Love Not the World

by Spiros Zodhiates

"Do not be in love with the world nor the things of the world. If one loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15 AT).

Believers are commanded not to love the world. The verb "love" is agapte, the present imperative of agapo\, to love. It means to be in constant love. Hence the translation, "Do not be in love with the world." The negative "not," me, is conditional, relative, and subjective, but not objective (which would be ou).

In this instance, agapo\ means to delight in and prefer the world rather than the Lord (cf. Luke 11:43; John 3:16; Heb. 1:9; Rev. 12:11). Here John is writing to Christians, to whom the world presents a great temptation. Unbelievers delight in the world. Believers may either compromise with the world or totally reject it. Their attitude toward the world is affected by the intensity of their relationship with God in Christ (cf. John 12:25; 18:36; 1 Cor. 5:10; Eph. 2:7; 1 John 4:17).

"Nor love [let your delight be in] the things of the world." The greater a believer's attachment to Jesus Christ, the clearer is his understanding of the things that are of the world. Being in the world is not an excuse for delighting in the things of the world. Jesus was in the world, but He did not delight in the things of the world.

There is a tug of war in the heart and life of the believer between his delight in worldly things and his love for God. As love for God increases, love for the world decreases; and the greater the enjoyment of the world by the believer, the less of God's love is felt and enjoyed. It is like a scale, with one side lowering as the other rises. One cannot have two masters, for he will love the one and hate the other (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13). The things of the world are specifically named in verse 16.

A Christian cannot live in total isolation from the world (John 17:11–16), but it is possible for believers to live in the world victoriously (John 16:33; Rom. 8:37; 12:21; 1 John 2:13-14; 4:4; 5:4; Rev. 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21). The safest way to counter the attraction of the world is to maintain a close fellowship with the Lord, His people, His Word, and His work.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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