1 John 2:16-17, “For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life are the very things that Adam and Eve succumbed too at the very beginning of mankind’s history. John expressed it this way; the world, not the Father is the realm of sin and therefore the things of the world are related to darkness. The world order, the things that control mankind exclude God Almighty, Who IS Light!
Paul tells asks us in 2 Corinthians 6:14c, “And what communion has light with darkness?” This should be reason number one for not loving the world system. The second thing is what John is trying to warn us about: the lust of the flesh, or self-indulgence or the cravings that motivate and drive sinful man. Also, the lust of the eyes, or covetousness. So much that the world has to offer, comes to tempt us through our eyesight. In this age of advanced technology we are being bombarded with temptation from almost every aspect of life in this world! Then, the pride of life is the other thing. This is the temptation to glory in self, in aimless and empty ambition in the world itself. These are the very things that first tempted Eve and opened the door to doubting God. She saw the Tree of Knowledge was good for food, the lust of the flesh; it was most apparently pleasant to look at, the lust of the eyes; and third, it was desirable to make one wise, the pride of life! These things, this base nature does NOT come from our Heavenly Father, but through selfishness and self-centeredness (the opposite of Love) come from what the world is tempting to offer.
The third reason for not loving this world is simply that it is temporary! It is going to burn and be cleansed through fire. 2 Corinthians 4:18b, “For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” How foolish to put so much emphasis on what is most certainly going to pass away in due time! Even Job, who lived at the time of the Patriarchs, realized “And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” – Job 1:21.
The Apostle James said this in his Epistle in James 4:4b, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
I read this somewhere and right now it slips my mind from where, but as best as I can remember, the statement goes like this: As the devil is opposed to Christ Jesus, and the flesh is hostile to the Spirit, so the world is antagonistic or at enmity with God, our Father! There is no good thing that comes from the world system! There is clearly no room for compromise, for either you love the world and the things in it or you love that which belongs to and is of God Almighty! Remember now, we are talking about what we choose to idolize in our lives when we talk about loving the world or loving God. This doesn’t mean we aren’t having to live in this world and we have to procure things to live, etc., but we are talking about putting those things that we truly love, first in our lives; is it the worldly things, or is it the things of the Spirit and of God?
Philippians 3:18-19, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame–who set their mind on earthly things.” Paul couldn’t have stated it more bluntly! Christians are of God, from God, for God and in God through Christ Jesus! The rest of the world is under the control of wickedness and the enemy of mankind and God. “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” – 1 John 5:19.
The Apostle Paul also stated this in Ephesians 2:1-3, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”
Paul is saying that we walked according to what the world gave us, by the authority of the devil. We were as the walking dead and we didn’t even know it! As we previously stated, the world system relates to darkness, and is steeped in darkness, which in turn appertains to sin, which brings forth death! The power and ability to function in death is due to our slavery to the prince of the power of the air, none other than Satan, himself! Men of this world are accustomed to doing his bidding. Now before someone jumps up and shouts that we give the devil too much credit for the ills and woes of the world, I agree! The devil himself can’t be every where at once because he too is a created being. But when he fell due to arrogance and pride, he took a whole host of angels (approximately one-third – Revelation 12:4) with him in a fallen state!
Many of the ills of mankind are due to our own selfish and self-centered nature which is just opposite of a loving nature that our Heavenly Father intended. We are the “weapons” of our own demise as it were! So, we weren’t just slaves to the devil and his minions, but we were slaves to our own selfish, fallen nature! Our Father God, on the other hand, through His love for mankind, broke those chains of slavery that had us bound, and through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ we ARE free from that bondage! We have become bond slaves to Him with a yoke that is light and allows us liberty. He calls us and He equips us that we might remain free and thereby lead others to that same freedom and liberty!
When we do the will of God, as John stated in previous verses we abide in the light, we know God, we know His love and we abide in it and He and His love abides in us. This world WILL pass away and so will all of its temptations, lusts and corruptions. Consider this; if you were an investor and had the money to spend to increase your wealth, would you invest in something that you KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt is broken? Of course you wouldn’t. Well, the world is that broken system and it’s failure is imminent. Do you invest in it, or do you invest your eternal life in what you KNOW is a sure thing!
Those that love this world will follow the things of this world, and those that Love God will abide with Him forever! Just as a closing point of historical and Bible trivia, concerning abiding in God, the late, great D. L. Moody, a greatly loved and respected Evangelist, has inscribed on his tombstone, “He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”**