by Mike Ratliff
4 ὅτι πᾶν τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ νικᾷ τὸν κόσμον· καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ νίκη ἡ νικήσασα τὸν κόσμον, ἡ πίστις ἡμῶν. 1 John 5:4 (NA28)
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4 (NASB)
Depending upon a given context, world (κόσμος (kosmos)) can mean several things: earth, human race, et cetera. In its some 188 occurrences, however, it usually speaks of the “world system” or “world order,” that is, the values, pleasures, inclinations, philosophies, goals, drives, purposes, attitudes, and actions of society. This system is totally man-centered and is quite vivid in the humanistic and relativistic society of today.
Think about this contrast: Jesus’ words were “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”However, man’s words are, “Not your will, but mine be done!” As Martyn Lloyd-Jones put it, “They think as the world thinks. They take their opinions ready-made from their favorite newspaper. Their very appearance is controlled by the world and it changing fashion.”
This domination of the world over man is seen today in every area of life. The popular phrase, “I am my own person,” is false and foolish, because every person is dominated by the world. For example, most people just “follow the trends,” the trends of dress, hair style, morality, and countless other things. Most people think that these trends are isolated, that they are all unrelated and are without any meaning. On the contrary, they are not isolated; they are all part of an underlying philosophy–worldliness. Legalism teaches that worldliness is what we do or don’t do, such as playing cards, going to a movie theater, or women wearing pants. Worldliness, however, is not something we do, but rather it is something we believe. Outward behavior will certainly be an outworking of this, worldliness is an attitude, a mindset, a philosophy.
All men and women, even Christians, are in on way or another dominated by the world. Why? Because we are human’ we are sinful. Only the Spirit of God can give victory over this domination. How tragic it is when Christians are dominated by the world!That is the reason for commands such as 1 John 2:15:
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)
Soli Deo Gloria!