“Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle – is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lusts is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
Love the world. Don’t love the world. What?
The John who wrote, “For God so loved the world” is the same John who wrote, “Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world.” Sounds just a little contradictory, doesn’t it? It may sound that way, but the reason there is on contradiction lies in how “world” is used or defined.
“World” in John 3:16 is the world of people who are perishing. God loves the world He created and does not want them to go to their destruction. In love for this world God sent His Son so we could have a means of avoiding our destruction.
“World” in 1st John is the realm of evil – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride people have in their lifestyle. Such things are not from God but from the evil one, and that world is passing away. Only those who do the will of God – believing in the Son – will remain forever.
So, we are to love the world as God loves the world. But we are not to love the things of this world, because there is no eternity here. The hope of our calling is a heavenly one.
Lord, Help us to see through all the façade of this world and see the truth of eternity. Amen.