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Dr. Henry Waiters: Love not the world

Henry Waiters, ThD

“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.
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.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the Will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).

In these verses John exhorts, even commands true believers, the true Church to walk worthy of their high calling and privileges as Christians by not loving the world nor the things in it, that loving the world is incompatible with loving God. The command to “love not” is addressed to all, not one particular class. The World is that organized system which acts as a rival to God. A true believer keeps himself from the world (Jas. 1:27), since friendship with it is enmity with God (Jas. 4:40). The world lies in the lap of the wicked one (1 John 5:19), and John uses the world as a synonym for darkness (John 3:19). The command is not “Love not too much”, but “Love not at all.” Neither the things that are in the world. We must use the things in the world, but when we love them in place of God, or more than God, we abuse their use (1 Cor. 7:31).

If any man love the world, suggests that man supplants God in his affections with the things of the world. It really is the principle of not serving two masters (Matt. 6:24; Jas. 4:4). Since the world is the same as darkness, it must exclude God, who is Light. This is the first reason for not loving the world.

The second reason for not loving the world is that the things of the world are not of the Father. The “Lust of the flesh”, the genitive, flesh, is subjective here, and the meaning is not lust for flesh, but the flesh’s lusts, or those lusts which have their base in the flesh. Flesh used here is in the ethical sense rather than the material or bodily sense, and means the old nature in man, or his capacity to do that which is displeasing to God. “Lust of the eyes.” The eyes are the gate from the world to the flesh. Lust of the flesh, the thought is of physical pleasure; while in lust of the eyes the thought is of mental, physical, or aesthetic pleasure. “price of life,” the word pride occurs elsewhere only in Jas. 4:16, where it is translated “boastings.” The idea in the word is pretentious ostentation which results from not seeing the real emptiness of the things of the world. The pride of life is ostentatious pride in the possession of worldly goods. “Is not of the Father but rather from the world.”

The third reason for not loving the world is that it is transitory. It is passing away . The present tense, a process now going on. “The lust thereof,” the lust which belongs to and is stimulated by the world.

If all this is passing away, how foolish to fix one’s affections on that which is already in the process of dissolution. “But he that doeth.” The true believer is not disturbed. Doeth. Not saith, or even loveth, but doeth the Will of God, which is the opposite of all that is in the world. “Forever.” Doing the Will of God proves the possession of eternal life, which means abiding forever.

Many of the hymn writers reminds us of the here and the hereafter:

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way; while we do His good Will He abides with us still, and with all who will Trust and Obey (J.H. Sammis).

All that I am and have, Thy gifts so free, in joy, in grief, thru life, Dear Lord, for Thee! And when Thy face I see, My ransomed soul shall by, Thru all eternity, something for Thee (S.D. Phelps).

Dr. Waiters can be reached at 704-636-3369.

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