The Lure of This Fleeting Age

by Mike Ratliff

Do not love the world nor what makes up the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; (a personal translation of 1 John 2:15 from the Greek text.)

There is a certain type of love that God hates. We find that in John 15:18-20)

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were from out of the world , the world would love you as its own; but because you are not from out of the world , but I myself selected you from out of the world, through this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you’ the slave is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecuted you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. (a personal translation of John 15:18-20 from the Greek text)

God has no love for “love of the world system that is opposed to God.” Jesus made it clear in the passage from John 15:18-20 that those who are “of the world” are not of God nor are those whom He has selected from out of the world part of the world. This is why those who are still “of the world” hates them. I want to reinitiate here that there are plenty of apostate, “so-called christians” in our time who exhibit that very same hatred toward those of us who refuse to back away from Orthodox Christianity and God’s Word and being infallible and complete. In any case, John is telling us in 1 John 2:15-17 two important truths about genuine Christianity. First, the Christian loves God and fellow Christians and an absence of love of the world must habitually characterize the love life of those to be considered genuinely born again. 

Let’s unpack the three verses.

Μὴ ἀγαπᾶτε τὸν κόσμον μηδὲ τὰ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ τὸν κόσμον, οὐκ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ πατρὸς ἐν αὐτῷ· ὅτι πᾶν τὸ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν καὶ ἡ ἀλαζονεία τοῦ βίου, οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς, ἀλλ᾿ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐστί. καὶ ὁ κόσμος παράγεται καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία αὐτοῦ· ὁ δὲ ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. (1 John 2:15-17 GNT)

Do not love the world nor what makes up the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; because all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh and desire of the eyes and the pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away along  with its desire, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (a personal translation of 1 John 2:15-17 from the Greek Text)

The verb “love” here are all forms of of the word ἀγαπάω or agapaō, means “to love and indicates a direction of the will and finding one’s joy in something.” The noun form of “love” are forms of the word ἀγάπη or agapē, means “benevolent love. It benevolence, however, is not shown by doing what the person loved desires, but what the one who loves deems as needed by the one loved.” So, this is not just a simple infatuation John is talking about here, but a fully involved love of the world system and is, in fact, a marker of Christian disingenuousness if present.

I found the translation of these three verses to be very straightforward. There was no ambiguity. John makes it clear, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; because all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh and desire of the eyes and the pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” These are mutually exclusive. The love of the world as the place of fulfillment and the love of the Father are not capable of coexisting together. So, John is saying that a genuine Christian is different. This placing of the Love of the Father in Him replacing the love of the Word is part of our Lord choosing them out of the world that we saw in John 15. This changes genuine Christians eternally, but God then leaves us here to live in this sin-sick world for what reason? We are to do the will of the Father and abide in Him forever no matter the cost, no matter what.

One last thing before we shut this post down. The word that I translated as “passing away” referring to the world is παράγεται the present tense, indicative mood, middle voice form of παράγω or paragō, means “to pass by, away.” In both 1 Corinthians 9:31 and 1 John 2:17 (above), it is used to refer to the world that “is passing away,” but more important than that is the fact that as a result of the coming of Jesus, “the darkness is passing away and the true light is already here (1 John 2:8).

The lure of this fleeting age has captured many “so-called christians” who are all about becoming “missional” and “relevant.” Why” The reason they give for this is that they insist that we must do this to reach the current generation. This “belief system” is totally based in unbelief. It has no faith in the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Gospel and the promises of God if we will remain faithful in simply preaching the Word and making disciples. If we will do that then God will use us as He draws others out of this world into His light, changing them forever.

Soli Deo Gloria!

17 thoughts on “The Lure of This Fleeting Age

  1. It’s all God’s doing: the drawing, the saving, the sanctifying.
    This is a good post, which points to the Lord’s teaching as to WHY Bible-believing Christians are rejected by worldly “Christians”.
    Let us all be encouraged by this!

  2. What captures many so-called chrsitians is the “Your Best Life Now” teachings of the false teachers. The same false teaching in the garden from the author of false teachings.
    Mike- could you maybe elaberate on the difference in the passage of John 3:16 “world” that God loved?
    That is such a heavy used verse for evangelism while most of the rest of the passage isn’t used.

  3. James White did a really good teaching on John 3:16.
    All does not mean all…….All who is believing….

    Conversion is a supernatual work of God on the inside…..that only God can do.

    @Kathy you said…It’s all God’s doing: the drawing, the saving, the sanctifying………Amen ! to that my sister in Christ.

  4. Mike, this is another great post. those who love Christ will love one another. There seems to be a remnant left who understand this truth (along with other biblical truths currently being denied). The idea that something is going to “reach” this generation as though it was any different puzzles me. Every generation since the fall has been dead in sin and transgressions. By the grace of God, our nation has been blessed with more light than most in the history of mankind. To think that we need some special dispensation is ludicrous. It is more likely that we have hardening going on (Romans 1), because of the refusal to acknowledge God or thank Him (despite the fact we have a holiday devoted to just that). We are experiencing the inevitable downward spiral resulting from unthankfulness and unbelief, and given over by God to greater sin. It isn’t a different human-devised message or program we need, but God’s mercy. Oh Lord, in wrath remember mercy!

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  6. I believe there’s a typo in this sentence: “So, this is just a simple infatuation John is talking about here, but a fully involved love of the world system and is, in fact, a marker of Christian disingenuousness if present.”

    I think it should be: “So, this is not just a simple…”

    Thank you for your insights!

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