Those of us in Christ must resist the lure of this fleeting age

by Mike Ratliff

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. 1 John 2:15 (NASB) 

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

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 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. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-20 (NASB) 

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 reiterate that there are plenty of apostate “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. They even refer to us and our doctrines as “toxic”. 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 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 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.

There was no ambiguity in the passage. 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 words “passing away” translates one Greek word, which is παράγεται the present tense, indicative mood, middle voice form of παράγω or paragō, which 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!

8 thoughts on “Those of us in Christ must resist the lure of this fleeting age

  1. The word “missional” is used at my church a good bit. The church leaders are always encouraging people to get involved in the community, to make friends with people that are lost, to share the gospel with them, to be helpful, to be an example of what living the gospel means. It’s about practicing what you preach.

    However, we don’t water down the gospel to make it “relevant.”

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  2. Lynn, that isn’t the context I was using it. I was referring more to the Purpose Driven/New Evangelism/Dummied Down approach. The best way to differentiate what I mean is that what I was talking about is “gospel contexualization.” Sounds like your Pastor(s) are not doing that.

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  3. What about trying to dialogue with people of different beliefs including the “barbarians” in our midst (trying not to use the word, but they kill thinking it will earn heaven). What about trying to work with/dialogue with Roman Catholics thinking if we don’t the secularists will take over? Is this love of the world?

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  4. I was going to ask if you were talking about the Purpose Driven and Seeker-Sensitive movements, but then I saw your response to Lynn’s comment. I have to say, I think these two movements are likely two of the most dangerous unbiblical movements in the Church today.

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  5. To Julie.
    I believe we are to engage anyone who will listen to us who believe the Gospel as per 2Ti 2:24-26:
    The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

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