I John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
John 3:16 declares:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
In our text we are told not to love the world. What is going on here? The context helps us to see what is going on. In John 3:16 God loves the people of the world. Jesus has been talking to Nicodemus and he told him that a person must be born again to see and enter the kingdom of God. The entire context of John 3 is about people and their need to be saved.
In I John 2:15 the context is to things. I John 2 begins with the need to be truthful. Christians cannot claim to know God if they do not keep His commandments. There will be evidence of the changed heart in the person who is genuinely saved. A true Christian cannot hide the change that God makes in the heart. A true Christian will not want to hide the fact that they have been saved. There is a joy that God brings to the heart of the true child of God.
The verses we are looking at today clearly speak of the material and physical world. The context deals with the philosophies and the things of the world. Those who love this world’s system and the things of this world, do not have the love of the Father in them. We have been directed to examine our relationship to God as well as to other believers in the previous verses. If we substitute our relationship with God and with other believers, for the things of this world, we are obviously not being led by God.
Verse 16 lists the three things that are the problem for us as people. The first is the lust of the flesh. The advertising of our world is all about comforts. It is all about inordinate affection for things that will make us feel and look good. There are places to go for a pedicure and for getting makeup put on or for a body massage or for a new hairdo, etc. There are fashions for just about every taste. It is hard to find modest clothing these days, but all the worldly immodest fashions are readily available. There are fancy restaurants to go to and exotic places to see, etc. The advertisement is all about the desires of the flesh. It is common for the flesh to want to be pampered. The lust for that is not of God.
The second aspect is the lust of the eyes. Christians need to retrain their eyes. Job said this:
Job 31:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
Job was a married man. His wife was not very supportive of him in his sufferings. However, he was a married man. He had no excuse for being unfaithful to his wife. That was his wife for life. Achan coveted the silver and gold and fine apparel of the rich people in Jericho. God had declared that all the possessions of Jericho belonged to Him. No one was to take anything from that city for themselves. David did not go off to war when the armies of Israel did. He could not sleep and he went up on his rooftop in the night. He could see a woman bathing herself on her rooftop not too far from his palace. He was a married man. He had more than one wife already. He should have turned around and gone back into his house and left that situation alone. Instead he inquired about the woman. He found out who she was and had her brought to him. He committed adultery with her and should have been stoned to death for this sin. God spared him that judgment, but David faced other grief because he did not deal with the lust of his eyes. There are many ways that we get into trouble because we do not discipline ourselves regarding our eyes.
The third aspect is the pride of life. Pride is a wicked thing. It is something that every person needs to address. There are too many people who achieve some type of prominence in life who assume they are special and that is why they arrived at such a place and others did not. The apostle Paul wrote that he was given a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him humble. God knew he needed that in order for him to be an effective apostle. Boasting has no place in the Christian life.
The solution to all three of these sins is salvation first of all. Then we need to be taught how to deal with our desires in a righteous manner. Lost people are governed by the flesh. Lost people want to be seen and acknowledged. Lost people express their pride in different ways, but it is all wrong. We do not have anything to boast about. Many people rewrite God’s Word to suit their sinful nature. They find ways to justify their twisted way of thinking. That is the expression of pride.
God tells us in these verses that the love of the world is not of God. God does not lead anyone to follow these sins. These things are the result of listening to the devil. He deceived Eve with these things in Genesis 3. Adam willingly chose to entertain all three of these sins even though he knew better. He was too proud to admit his sin when confronted by his Creator, God. Eve also refused to take responsibility for her sin. Adam faced the severest punishment there because he knew what was right and chose to ignore that.
In our text, God tells us that the world passes away. This world is not for ever. Lost people only have this world to think about. They try to figure out how they can preserve this world for their own pleasure. As they are pre-occupied with this, they are the greater spoilers of this world. Saved people do not live for this world, but they understand the importance of good stewardship of the resources that God has given to us.
Those who live for this world, are disappointed now while they live here. They will also be disappointed and shocked when they leave this world and find out they do not have a home in heaven. It is foolish to invest your time and energies into this world and reject the need to put God’s will and ways first.
John wrote that the person who does the will of God abideth for ever. It is important to invest in that which has eternal benefits. We cannot take anything we have here with us. Even the things that are put into the coffin with the dead person, stay right there. They decay and become worthless. The soul lives on. It is wise to be sure that your soul is redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. That will bring your soul to heaven at death. Your earthly body will rot and turn back to dust; however, for the saved, your body will be resurrected to a new body and your soul will be reunited with that new body and you will be with the Lord forever. For those who are lost, your body will be resurrected and your soul will be reunited with your body but you will face eternity in the lake of fire.
God wants each person to know Him and be prepared to enter Heaven’s glory one day soon. Build your life on the truth and be blessed now and into eternity.