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.”
We Are Married to Christ
Prior to me getting into this passage of Scripture, the Lord put in mind the song, “Dwelling in Beulah Land.” Now the word “Beulah” literally means “Thou art married.” And, it is often considered a symbol of our heavenly dwelling with our husband, Jesus Christ. We are his bride, and he is our husband. And “Beulah” is found in Isaiah 62:4, which says, “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.”
Now, when we get married to our spouses, what should that look like? We are supposed to forsake all others and be faithful to our spouses. The man is to leave his mother and father and cleave (cling to) his wife, and the two are to become one flesh, not just sexually, but spiritually, too. We are to be united as one, with Christ as our head (King, Lord, Master), and we are not to be united anymore with anyone in the same way as we are now united with each other.
Well, that is what it is supposed to look like when we believe in Jesus. For we marry Christ when we put our faith in him, and he becomes our husband and we become his bride. And we are to become one with him in every way other than physically, obviously, though our bodies are to be surrendered to him and we are to now honor God with our bodies, which should also be under his Lordship. Our bodies should no longer be given over to immorality but we should now walk in moral purity in faithfulness to our Lord.
So, when we marry Christ, by faith in him, we leave our old single lives behind us, i.e. we leave our lives of living in sin and for self to now unite with the Lord in heart and mind. And now we follow him in his ways according to his commands, and our desire is for him to please him in every way, and it is no longer to be to love (prefer) the things of this sinful world. For the desires (lusts, passions) of the flesh, and of the eyes, and the pride of life are now to be in our past, not in our present reality.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13]
Dwelling with Christ
The place where we dwell is the place where we live. It can be a physical dwelling such as a house or an apartment, or it can be a spiritual place where we live. Now where we live is not just a physical or spiritual status, for living has to do with being, existing, staying, and remaining. It is who we are in character and in thinking, believing, and behaving, as well as in our speaking. Living has to do with all that we are and do and think and speak on a day in and day out basis. It is how we walk (in conduct, in practice).
So, if we are dwelling in Beulah Land, that means that we are living in a marriage relationship with Jesus Christ in all that we are and do and think and speak, etc. And we are to think of our relationship with him in these terms. We don’t just “get saved” and then one day we die and we go to heaven, any more than we “get married” and then one day we die and we part ways with our spouses then. Marriage is to be forever and it is to be a continual uniting of minds, hearts, and bodies as one, who are one with Christ. And our marriage to Christ is to be along those same lines.
Do Not Love the World
So, when this passage says for us to not love the world or the things in the world of sin, this is like saying to a newly married couple, “Don’t commit adultery against your spouse, but be faithful in all ways to your spouse unto the day that one of you dies. Remain committed to one another, seeking the good of the other always unto the very end, through thick and through thin, through bad times and good times, always remaining faithful and loving and kind, always growing together in love one for the other until the end.
This is what the Scriptures teach our relationship with Jesus Christ should look like, too. Now Jesus, being that he is God, will always be faithful in all that he is and has said he would do. But please know that with his promises come stipulations (conditions). For not everyone who says to Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” is going to enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one doing the will of God the Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21-23). So we are called upon to be faithful to him, as well, in all that we do, and until the very end, as well. We can’t just name it and claim it. We have to live what we profess.
[Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24]
So, we must know here that if we love (prefer) the things of this sinful world in place of or over and above loving (preferring) our Lord Jesus in all that we are and do and say, that the love of the Father is not in us. Did you hear that? We can’t live like the world and do whatever we want to do and be dwelling in Christ (in Beulah Land). Dwelling in Beulah Land is not just a position we hold by some confession of Christ as Savior. It is walking according to the Spirit and no longer walking according to the flesh.
Dwelling In Beulah Land
By C Austin Miles (1911)
Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is falling;
Then I know the sins of earth beset on every hand;
Doubt and fear and things of earth in vain to me are calling;
None of these shall move me from Beulah Land.
Far below the storm of doubt upon the world is beating,
Sons of men in battle long the enemy withstand;
Safe am I within the castle of God’s word retreating,
Nothing there can reach me, ’tis Beulah Land.
Let the stormy breezes blow, their cry cannot alarm me;
I am safely sheltered here, protected by God’s hand;
Here the sun is always shining, nothing there can harm me;
I am safe forever in Beulah Land.
Viewing here the works of God, I sink in contemplation;
Hearing now His blessed voice, I see the way He planned;
Dwelling in the Spirit, here I learn of full salvation,
Gladly I will tarry in Beulah Land.
I’m living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky,
I’m drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry;
Oh, yes! I’m feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply,
For I am dwelling in Beulah Land.
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