1 John 2:15-16, “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. 16 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.”
The New Testament regards the life of a Christian as a life lived in tension between the already and not yet of the Kingdom. All true believers, on the one hand, have had their lives renewed by the Holy Spirit. In our last study, we saw how John speaks of this reality by reminding us that all Christians know God, have had their sins forgiven, and have overcome the evil one (1 John 2:12-14).
The Christian has a new life that enables them through the Holy Spirit to resist sin. The tension then, of the Christian life, resides in how the presence of sin has not been eliminated entirely. Christians have the ability to resist temptation but will not do so perfectly everytime. The Lord has granted us a role to play in our perseverance, and so we need to take this very seriously as the danger’s of sin are grave. 1 John 2:15-16 speaks to this dire warning. John, having given assurance to his readers, not to take their salvation for granted, teaches them, that if they love the world, the love of the Father is not in them (1 John 2:15).
When John speaks of the world here in 1 John 2:15 he is not referring to nature or human beings. Instead, he is speaking of the world system that sets itself in opposition to the Kingdom of God. John Calvin explains the “world” in 1 John 2:15-16 is “everything connected with the present life, apart from the kingdom of God and the hope of eternal life.”
Christians are to love the created other, along with fellow human beings created in the image and likeness and God. Christians are not to love the world system though that sets itself up in opposition to the Kingdom of God. Christians also do not withdraw themselves from society, even as they are not to love the very things the evil world system values and loves. Included in this is the desire of the eyes and the flesh, and taking pride in one’s possessions (1 John 2:16). Christians are to care for other human beings who are in bondage to lust, materialism, personal power, and a host of other sins that oppose the will of God. With that said, we must make sure that our affections are never set on what is in the world, but train our new affections by reading, studying, hearing, and meditating on Scripture, lest we become opposed to God ourselves.
We may be quick as evangelical Christians to oppose rampant immorality and justly so. With that said, it is often easy for us to become overly eager to possess certain things and make wealth an idol. We must not consider buying and selling evil, but we must be aware of the danger of materialism. Today, ask the Lord to guard your heart and mind against materialism. Pray and ask the Lord to send you friends to hold you accountable for how you use your time, talent, resources, and where your life is headed.