Do not love the world nor the things in the world

by Mike Ratliff

4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4 NASB)

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.

15 Μὴ ἀγαπᾶτε τὸν κόσμον μηδὲ τὰ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ τὸν κόσμον, οὐκ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ πατρὸς ἐν αὐτῷ· 16 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 ἀλλʼ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐστίν. 17 καὶ ὁ κόσμος παράγεται καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία αὐτοῦ, ὁ δὲ ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. (1 John 2:15-17 NA28)

15 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. 16 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. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17 KJV)

15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17 NASB)

The first phrase of v15 in this passage from 1 John 2 is a command. The verb is ἀγαπᾶτε. 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 μὴ, which negates it. This is a warning to not devote one’s life to the world (κόσμῳ) 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 (ἀγάπη) the world (κόσμῳ), the love (ἀγάπη) of the Father is not in him. John used the word ἀγάπη to describe  the love of the world a person may have. This is another form of ἀγαπᾶτε so this is a love as a direction of the will hoping to find joy in the what is loved. However, ἀγάπη 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 (ἀγάπη) 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 of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life or possessions. 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!

2 thoughts on “Do not love the world nor the things in the world

  1. Once again, amen!!!

    I see this clear distinction all the time. You see so much of this among today’s professing Christians. They love love love the things of the world, o how they love it all. They love the rich and famous, they love to wear the fashions and designer brand names, they love the movies and worldly styles of music, if it doesn’t have a drum set in it they fall asleep, if it does they are hypnotized by it’s repetitive beat… they follow what the celebrities do, follow sports like it’s the most meaningful thing, and then the list goes into the really sinful sins… it really is a division line between us and them. I have known professing Christians like this. They would want to talk about movies and music and sports. It’s all about what you do, what you have, and how much more you plan on getting when you go to a new church. That is what matters to them. Once you start talking about the things of Jesus, they lost interest and the conversation died out. What fellowship do we have with such as these? I have none. I can’t stand the things of the world. Nothing but vainglory is what it all amounts to. But the true agape love of the Spirit one for another you don’t see there at all. It might as well be an actual movie theater almost. I remember back 20 some years ago, going to church and there was a sense of holiness surrounding people, that glow of the Spirit, that walk of conviction before the Lord. The Holy Spirit was still among the assembly then, but not so now. I think of those chapters in Ezekiel where the glory of the Lord leaves the temple because of the abominations. Soon after falls their destruction. But of course they didn’t believe that was coming. And those are the abominations, compromising the gospel and molding it into an idol that suits their fleshly dictates and all the other apostate things they have done in the church.



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