“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. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” (I John 2: 15-17 NASB)
(To access the first four parts of this study scroll down at end of this blog.)
Welcome back. Man has created some lovely cities in the world. The aerial view above of Jakarta is beautiful. Many things in the world are pleasing to the senses of man but are traps of the devil. Today we are continuing our study on Jesus rescuing us from this evil present age. In this post we are looking at I John 2: 15-17 where God warns us about the world (kosmos).
In our last post we discussed the Apostle John’s command that said “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world.” (verse 15a)
John next writes “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”. This is a description of an unsaved person because the Greek experts tell us it is saying more than he just doesn’t love God but that the love of God does not dwell in him as the ruling principle of his life. He is saying that in this person the love of God does not exist. This love (agape) is the love for the Father that the Holy Spirit generates in the heart of the yielded believer. Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:5:
“…because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
This “love of God” is one of the characteristics of a born again believer and is expressed by obedience to Him.
Philo (20 B.C. – 50 A.D.) said “It is impossible for love of the world to coexist with love to God, as it is impossible for light and darkness to coexist.” This person is habitually and continually loving the world and the things in it. This is an unsaved person.
In II Peter 1: 4 the Apostle Peter tells us this corruption from the world comes by lust which here means evil cravings. Today we think of lust as immorality but it just means cravings in the NT and can be good or evil depending on the context. In James 1:14 He tells us “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own craving.”
John continues in I John 2: 16 writing “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.”
The “lust of the flesh” is the passionate desires or cravings of the indwelling sinful nature (the flesh) which govern an individual’s reason, will, and emotions. A Christian’s evil nature died on the Cross with Jesus but still exist within him. It was not eradicated as some teach. Writing to believers, the Apostle John said : “If we say that we have not sinned and are now in a state where we do not sin, a liar we are making Him, and His word is not in us.” (I John 1:9). Therefore, if not reckoned dead by the believer, his old indwelling sinful nature will continue to dominate his life.
One of the manifestations of the evil nature is the “lust of the eyes”. The evil, passionate cravings of the sinful nature that satisfy itself through a person’s eyes. Peter, speaking of false teachers, says they have “eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin…”. In our day we have seen the rise of pornography and the increase in immoral TV shows and commercials that corrupts the person thru the “lust of the eyes”. This is also a portal for the sin of covetousness. We see something someone has and we lust after it.
Another manifestation of the evil nature is the “boastful pride of life” which could be translated “vainglory of life”. This is an insolent and vain assurance in one’s own resources, or in the stability of earthly things, which issues in a contempt for divine law. Thayer defines it as “an insolent and empty assurance which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully desires and violates divine laws and human rights”. Insolent means “showing a rude and arrogant lack of respect”. If you find your prayer life waning or non-existent, check yourself for this misplaced assurance. If we really in our hearts are operating in the “boastful pride of life”, we order our lives in a way that we see no need to request God’s help thru prayer. If this is you, stop right now and repent and ask God to forgive you.
The word “life” (bios) refers to that which sustains life, such as, food, clothing, and shelter.
To pull this together for us, the Wuest Expanded Translation of I John 2: 15-17 says:
“Stop considering the world precious with the result that you love it, and the things in the world. If anyone as a habit of life is considering the world precious and is therefore loving it, there does not exist the love possessed by the Father in him. Because everything which is in the world, the passionate desire of the flesh and the passionate desire of the eyes, and the insolent and empty assurance which trusts in the things that serve the creature life, is not from the Father as a source but is from the world as a source. And the world is being caused to pass away, and its passionate desire. But the one who keeps on habitually doing the will of God abides forever.”
This completes part 4 of this blog. Part 6 will summarize this subject. I hope you will join me for it.
The “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” are from the world and not from God. Let each of us ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and show us where we are ordering our conduct in these characteristics of the world so we can stop doing the will of the world ruler, Satan, and do the will of God. He will do it and bless our obedience to Him!
“…if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been captive by him to do his will.” (II Timothy 2:25 -26)