1 John 2:17, “The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
Church History sadly records how God’s people have not always taken the call not to love the world seriously (1 John 2:15). During many periods of church history, the Church has been fashioned by the world and has even supported the world’s opposition to the will of God. Within the United States, many denominations supported and also commended slavery during the 18th and 19th centuries. In the 20th century German, professing Christians often endorsed the radical nationalism promoted by the Nazi Party.
Sadly, this is not a trend that has stopped. Instead of biblical preaching and biblical ministry, many church leaders want what is trendy, and innovative according to the best and most sophisticated methods and practices of the world. Or, even, they want modern entertainment with flashy stages, lights, and smoke coming off the sage, rather than the proclamation of the Word of God and the worship of Christ alone. Even more so, churches often get bogged down in programs which are started for good reasons to minister to people but end up usually being little empires that fail to meet the needs of ministering to people.
Now, we don’t have space enough to explore these issues in such a short article, but there is a point to raise them as an example. One of the strongest reasons is we think the world will always exist as it is now. It’s easy to fall into this trap and to look around and think all of this will continue forever. John gives us a powerful reminder in 1 John 2:17 that should wake us up to the dangers of the modern entertainment and innovative church culture that is so prevalent in our day. John states the present evil system that sets itself up in opposition to God is passing away in 1 John 2:17. Therefore, it is foolish, to love the world system because it stands opposed to God and will not last forever.
1 John 2:17 tells us “whoever does the will of God abides forever.” John’s point here is not that obedience causes us to inherit or earn eternal life. John is not preaching the false gospel of belonging before believing. While obedience is an essential aspect of the Christian life, John’s point here is the perfect obedience of Christ, imputed to God’s people by faith provides eternal life for them. God’s people, then demonstrate that obedience has been imputed to them and that they have eternal life, and thus do the will of God as a demonstration of such (James 2:18).
Our world is not improving. That’s not a shocking claim, but the truth is we often fail to see that in our every day lives. John’s reminder is a powerful one, namely, that the new age that began with the coming of Christ will one day be consummated in the new heavens and new earth. Christians do not live for pleasure alone in this life, but are to look forward knowing in the present they are in Christ, and He is theirs, and look to His soon returning. And this is important because Christians are to be conformed daily into the image of Christ through ongoing repentance, and the means of God’s grace. Instead of focusing on storing up treasure here on earth, we should focus on storing up treasures for the Kingdom of God by proclaiming here in the present the glory of Christ to a world that is passing away.
Let me ask you, in conclusion, two questions, “Do you tend to love this world too much?” Also, “Where is your time, talent, and treasure spent?” These questions will reveal where your treasure is. Now pray and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate these areas of your life, and spotlight them, so you may be convicted of your sin, repent, and seek to all the more to store up treasures in heaven by proclaiming here in the present the glory of Christ in and over all of life.