Do Not Love the World

by Mike Ratliff

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4 ESV)

Compromise is a term the world system likes. In fact, the world system as we know it in our time runs on rails greased by compromise. Even though the U.S. Constitution protects the right of free speech to its citizens, the political correctness movement is doing all it can to squelch or smother the expression of “opinion” that is contrary to what it deems as inoffensive. It appears that the right of the easily offended is more protected than the right of those who speak the truth and live by it. The emergent movement, for example, teaches that it is wrong to preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in completion. Why? It is divisive. It is exclusive. It offends. Instead, its leaders teach that we should only preach things that bring people together. Another difference between orthodox Christianity and the emergents has to do with separation from the world system. We teach what the Bible teaches, that is, Christians must not be friends of or part of the world system because those who are actually prove that they are an enemy of God. On the other hand, the emergents consistently teach that repentance is no big deal and all sorts of sins condemned in the Bible are not grounds for separation from the local body of believers. 

15μη αγαπατε τον κοσμον μηδε τα εν τω κοσμω εαν τις αγαπα τον κοσμον ουκ εστιν η αγαπη του πατρος εν αυτω  16οτι παν το εν τω κοσμω η επιθυμια της σαρκος και η επιθυμια των οφθαλμων και η αλαζονεια του βιου ουκ εστιν εκ του πατρος αλλ εκ του κοσμου εστιν  17και ο κοσμος παραγεται και η επιθυμια [αυτου] ο δε ποιων το θελημα του θεου μενει εις τον αιωνα (1 John 2:15-17 WHNU)

Loue not this world, neither the things that are in this world. If any man loue this world, the loue of the Father is not in him. For all that is in this world (as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life) is not of the Father, but is of this world. And this world passeth away, & the lust thereof: but he that fulfilleth the will of God, abideth euer. (1 John 2:15-17 Geneva)

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.(1 John 2:15-17 KJV)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)

The first phrase of v15 in this passage from 1 John 2 is a command. The verb is αγαπατε. This word means to love as a direction of the will and finding joy in the object of that love. It is in present tense, imperative mood, and active voice. It is also preceded by μη, which negates it. This is a warning to not devote one’s life to the world (κοσμον) system. John is describing a way of life and Christians are commanded to not be devoted to a system that is opposed in every way to God (John 12:31; James 4:4; 1 John 5:19). John goes on to say that if anyone loves (αγαπα) the world (κοσμον), the love (αγαπη) of the Father is not in him. John used the word αγαπα to describe  the love of the world a person may have. This is another form of αγαπατε so this is a love as a direction of the will hoping to find joy in the what is loved. However, αγαπα is in present tense, subjunctive mood, and active voice. In other words, if a person loves the world as an act of the will as a way of life then this proves that the love (αγαπη) of the Father is not in him or her.

This is an incredible statement my brethren and one that is brushed aside in much of what passes for Christianity in our time. The love of the Father is the form of love that is often translated as charity in the KJV. We pronounce it as “agape.” When John says that this love is not in those who actively love the world as a way of life, he is telling us that the love God has for His people is not present in them because they are not of Him. This love in a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ produces the very same love in them for Him. It eradicates the need for us to love the world in order to be fulfilled by it since we are fulfilled in Christ and love God with the same love He has for us.

The world system is opposed to God in every way. It is a system that promises much and delivers only fleshly gratification, which does not last. Our flesh is geared to this system. It loves it and insists that we pursue what is offered by the world in an attempt to be satisfied or satiated by following hard after the lust (επιθυμια) of the flesh (σαρκος), the lust (επιθυμια) of the eyes (οφθαλμω), and the pride (αλαζονεια) of life or possessions (βιου). The word John used for lust describes the natural desire of the “soul” for the things of the world. Human desires are part of God’s creation and therefore not inherently evil, but they become twisted when not directed by and toward God. Therefore, the lust of the flesh is speaking of a pursuit designed to satisfy a fleshly desire. When this becomes idolatrous then it is evil. The lust of the eyes speaks of coveting what we see and is speaking of idolatry as well. The pride of life or possessions is speaking of boasting in what one has. These are things based in the flesh and pride. These are not of God, but are of the world.

The world is temporal. It is passing away. Despite what Brian McLaren and the other emergents teach, the Christian focus must be first on God and eternity then we walk through the temporal in light of and what awaits us in eternity. The emergents are all about the here and now with their focus off of the Biblical Gospel and, instead, on the social gospel, which is no gospel at all. What awaits us in eternity will never pass away, but the temporal is quickly approaching its end. How then are we to live my brethren?

Soli Deo Gloria!

12 thoughts on “Do Not Love the World

  1. We and this world is passing fast. Wow, we were just 18! Where has the time gone???? We are keeping our mind, heart, and eyes on the sky, so to speak. If Jesus is not first and foremost in your life……..well, its just sad. Things in this world are starting to escalate very fast and not for the better. BUT, He is in control, He is sovereign, and He is my Saviour, my everything, my DAD!

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  2. This is awesome Mike! I just wrote a blog about the powerful effects of most secular music and this ties right into it. God is using you in a mighty way, thank you for sharing your wisdom once again!
    Blessings,
    Elizabeth

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  3. Wow how true this article is. So many churches have gone “emergent” and preach a cheap watered-down gospel designed to be man-centered and “relevant”. The true gospel is precious, and any attempt to “tweak” it is a direct, egregious offense to Him. His gospel is wonderful, and because He first loved me, I desire to please Him and thank Him every day for so great a salvation. 🙂

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  4. Hi Mike,
    What an eye opener! The way you explained this makes it so clear. It’s not as if love for the world is kind of a bad thing, you really shouldn’t do it and it hurts God’s feelings sort of thing. But it really proves you are not His, because He is not your first love. You love the things He hates.
    Been there and done that. I will share this with my bible study group.
    BTW–they all use and seem to like the message bible. I am trying to get them to use a different bible. I tried to show them the comparisons between my NAS bible and the message concerning the beatitudes and I hope I have had some success in getting them to think about using another bible.
    Thank you!

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  5. Thanks Diane! Yes, your NAS is very good. It is the most literal translation of the Word. The Message is as far from that as you can get. I have a Message NT, but I rarely open it. I use it only when working on an article about how we need to not try to conform the Word to us, but conform to it. The Message is an example of the former while the NAS and other literal translations are what we need to use to do the latter.

    One of the reasons I don’t use the NAS as much as the ESV in my writing is that the Lockman Foundation is very strict with their copyright. It is much harder to get permission to use their text than it is for the ESV. In any case, I still like it very much though.

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  6. Thanks be to Christ for conquering sin and death and for being my righteouessness for me. This matters in both my justification and my sanctification.

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  7. The few passages I have seen in the message bible lead me to describe what I read in one word: irreverant.
    Have a good day today and thank you for what you do.

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  8. I love the words to this song,

    “…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

    The blessings the Lord allows us in this world can be enjoyed as long as they don’t take His place in our hearts.

    Thanks, Mike!

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