Monday, January 9, 2012

First John Chapter Two, Part Seven

2:15-17 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 for ever. Again we must consider carefully what John means when he uses the word “world.” We already saw that the apostle uses the word several different times, and in this case it is quite evident from the negative connotation “world” has that he is referring to the world system of which Satan is god; the demonic kingdom that challenges our Lord’s will on this earth.

We can contrast this statement with a declaration Jesus made to a Pharisee to note the differing uses of the term, “world.” “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved,” John 3:16-17. In stark contrast to John warning saints not to love the world we find our Lord declaring that God so loves the world that He sent the Son to die for it. Jesus is talking about the totality of humanity; John is referring to the wicked world system that Satan governs: “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me,” John 14:30. Satan confessed as much in his conversation with Jesus during our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness. “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it,” Luke 4:5-6.

This world’s kingdoms (governments) are then largely governed by Satanic principles and powered by this world’s god, by Satan’s confession. Note that Jesus never argued point. This was not the world Christ loved and died for. No; it was the world of mankind. The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world, 1st John 4:14. Christ is Savior of all humanity; there can be no entrance into Heaven apart from His redeeming blood. God chose to give us entrance into Heaven, and this is found in Jesus Christ whose life and righteousness we receive through faith.

In the beginning Eve was tempted with Satan’s initial enticement. Let us see how it unfolded. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh), and that it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and a tree to be desired to make one wise (the pride of life), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat,” Genesis 3:6. Satan appealed to Eve’s created nature and offered to grant her something apart from her dependence upon God. Our first parent was seduced and believed the serpent rather than her Creator, 1st Timothy 2:14. Adam erred by permitting his wife to sway him to sin when he knew that it was wrong, permitting her to rule over him rather than assuming the role of husband and head as God wanted, Genesis 3:16.

Jesus our Lord was likewise tempted as we saw by the threefold offering Satan brings to every one of us. “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread,” Matthew 4:3. “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone,” Matthew 4:5-6. “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me,” Matthew 4:8-9.

How does our Lord respond? By relying entirely on the revealed word of God to route and disarm His enemy. Eve had the same recourse since she heard God’s word and could have recalled it, trusting that what had been told her by her God was the truth. In point of fact she subtly distorted that truth as she strayed from it, seeking to have her own way. Satan was the first being to soothe itching ears with what they wanted to hear rather than what they needed to hear, 2nd Timothy 4:3-4; 1st Timothy 4:1. Jesus presented God’s unalterable truths to Satan and stood fast in the Father’s will; after that there was nothing Satan could do and he retreated from the Son, Matthew 4:11; James 4:7.

John wants it made clear to us that these three things are not from the Father, but are worldly; they are the products of man’s fallen nature exacerbated by Satan’s seductions. John expresses in succinct language that the world (this world system opposed to God) is not from God and is not meant to be indulged in by Christians. We are in the world, but not of it. This simply means that a saint functions in this world system because we are told not necessarily to go out of the world, 1st Corinthians 5:10. We are lights in this corrupt world to lead people to Christ because the world lolls in the wicked one’s embrace, 1st John 5:19. Christians are no longer of the world and as such must conduct ourselves in a manner befitting God’s children, John 17:16; Ephesians 4:1. This world is destined to pass away, and the lusts of it (the flesh, eyes and pride). Those who comply with God’s will have life eternal and will far outlive the seemingly overwhelming power of this present evil world. The world system shall meet its end when Christ comes to set up His kingdom on this earth, Daniel 2:34-35; Revelation 20:4-6. The whole of the world will likewise perish and be replaced with a new Heaven and earth, 2nd Peter 3:10-13. Rather than courting the world’s favor a Christian should heed Peter’s counsel when he writes: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God?”

3 comments:

  1. So many are focused on fixing the world system, rather than on allowing God to fix them. unfortunately it like our efforts to fix the economy. It cannot be fixed by attacking the huge symptoms, but only by changing the little things that resulted in the problem. It is individual men's choices that enable Satan to exercise such great power, and God deals with those individuals sin to fix the problem.

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  2. Welcome to my blog (:

    http://my-way-here.blogspot.com/

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  3. Thanks for the comment, Dfish; I always welcome your input and counsel. I agree, too many think the problem is "out there" and fail to perceive that we are the problem.

    Hello anonymous. Thanks for the invite; I peaked at your blog and will visit more thoroughly when I can. I likewise invite you to share in the gospel of Christ my Savior in the hopes that you accept His free offer of salvation through His blood. God bless.

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