“The ‘Law that gives freedom’ seems like a paradox. Law seems to imply restraint and therefore a lack of freedom. Not so with God’s Law. His perfect Law provides true freedom. ‘Hold to My teaching,’ Christ said, ‘then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:31- 32). One who does what God decrees will find full liberty and will be blessed in what he does.” [3]   

The world rejects the truth that defines and explains its sin and walk of darkness. The desire and motive of the world in this denial of truth is to embrace its sin through a hatred of the Savior. “We do not want this Man to reign over us. (Luke 19:14).” The world recognizes a historical Jesus as a “moral teacher” and one of the “enlightened ones” along with Buddha, Confucius, and Mohammed, but not Christ Jesus of Nazareth, whose words and deeds are preserved in the Bible, who is the only begotten Son of the Living God.

Biblical Love and Hate

Ironically, the world in its hatred of God and Christians labels believers as “haters,” because of their love of the Lord. As we shall see, Christians are haters, but their hatred is of the things that God hates. God hates the very sin that He exposes in the world. God hates the world system established by its ruler – Satan. Yet, in spite of this hatred of sin and evil, God so loved the world (mankind that He created to share in the glory of His grace) that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.  Rom 12:9

The English word “abhor” is a translation of a Greek word that also has the meaning of hate, detest with horror, or to turn away from. This is the same root word used to describe the hatred that unbelievers have for God (Rom 1:30).  A love that hates evil and cleaves to good is described as being genuine, real, true or sincere. It is undiluted and pure. Paul states that the goal of instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith (1 Tim 1:15). The pure heart, like God, hates evil and sin. Unbelievers do the opposite. They love and cling to their sin and hate God who exposes their darkness.

Biblical love is much more than tolerance of others. Biblical love (agape) does what is best for others, even if it means lovingly telling a friend or family member that what they are doing and how they are living their life is hurtful and wrong to themselves, others, and God.  The contagion of sin never operates in isolation. Like leprosy it utterly defiles everyone and becomes “the gift that keeps on giving” in the spread of misery.

Biblical love, under the influence of the Spirit, may lead one to give the gospel to an unbelieving friend, even if it might mean the loss of friendship. You do not want one you love to miss out on the greatest gift of grace possible, our so great salvation. We have told others, “We love you. Heaven will be so much better with you in it. Our joy will be made full to know that you too will experience the glory, life, and love of God for all eternity.” That is true concern and love. The world leaves others in sin with a wink and a nod as everyone goes hand in hand to doom and destruction. This is the most unloving and selfish of acts. It is demonism masquerading as enlightened and evolved love. It is hatred hiding beneath a deceptive mask of light. Cultural tolerance can never replace the self-sacrificial love of Christ or those who, in following Him, shine that same light and love to others. Love is an act of the will; it has the best interests of others in mind, not merely to help one feel better about living a life devoid of God and truth.

The Definition of Reverential or Holy Fear

Vine will begin our look at the Biblical description of a holy fear that all believers should possess. This type of fear should be included in our walk. Holy fear is not a fear of punishment, but one of a desire not to displease One who loves and has done all for us.

“Reverential fear of God, as a controlling motive of life, in matters spiritual and moral, is not a mere fear of His power and righteous retribution but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him … (It is) a fear which banishes the terror that shrinks from His presence (Rom 8:15) and which influences the disposition and attitude of one whose circumstances are guided by trust in God, through the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 John 2:28; Acts 9:31; Rom 3:18; 2 Cor 2:1; Eph 5:21; Phil 2:12; 1 Pet 1:17; 2 Cor 5:11). The reverential fear of God will inspire a constant carefulness in dealing with others in His fear (1 Pet 3:2, 15).” [4]

The Difference Between Holy Fear in Our Walk and Fear of Judgment

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 1 John 4:18

Vine’s exposition of 1 John 4:18 explains how walking in love extinguishes fear of judgment. He reiterates, however, that a holy fear of displeasing or grieving God is included in the walk of a healthy and spiritually growing believer. Fear of judgment means we are not being obedient in a Spirit-enabled walk of light and love.

“The point is that, where God’s love is being perfected in us, it gives no room for fear; not again, the fear of God in which we are to walk; a fear lest we should grieve Him, but the fear of meeting with his reprobation. The former fear should characterize us but, as to the latter, we should so live that it is absent from us. If we are not manifesting love, we have cause for fear that, instead of having boldness at the judgment seat of Christ, we shall lose our reward, (which is) the expression of His approval.

Fear of judgment means we are not perfected in love. Perfect love leaves nothing to be feared (Rom 8:15). The fear which has punishment is not a holy awe, characteristic of filial piety, but that slavish fear, which is banished by perfect love.” [5]

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “ Abba! Father!”   Rom 8:15

The Balance of Biblical Love and Holy Fear

Trench indicates the presence of both love and holy fear in the piety of believers of all ages.

“Apprehension but especially holy fear which is “that mingled fear and love which combined constitute the piety of man toward God; the Old Testament placed the emphasis on the fear, the New Testament … on the love, though there was love in the fear of God’s (believers) then, as there must be fear in their love now.” Trench, Sync, Sec xlviii.[6]

Unger describes the balance between filial or holy fear and love in those that are spiritually healthy and sound. Similarly to Trench, he relates holy fear to man’s “practical piety.” We shall see in the next section that holy fear is a powerful means of producing holiness in the lives of believers.

The fear of God is of several kinds: 1) Superstitious, which is the fruit of ignorance; 2) Servile, which leads to abstinence from many sins through apprehension of punishment; and 3) Filial, which has its spring in love and prompts to care not to offend God and to endeavor in all things to please Him.

(This filial or holy fear) is another term for practical piety and comprehends the virtues of the godly character (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 14:2), whereas its absence is characteristic of a wicked and depraved person (Rom. 3:18). It is produced in the soul by the Holy Spirit, and great blessing is pronounced upon those who possess this trait: His angels protect them (Ps. 34:7); they “abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (91:1). This fear would subsist in a pious soul were there no punishment of sin. It dreads God’s displeasure, desires His favor, reveres His holiness, submits cheerfully to His will, is grateful for His benefits, sincerely worships Him, and conscientiously obeys His commandments.

Fear and love must coexist in us in order that either passion may be healthy and that we may please and rightly serve God. ‘The fear of the Lord’ is used for the worship of God, e. g. ‘I will teach you the fear of the Lord,'(34:11) and for the law of God (19:8- 9). The ‘fear of Isaac’ (Gen. 31:42, 53) is God, whom Isaac worshiped with reverent awe. The ‘fear of man’ is that dread of the opinions of our neighbors that makes us cowards in the performance of those duties that we fancy they do not practice (Prov. 29:25).” [7]

In our motivation to serve God there will be both fear and love. Today, fear is seen as an improper motivation inferior to love. Stedman addresses this misconception regarding a healthy and spiritual motive for the Christian:

“… (E)specially in Genesis and Revelation the fear of the Lord is extolled as a very proper and highly desirable virtue for living. In fact, it is regarded as foundational (Prov 1:7; Ps 34:9, 36:1). It should not surprise us, therefore, that Paul speaks first of fear when he sets before us the great motives of life. It is this truth—the certainty that he will one day face the searching gaze of his Lord and Savior—that motivates Paul to serve Jesus and persuade men. He does not wish to waste his life (2 Cor 5:10-11).

… (Yet), Christ’s love compels us and overcomes our natural self-preservation and self-centered interests. Love not duty is the proper motive for Christian functioning. ‘If you love Me you will obey what I command (John 14:15).’ Love makes obedience easy. It is the delight of love to do what the loved One desires. Yes, life as a Christian is totally, radically, different. Impelled by the twin motives of the fear of God and the love of Christ, it goes counter to the normal impulses of life.” [8]

Reverential or Holy Fear in Scripture

Holy Fear in the Old Testament

  1. Fear as reverence and worship is a proper response to God under the old covenant.  Deut 10:12-13

Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your

God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all

your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His

statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? Deut 10:12-13

  1. Fear equals obedience that results in blessing.  Deut 8:2-7a
  2. Fear and obedience are the means by which God blesses.  Deut 6:1-2
  3. Fear of God is learned by hearing His word.  Deut 4:10
  4. Fear is central to the acquisition of wisdom.  Prov 1:7; Job 28:28

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way.  Prov 8:13

Holy Fear in the New Testament

  1. Fear of God is commanded throughout the New Testament. Col 3:22; 1 Pet 2:17; Rev 11:18; 14:7; 15:4; 19:5.

Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Col 3:22-24

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. 1 Pet 2:17

  1. Early church was described as a fearful church characterized by awe of God’s presence and power among them. Acts 2:43; 5:5; 9:31; 15:17.
  1. Fear as well as love is a motivation for spiritual service to God and others.

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. 2 Cor 5:11

For the love of Christ controls (compels) us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.  2 Cor 5:14-15

  1. Eulabeia means reverential or godly fear and piety.

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe (Gk. eulabeia); for our God is a consuming fire.   Heb 12:28-29

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety (Gk. eulabeia).        Heb 5:7

Eulabeia is the apprehension but especially holy fear, that mingled fear and love which combined constitute the piety of man towards God.” Vine

Eusebes, however, is reverence manifested in action. It is reverence or awe that is well-directed. Compared to the godly fear or eulabeia, eusebes is a Godward attitude that does what is well-pleasing to Him (Acts 10:2,7; 2 Pet 2:9).

  1. Reverence or awe of God includes the fear of the contagion of sin. Jude writes regarding the danger of the false teachers in the church. His exhortation to the church is to support through love and mercy those who are confused and doubting the truth, bring the power of the gospel to the unbelieving, and to have mercy and love for those entrapped in their teachings, even as you fear and hate their sin.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.  Jude 20-22

  1. Fear of God (reverence and awe that leads to worship and obedience) is a powerful means of producing holiness in the believer.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.   2 Cor 7:1

… but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.    Eph 5:18b-21

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.    Phil 2:12-13

Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.   1 Tim 5:20

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.    1 Peter 1:17-19

  1. Unbelievers, those who are shut up under sin (Rom 3:23, 11:32; Gal 3:22), interestingly, have no fear of God (Rom 3:18, 13:10-14). They are, however, enslaved to Satan’s will by the fear of death. For all their talk of no fear, death itself becomes the fear that controls and masters all unbelievers and makes them servants to Satan and sin.

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Heb 2:14-15

  1. False teachers, who are unbelieving “tares” in the church, have no fear (Gk. aphobos) of God, angels, or man. Their work is fruitless. Their destiny is hell.

But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. Jude 10-13

Command to Not Fear

  • Heb 13:5-6 Man or our enemies. (Luke 12:4; Heb 3:5-6, 11:23, 27)
  • Luke 1:14 Serving the Lord
  • Phil 1:14   Ministry of the Word of God
  • Prov 1:33 Those who hear (obey in faith) will fear no evil
  • Fear (deilos) is never to be cowardice or timidity.

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.  1 Tim 1:7

To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,

Might serve Him without fear,

In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. Luke 1:74

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “ I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “ The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”   Heb 3:5-6

But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;   1 Pet 3:14-15

Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is doing the Lord’s work, as I also am. 1 Cor 16:10

… and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. Phil 1:14

“But he who listens to me shall live securely

And will be at ease from the dread of evil. Prov 1:33

The Application of Holy Fear in the New Testament

  1. Vine states that fear (phobos) in the New Testament first had the meaning of flight as that which is caused by being scared. Then it came to mean that which may cause flight. This is the predominate meaning of fear in the four gospels and Acts.
  1. A believer’s phobos fear of sin results in flight. We are to flee sin.
  • 1 Cor 6:18  Flee fornication
  • 1 Cor 10:14 Flee idolatry
  • 1 Tim 6:11    Flee love of money, evil doctrine, disputes, envy, and strife and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness
  • 2 Tim 2:19  Depart from wickedness
  • 2 Tim 2:22  Flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call upon the Lord with a pure heart
  1. However, regarding Satan and his fiery darts, we are to stand firm. If we stand firm with regard to the attacks of the enemy, Scripture tells us that Satan will flee from us. This submission to God (James 4:7) includes purification from sin that leads to blessing.

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double- minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:7-10

Summary: We are to fear (phobos) and flee (phuego) sin so that we may submit and draw near to God and His resurrection life. Rom 6:1-13. Cleansing comes before fellowship (John 13:10). Drawing near to God results in reverence, worship, and awe for Him and becomes the source of His work in and through us by means of the Spirit. As we submit to God and the life of the Son, we will be able to rest in His power to stand against Satan who will flee from us. This honors God and brings glory to Him.

We must first flee sin and submit to God. Then, Satan will flee from us as we stand firm in the armor of light. When we fear and hate sin and revere God, there is no need to fear man, the world, or the enemy.

The Focus of Biblical Hate

  1. Miseo or hate that is Scriptural is not malicious and unjustifiable feelings towards others.

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.   1 John 3:15-18

2.  Christian hate is a right feeling of aversion from what is evil.

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. Rom 7:15-18

You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;

Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You

With the oil of gladness above Your companions. Heb 1:9

… save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.   Jude 23

He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. John 12:25-26

Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Rev 2:6-7a

The Goal of Fear and Hate in the Life of a Christian

Purification from sin that leads to increasing fellowship with God.

1. Punify the hands and heart.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double- minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:8-10

2. Purify the soul.

Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently: having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth.   1 Pet 1:22-23

3. Purify oneself.

Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is. And every one that hath this hope set on him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 1 John 3:2-3

4. The object of salvation is the glory of God as He purifies for Himself a chosen people. The sacrifice of our Savior instructs us to live godly lives. God promotes godly living by focusing upon God’s grace in the past, our salvation, and also upon the future, the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world; looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works. Tit 2:11-14

Walvoord comments upon this scripture:

A holy people was His purpose in paying such a fearful price. Therefore, knowing what all He has done and why He has done it, a Christian who truly loves Christ and looks forward to His return will pay any price to bring his life into conformity with his beloved Lord’s will, lest he disappoint Him at His return. This was the Apostle John’s thought when he wrote about the hope of Christ’s appearing: ‘Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure’ (1 John 3:3). A full understanding of these things leads … to godly living. Conversely, ungodly living in a Christian is a clear sign that either he does not fully understand these things or he does not actually believe them.” [9]

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “ You shall be holy, for I am holy.” If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.   1 Pet 1:13-19

“Enjoying God’s presence requires personal holiness.” Bible Knowledge Commentary

We must be separated and clean from the world, flesh, and devil to be in fellowship with God.

For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

“ I will dwell in them and walk among them;

And I will be their God, and they shall be MY people.

“ Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.

“ And do not touch what is unclean;

And I will welcome you.

“ And I will be a father to you,

And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”

Says the Lord Almighty.

Often in the NT the concept of purity includes both acceptability to God and the ethical deeds that should result from the purified state.”     International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

A summary of the application of biblical love, fear, and hate in the spiritually healthy and growing believer walking in fellowship and obedience to God would be:

  • Fear and Hate Sin by separation
  • Revere God in worship, submission and humility
  • Obedience leads to increasing fellowship, purification, fruit and good works


The postmodern world promotes a life devoid of fear and ignorance, as well as the hate they assume it propagates. Our world today, regardless of the educational efforts through all mediums of the media and science, is filled to the brim with fear, ignorance, and hate. Our world today defines love as “letting others do as they please.” The effect of this meager sham that passes for love today is a society that is foundationally breaking apart, mired in its selfishness and sin. Scripturally, the unbelieving world is ignorant of the life of God as it moves unthinkingly like an animal towards an eternal death devoid of true love, joy, and peace. The unbelieving world, permeated by its hatred of God, is becoming all that it accuses God and Christians of being – unloving haters of all that is good, decent, and “fair.” The Jews accused Jesus of being possessed by a demon. The perception of the unbelieving world is blinded by its own darkness and sin.

True love begins with God (1 John 4:10). This is a love that the world cannot know or experience. This is the love that compels us to be in the world but not of it. A healthy and balanced spiritual experience of His love includes both fear and hate.

Therefore, knowing the fear of God we persuade all men (2 Cor 5:11), and because of His love we are compelled so that we will no longer live for ourselves (2 Cor 5:14), but that we would be His light shining into a dark and dying world. This is His message to us and the “haters.” The only truth that can lead to freedom is – “Be reconciled to God.”

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor 5:18-21

[1] Sound doctrine is that which is wholesome or healthy. Sound teaching (Tit 1:13, 2:1) and holy living (2 Pet 3:11) are intimately associated. Doctrine or teaching that is true and pure leads to believers who, in obedience to it, yielding to the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit, become spiritually healthy, mature, and whole. Vine relates the sanctification of 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (“entirely” and “complete”) with the resultant maturity of James 1:2-4 (“so that you may be perfect.”) In summary, we are to be sanctified (experiential righteousness):

  • Entirely – Every part of our being; body, soul, and spirit
  • Completely – We are to be healthy, whole, and sound such that every grace of Christ is to be present (Gal 5:22-23)
  • Perfectly – Every grace is to be practiced, developed, and matured

[2] Postmodernism, the prevalent worldview today, declares that there is no objective or absolute truth. All truth is relative, subjective, and culture-based. No one can judge another’s truth. Tolerance is the supreme virtue. Similar to Brave New World in the transformation of language and meaning, tolerance now means, 1) You must not object to my truth, and 2) You must actively support my cause and advance my views, even if they disagree with your own.

[3] Walvoord, John; Zuck, Roy, (1985), Bible Knowledge Commentary, John 8:31-32, Wheaton, IL.: Victor Books.

[4] Vine, Unger, and White, (1996), Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, “Fear,” Nashville, TN.: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Vine, W.E., (1996), Collected Writings of W.E. Vine, 1 John 4:18, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Vine, Unger, and White, (1996), Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, “Fear,” Nashville, TN.: Thomas Nelson. Trench

[7] Unger, Merrill, (1988), New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, “Fear,” Chicago, IL., Moody Publishers.

[8] Stedman, Ray C., (2011-07-20), Authentic Christianity, Discovery House Publishers. Kindle Edition, Kindle Locations: 2291-2291, 2336-2337, 2480-2481.

[9] Walvoord, Zuck, (1985), Bible Knowledge Commentary, Titus 2:14, Wheaton, IL., Victor Books.