Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Monday, March 5, 2012

1 John 2:15-17, Loving the World

1 John 2:15–17
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.

In Ch 2, prior to these three verses, we find that John has been writing to people who enjoyed fellowship with God and who loved their brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, he gives these folks a stern warning. 

The word for "world" has already appeared in vs 2 of this chapter and sets the context for this short passage. John usually uses "world" to denote "mankind in united rebellion against God" as a general term to describe the fallen world we live in and those who do not follow Christ (1 Jn 5:19, Jn 12:31, 14:30). So, it should be clear that John is speaking of a world that opposes God and is tempted to sin. Yet, God loves this world, these people who oppose Him, enough to send His Son to die for them (Jn 3:16). 

Although God loves the world, and believers are called to love the people in the world, we are not called to love, accept or embrace their opposition to God. This becomes more clear as we read v 15 and then 16. The word for love denotes a godly type of love. While faithful followers are called to show godly love to the lost, they are not called to show agape for the things the world has to offer that would drag a believer down; "..lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life." Thus, we are to love the sinner, but reject the sin. 

Why? Because there will be a day when all this world has to offer will no longer be (v 17). The path to eternal life with God is in expressing His love for the lost, as He did, while rejecting those things that separate us from Him. 

What can the church learn from this? While we cannot abide by actions and behavior that are clearly defined as sin by the Scriptures, we must not allow ourselves to degenerate into the type of judgmental attitudes and condemnational behavior the world indulges itself in. We love the sinner, avoid the sin and leave judgment and conviction up to God. 

These three verses would be well applied to the current climate of political/social issues that burden the church and can, sometimes, cause the body of Christ to act worldly even as the sit in judgment of worldly behavior. The world is, indeed, in His hands. We are not administrators of His judgment, we are messengers of His love.

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