Don’t Love the World
1 John 2:15-17 ESV
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
If we love God with this kind of love we prefer what he prefers. And he prefers what is holy, righteous, godly, morally pure, honest, faithful, and obedient to him and to his word. We choose his choices. And he chooses for us to die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. We prefer to live through Christ, to have Christ live his life through us, and for us to actively be doing his will by his power and in his strength and wisdom.
But if we love the world – which is godless and immoral in character – with this kind of love, then we are preferring the world over God. We are preferring the things of this world and we are choosing the choices of the world which are against God and his choices. For we are giving preference to what is unholy, ungodly, wicked, immoral, impure, dishonest, unfaithful, and disobedient to God and to his word.
Now this is not saying that we should not love the people of this world with the love of God, which is still preferring what God prefers. We should. We are to show them God’s love and grace by how we live our lives, and by ministering God’s love and grace to them, and by sharing with them the gospel of our salvation which can save their souls from hell and which can give them new lives free from the control of sin, and free to please God.
But we are not to prefer nor to join in with nor to desire the attitudes, the philosophies, the nature, the character, the behaviors, and the thinking of this sinful world. We are not to take on the world’s sinful character and behaviors. We are not to desire the lusts of the flesh and the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life which are not from God but from the world. For, it is whoever is doing the will of God who has eternal life with God.
Yet, many professing Christians today are preferring the world and its philosophies, attitudes and behaviors over preferring God and his righteousness. They will invite Jesus into their lives while they still maintain control over their own lives, and on their terms, not on God’s terms. For, they have decided that they can believe in Jesus, and that Jesus will give them his salvation, but that it does not require any action on their part.
They believe that they can still hold on to their old lives of living for sin and self and that Jesus/God will just accept them as they are, and welcome them into his family, and that when they die they will go to heaven. For, this is what they are being taught. They are being taught that Jesus/God does everything for them and that nothing is required of them. So, they want everything he has to give while they refuse to surrender to him in return.
They want Jesus to follow them where they go and to approve of their lives. They want Jesus to embrace their chosen lifestyles rather than for them to embrace his will for their lives. And they want Jesus to stay with them and to give them all his promises and to never leave them even though they desert him, and they deny him, and they refuse to listen to him and to obey him and to turn away from their sins and to honor him as Lord.
Do You Want Jesus?
Luke 9:23-25 ESV
“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?’”
The Christian life is not all about what Jesus can do for us while we sit back and do nothing. Nonetheless, we cannot earn or deserve our own salvation by our fleshly works, even good works. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws us to Christ. And even the faith to believe in Jesus is authored and perfected by Jesus, and it is gifted to us by God. It is not of ourselves lest we should boast that we did it.
But that doesn’t mean we do nothing and that God does it all. For, if our faith comes from God, and if we are persuaded of God to believe in Jesus, and if our faith is perfected by Jesus Christ, then our faith is going to conform to God’s will and purpose for our lives. Our faith is going to prefer what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, godly, morally pure, honest, faithful, repentant, and obedient to him and to his word.
God’s plan of salvation for us was not just to forgive us our sins so that we could escape hell and so that we could go to heaven when we die. His plan and what he accomplished on that cross for us was our deliverance from our slavery (addiction, bondage) to sin so that we could now be slaves of God and of his righteousness, in his power and strength. For, Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.
So, if we are going to believe in him to be our Lord and Savior, this does not take place by us inviting the Lord into our present lives on our terms. We must deny self and daily die with Christ to sin and to self. And we must follow Jesus in obedience to his commands (New Covenant) as a matter of practice, of life course. But this doesn’t mean we will never sin again, but that sin no longer has mastery over our lives. Jesus is our only Lord.
We are not to be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God so that by our lives we can discern what is the will of God for our lives. The world is to be crucified to us and us to the world. We once followed the course of this world when we followed Satan, and when we were dead in our sins. But that is to be past tense. That should no longer describe how we live presently.
For, God’s grace, which brings us salvation, trains (teaches, instructs) us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus gave himself up for us on that cross to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. His grace does not give us permission to live in habitual sin.
Also, if we are on friendly terms with the world of sin and with its thinking and behaviors then we make ourselves to be enemies of God. We are adulterous people. For, we are to be partakers of the divine nature, not the sin nature, by the blood of Christ shed on a cross for our sins, thus having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For, Jesus died to deliver us from slavery to sin, not to leave us still bound in sin.
[Lu 9:23-25; Jn 15:18-19; Rom 12:2; Gal 6:14; Eph 2:1-3; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 4:4; 2 Pet 1:3-4; 1 Jn 2:15-17; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 1 Pet 2:24]
I Surrender All
Hymn lyrics by Judson W. Van De Venter, 1896
Music by Winfield S. Weeden, 1896
… Lo, we have left all, and have followed Thee. (Mark 10:28)
All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow;
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me, Jesus, take me now.
I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
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