by Mike Ratliff
15 Μὴ ἀγαπᾶτε τὸν κόσμον μηδὲ τὰ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ τὸν κόσμον, οὐκ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ πατρὸς ἐν αὐτῷ· (1 John 2:15 NA28)
15 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; (1 John 2:15 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
There is a certain type of love that God hates. We find that in John 15:18-20)
18 Εἰ ὁ κόσμος ὑμᾶς μισεῖ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐμὲ πρῶτον ὑμῶν μεμίσηκεν. 19 εἰ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἦτε, ὁ κόσμος ἂν τὸ ἴδιον ἐφίλει· ὅτι δὲ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου οὐκ ἐστέ, ἀλλʼ ἐγὼ ἐξελεξάμην ὑμᾶς ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου, διὰ τοῦτο μισεῖ ὑμᾶς ὁ κόσμος. 20 μνημονεύετε τοῦ λόγου οὗ ἐγὼ εἶπον ὑμῖν· οὐκ ἔστιν δοῦλος μείζων τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ. *εἰ ἐμὲ ἐδίωξαν, καὶ ὑμᾶς διώξουσιν· εἰ τὸν λόγον μου ἐτήρησαν, καὶ τὸν ὑμέτερον τηρήσουσιν. (John 15:18-20 NA28)
18 If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 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. 20 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. (John 15:18-20 translated from the NA28 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 as 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.
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 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; 16 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. 17 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. Its 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 shutdown this post. 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!