May God help us to be in the world but not of the world; and not to be so wrapped up in the world that we are not interested in Jesus’ coming again. When the trumpet sounds, we’re going home, brothers and sisters. Whatever you’re going through today, it’s only temporary. Tears are for the night, but joy comes in the morning. So hold on. Stay very close to Jesus, until he takes us home and we hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”! Pastor Jim Cymbala
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“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age,…” Galatians 1:4
(To see parts one through three, scroll down to the end of this blog.)
The picture, which is reported to be the largest outdoor mural in the world, is to me a good composite of mankind that Jesus came to rescue. Notice the eyes that are looking to the side as if something has caught his attention. May Jesus catch man’s attention with His love.
Continuing our previous discussing on the corrupting influence of this evil age, God warns us about the world in I John 2: 15-17:
“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 the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
We are commanded not to “love” (agapao) the world nor the things in the world. The Greek word for “love” in this context means “a love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the object loved.” Apostle John was warning some believers to “Stop loving the world with a love called out of your hearts because of its preciousness.”. The verb used, speaks of the act of forbidding the continuance of an action already going on. The world system that God rescued them out of was still precious to them. John was telling them to stop loving the world.
The Greek word for world here is kosmos and is defined by Vincent as follows:
“The sum-total of human life in the ordered world, considered apart from, alienated from, and hostile to God, and of the earthly things which seduce from God.”
Kenneth Wuest says:
“Kosmos refers to an ordered system. Here it is the ordered system of which Satan is the head, his fallen angels and demons are his emissaries, and the unsaved of the human race are his subjects, together with those purposes, pursuits, pleasures, practices, and places where God is not wanted. Much in this world-system is religious, cultured, refined, and intellectual. But it is anti-God and anti-Christ.”
After reviewing the NT scriptures that use the word kosmos I put this composite together:
“Jesus called Satan the “ruler of the world” (John 14:30) and the whole world lies in his power (I John 5:19). All unsaved people are deceived by Satan (Rev 12:9) by his blinding of their minds, (2 Cor 4:4) preventing the light of the gospel from shining in. Therefore the kosmos is a dark spiritual place and a place of bondage. This is why Jesus came as a Light into the kosmos. Ephesians 2:2 tells us there is a “course of this world” which is “according to the prince of the power of the air”, unsaved people behave according to their cravings for things of the world thinking this is the way to true happiness and fulfillment only to find out it is a satanic illusion. They love the world because it is precious to them (II Tim 4:10); have worldly values (I John 4:5) which manifest through their words (Titus 2:12), Paul tells us to avoid worldly and empty chatter (I Tim 6:20) and worldly fables (I Tim 4:7). Jesus said there are “stumbling blocks” (Matt 18:7) in the world.
“Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world (John 18: 36). Jesus chose you, the born again believer, OUT of the world (John 15:19). After discipleship, Jesus sends His disciples back INTO the world (John 17:18) as lights in the world (Phil 2:5). Jesus prayed that the Father would not remove His disciples from the world but protect them from Satan (John 17:5). Believers can be conformed to the world (Rom 12:2, James 1:27) and be defiled by the world (2 Pet 2:20). The “worries of the world” and the “deceitfulness of riches” choke out the word of God in the believer’s heart making him unfruitful in the things of God (Matt 13:22). Disciples will have tribulations in the world but we will overcome the world (I John 5:4, I John 4: 17, John 12:25). The abiding word of God makes believers strong and helps us to overcome Satan (1 John 2: 14) The saints will judge the world in the end times (I Cor 6:2).
In summary, the modern world (kosmos) we live in today exist in the same pernicious age (aion) that Paul and Peter lived in. The moral characteristics of the age will not change until the Lord Jesus establishes His millennial reign on the earth. Technology has leaped forward a thousand fold but the evil moral characteristics of man remain. The predominate religion today is the false religion of works, whether it be works by themselves or mixed with belief in Jesus Christ.
This concludes our study of the world. Next post will explain the remainder of I John 2: 15-17. Hope you will join us again.
May the Holy Spirit search our hearts to show us where we are still considering the world precious. The next post will reveal some characteristics of the world.
“… because everything that has been born of God is constantly coming off victorious over the world. And this is the victory that has come off victorious over the world, our faith. Who is he who is constantly coming off victorious over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
(I John 5: 4-5 Kenneth Wuest Expanded Translation)
“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age….”
(Part One may be found at the end of this blog.)
Has the devil ever taken you “in tow”? This is what the picture represents. Your love for God being “towed” away. Read on to find out what in the world I am talking about.
Apostle Paul says Jesus came to be the substitutionary atonement for our sins. He took our guilt and the penalty the guilt required. One reason He did this was to rescue us from this present pernicious age. Because it is pernicious, this age has a corrupting influence upon the born again believer. Apostle Peter tells us in II Peter 1:4 that God has given to born again believers everything we need to live a godly life and become “partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
The corruption (phthora) that we need to escape is defined in the English dictionary as “to degrade with unsound principles or moral values” and “to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions”. The Greek word means “a bringing or being brought into an inferior or worse condition, a destruction or corruption” (Vines). Some authors refer to the effect of corruption as “inward decay and rottenness”.
In other words, if we are not being led by the indwelling Holy Spirit, the corrupting influence of this age will cause our love for God (expressed in obedience to Him) to become infected with evil passionate cravings resulting in disobedience (sin). Our good morals or Christ likeness begins to rot or decay. Another way to say it, is that our love for God is corrupted by a worldly love that considers something in the world more precious than God.
The effect of the pernicious, corrupting influence of the age is to “carry away” or, as the original language says, “taken in tow”, the believer from his steadfast love for God by “enticing him with his own lust” . This is what James is saying in chapter 1:14:
“But each one is being solicited to sin when he is taken in tow and enticed by his own craving.”
Satan uses the things of this evil, pernicious age to “carry us away” or “take us in tow”. The first thing he does is to get us distracted from God and focused on something in his kingdom (the world) and he hooks us up to his Enticement Wagon, so to speak, so he can “tow” us further down the Road of Distraction where he entices you with things that you crave, i.e. attention, money, fame, power, liquor, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, drugs, rebellion, your way, freedom, etc. And:
“Then when the aforementioned craving has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and this sin when it is full grown brings forth death.” (James 1:15)
It is “conceived” when we give our “will” over to do the enticement. When we say “Yes” to it. Satan knows what our passionate cravings were before we were saved and he will use the same passionate carvings to “entice” us to sin. Plus new ones. I was never a drug user; therefore, he does not tempt me with illegal drugs but he tempts me with other things that were in my life prior to salvation. Let us therefore, if possible, steer clear of areas of the world where we know our past and present temptations exist. Be wise as a serpent but as harmless as a dove.
In Mark 9:50 the Lord Jesus warns the twelve disciples “Have salt in yourselves…” This is an important commandment and we will discuss salt and how it relates to this present evil age in the next blog. Hope you will join me.
Thank you for your time and God bless you and your family.
Don’t be taken in “tow” by Satan. “…be keeping one’s self unspotted from the world” it says in James 1:27. Stay free from the corruption of this age and stay steadfast in your love for God. Let us keep our minds full of the Word of God and our eyes fixed on His purposes in the earth. Let us be led daily by the indwelling, powerful Holy Spirit who He has so graciously made to dwell in us!
Let us pay close attention to ourselves for the purpose of holiness.
If you have been reading this blog, you probably know that “lust” in the Greek New Testament means either good or evil “passionate cravings”. Today we are starting a four part blog on God rescuing us from this present evil age. I thought this picture was appropriate since the Pernicious One (Satan) and our flesh (old sinful nature) want us to follow our evil passionate cravings resulting in enslavement and destruction, ruining our Christian testimony and robbing us of God’s blessings. May this study be a blessing and warning to you as it was to me. Carl
“… Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age…” Galatians 1:4
The Lord Jesus willingly gave Himself on the Cross for our sins. This scripture states that the purpose was to “rescue” us “from this present evil age”. The word translated “rescue” means “to pluck out, to draw out, to rescue, to deliver”. In 1522 Martin Luther referred to this in the preface of the first German language New Testament:
“This gospel of God or New Testament is a great message, good news, sounded forth into all the world by the apostles, telling of a true David who strove with sin, death, and the devil, and overcame them, and thereby RESCUED all those who were captive in sin, afflicted with death, and overpowered by the devil. Without any merit of their own he made them righteous, gave them life, and saved them, so that they were given peace and brought back to God.” (Emphasis mine)
As we will see, the gospel is truly emancipation from bondage. Our opening scripture says He came to rescue us from the ethical characteristics of the present age.
“Age” (aion) is defined as a “period of time” and is sometimes translated “world” in the NT. Here it is defined by its moral characteristics. Trench says the following about it:
“All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale.”
Notice that it is called an “evil” age. The Greek word for this evil is poneros as opposed to kakos. A kakos man is satisfied to perish in his own corruption but a poneros man “is not content unless he is corrupting others as well, and drawing them into the same destruction with himself.” (Wuest). The English word best describing poneros is the word pernicious, “causing great harm or damage often in a way that is not easily seen or noticed”. A perfect description of Satan’ activity. He is known as The Pernicious One. Let us praise God The Father for sending the Lord Jesus to destroy the works of Satan in our lives, setting us free from the dominion of darkness positionally and experientially (I John 3:8 & Col.1:13).
This ends Part I of God’s Rescue of Man. Part 2 will discuss the pernicious influence of the age and the Lord Jesus’ command to “Have salt within yourselves…” .
Thank you for your time and God bless you and your family.
- I found this note while reading Luke 16: 13-15 the other day. As born again believers, the Lord Jesus Christ is to be “Lord” of our lives. The world system, which is controlled by Satan, is continually trying to impose its value system on us. In James 4:4 the Bible tells us that friendship with the world is hostility toward God. He compares it to a wife or husband having an affair thereby being an adulteress. James goes on to say that he who wishes to be a friend of the world is an enemy of God.
Sometimes we are so entangled in the affairs of the world that we do not recognize it for what it is. The kingdom of the enemy of God. May the Holy Spirit show us today if we are in an adulterous affair with some aspect of the world.
In closing, I share Luke 6:46 with you. The scripture that God used to rip the deception off our minds and show us we were lost and bound for hell. The Lord Jesus said “Why do you call me Lord Lord and do not do what I say?
Pay Close Attention To Yourself