1 John 2:15-17: “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.
Today much emphasis is placed on the attachment for this world. More and more it is the case that the church no longer separates itself from the world, but professes an open attachment and love for it. Churches tolerate and even promote worldliness, while the love of the things of God fail. Such things as divorce and remarriage, union membership, and movie attendance are approved even in the Reformed community of churches. It is not uncommon to see church participation in the social causes of this world. And these things have an appeal to our flesh. But John severely condemns this modern spirit in the church when he says, “Love not the world, neither the things in the world.”
The world to which John refers is the world as it develops in sin with fallen man at its head. It includes all things in this world from the spiritual-ethical viewpoint of their subjection to sin. That world, says John, is a world full of lusts. Fallen man, standing in enmity against God, creates a world of lusts. Rather than loving God and serving Him with all things of this creation, man hates God and subjects all things to the service of his own pleasure, enrichment and praise.
This results in a world of lusts. There are the lusts of the flesh, the most carnal lusts — adultery, murder, drunkenness, and all kinds of immorality. There are the lusts of the eyes and the higher senses. To satisfy these lusts man has created worldly art, movies, literature, science and worldly clothes. And these lusts stand in the service of man’s pride of life. In this natural, earthly life man has made himself the goal of all that he does. He subjects all things to serve the glory, honor and well-being of man. The world seeks not the glory and honor of God, but man’s excellence and glory. This present creation as it is characterized by sin with fallen man at its head is a world of lusts and man’s pride of life. There is nothing else in it. No good is in it at all!
Therefore, covenant youth, who have the love of God shed abroad in your hearts, you must not love this world. You must not seek its lusts. You cannot allow– yourselves to be yoked in fellowship with it in any sense. For everything in the world is of the world and not of God, and if you love what is of the world, you love the world, not your Father! The love of this world excludes in every respect the love of the Father. A love it is that leads to life eternal.
Remember, young people, the world and all of its lusts passes away. Even now it proceeds to its destruction. The wicked world with man at its head is the object of God’s wrath. God’s wrath destroys! And any who love and trust that which perishes likewise perish! But they who do the will of the Father abide forever. They do not belong to the world that perishes, but to the world of God’s eternal love in Christ. As God in Christ has shed His love abroad in your hearts, covenant youth, do the will of your Father and love not the world.
Beloved readers, this means that when the appeal is made to you to embrace your “calling” to join hands in approving this world as much as possible; when the appeal is made to you to attend movies for art’s sake; when the appeal is made to you to exercise tolerance and “love” for your fellow- citizen, lest you offend; when you are invited to try dancing as an art form you are not deceived. Our calling is love not this world in any sense. And this does not mean that we take a neutral attitude toward that world. This is impossible; we either hate it, or we love it! Rather, we must love God and seek His righteousness in all things, and antithetically firmly oppose all that is of this world. We pray that God may grant us the grace to maintain this calling in this age of worldliness.