All That Is In This World   2 comments

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1 John 2:12-19

Although all Scripture is from God, some writers emphasized different aspects of faith than did other writers. John emphasized God’s love and how that should motivate Christians as the interacted with God and the world.

I’m not surprised by that. Peter concentrated on action because Peter was clearly a man of action. John was Jesus’ best friend, so of course, he knew something about the love of Jesus and therefore, the love of God.

There is a huge difference between love and lust. I know that gets short shrift in our world today, but God and His scribes were careful to mark the distinction for our benefit.

YIELDING TO THE LUST OF THE FLESH IS LOVE OF THE WORLD AND NOT LOVE THE FATHER.

Remember in my last post, I showed how John taught that you cannot love the Father and the world at the same time.

“Lust” refers to a strong desire or impulse and the New Testament almost always casts it in a negative connotation. “Flesh” refers to our fallen nature, which is not eradicated at salvation (see Romans 7). “The lust of the flesh” includes any strong desire or inclination of our fallen nature, including sexual sins, but also all activities that stem from the self-seeking, Godless nature we are born with.

Many natural desires are legitimate if they are kept under control and used in the sphere for which God designed them. The desires for food, companionship, sex, and security are all legitimate when we keep them within God’s limits and when we do not allow them to usurp His rightful place in our hearts. They become sinful when we seek to fulfill them in selfish, unGodly ways.

YIELDING TO THE LUST OF THE EYES IS LOVE OF THE WORLD AND NOT LOVE OF THE FATHER.

This term points to the sinful desires of greed and covetousness, which is when you want what you do not have which others possess. It also refers to the desires that stem from false, superficial values. The world appeals to us to find satisfaction in superficial “stuff” which never can satisfy:

  • Buy this bigger, newer home and you will be happy!
  • Find a beautiful woman or a handsome man and you will be satisfied.
  • Get the perfect job and have plenty of money and your inner longings will be quenched.

The rich and famous provide plenty of evidence through their lives that none of these things deliver what they promise.

YIELDING TO THE BOASTFUL PRIDE OF LIFE IS LOVE OF THE WORLD AND NOT LOVE THE FATHER.

While the lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes refer to the desire to have what you do not have, the boastful pride of life is all about the sinful pride you feel over what you do have. It is the desire to be better than others so that you can glory in yourself and your accomplishments.

Yeah, doing your best in school, athletics, or at work in order to be a good steward of God’s gifts and to bring glory to Him is a good thing, but it’s easy to forget that He gave you everything that you have (1 Corinthians 4:7) and to start boasting in your achievements and possessions as if you attained these things by your own intelligence or hard work. Nebuchadnezzar did that when he said (Daniel 4:30), “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” God immediately drove him out into the fields to live as a wild beast until his heart was humbled!

We all battle these temptations daily, and many of us fail regularly. John’s point is that if you go on yielding to the lust of the flesh and eyes, and the boastful pride of life as your way of life, you are not maintaining love for the Father. That is a clear example that you are maintaining love for the world. Worldly people wallow in these things while God’s children fight them continually. How do we maintain our love for the Father?

1 John 2:17

To obey the Father is to maintain your love for Him. The opposite of loving the world is not only loving the Father, but also obeying Him—“doing the will of God.” “The will of God” here does not refer to following His direction in your life. That’s actually pretty easily faked by both Satan and your own ego. Instead, verse 17 refers to obeying God’s commandments as revealed in His Word. As Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10).

A key reason to obey God’s commandments is the transitory nature of this world and its lusts in contrast to the eternal promise of heaven.

And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever. 1 John 2:17

The world is perishing, dying from its own corruption. If you love the world or the things in the world, you will lose them all at death. All that the worldly person lives for is gone in an instant and means nothing in light of eternity. Even if you have attained your worldly desires, what good are they at death? If you do God’s will, you will abide with Him in heaven throughout all eternity!

Think about This!

In 1989, Tom Sine wrote some insightful words that apply just as much now, as then (Christianity Today [3/17/89], p. 52):

Whatever commands our time, energy, and resources commands us. And if we are honest, we will admit that our lives really aren’t that different from those of our secular counterparts. I suspect that one of the reasons we are so ineffective in evangelism is that we are so much like the people around us that we have very little to which we can call them. We hang around church buildings a little more. We abstain from a few things. But we simply aren’t that different. We don’t even do hedonism as well as the folks around us … but we keep on trying.

As a result of this unfortunate accommodation, Christianity is reduced to little more than a spiritual crutch to help us through the minefields of the upwardly mobile life. God is there to help us get our promotions, our house in the suburbs, and our bills paid. Somehow God has become a co-conspirator in our agendas instead of our becoming a co-conspirator in His. Something is seriously amiss. Tom Sine, Christianity Today, March 17, 1989, page 52

2 responses to “All That Is In This World

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  1. Pingback: Cultural Dance | aurorawatcherak

  2. Pingback: Preparing for the Kingdom | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

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