Friday, November 13, 2015

What Does "Do Not Love the World" Mean?

On Not Loving the World
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[d] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

In keeping with the last verse and in the context of the chapter, John tells the believers, "Do not love the world or anything in it." It would be easy to misconstrue this passage if the context of why John is writing is not remembered. He is confronting false teachers who say God can't dwell in the flesh, so our sinful nature is eliminated. Therefore, you can go and do whatever you want because it really doesn't matter anymore.

We see that the word "world" or "cosmos" in the Greek can mean three things. One, it can mean the physical world God created. God is not referring to his "good" Creation here. Second, the world is made up of all the people in the world. Like John 3:16 where he says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son". Clearly this is not what he is telling them not to love. But there is a third meaning, which refers to the world where lust, pride and idolatry dominate. This is the world that entices us to indulge in our sinful nature. This love of the world takes over our love of God. This is similar to when Luke says in 16:13, ""No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

And in the end misplacing our love leads to grave consequences. If all we invest in is the love of the world and it's fleeting pleasures, we must remember that it is all going to pass away. What a travesty it would be to get to the end of one's life only to realize that all you have lived for is in vain. But God has a more purposeful and meaningful plan for our lives. As we love God, he guides us into His mission which will have dividends for all eternity. God's gift of grace saves us from sin, but we can still choose to love God or the things of this world. As we are guided by the Holy Spirit, who will lead us into all truth, we can invest our lives in things that will last forever.

God still loves the world in the best sense of the world and we should too.

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