1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves 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 boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts. But the one who does the will of God abides forever.”
God is a God of perfect love and His love is a theme throughout all of Scripture. God’s love is manifest in common grace and it’s manifest in redemptive grace.
But because God loves perfectly, He also hates perfectly. The two are actually inseparable. If you love something, you hate whatever threatens that something. The more your affection for what is right, the more your disaffection for what is wrong. Psalm 97:10 says, “Hate evil, you who love the Lord.” Our love for righteousness therefore makes us hate sin.
It was God’s love manifest in Jesus Christ for what was right that made Jesus make a whip and cleanse the temple. The psalmist said, “I love Your Law, but I hate those that are double-minded. I love Your Law, but I hate those people who vacillate, sometimes showing affection for Your Law and sometimes not.” Psalm 119 again, verse 128 says, “I esteem all Your precepts so I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:163, toward the end of the chapter, “I hate and despise falsehood, I love Your Law.”
We love imperfectly and hate imperfectly, but nonetheless it reflects a shadow of what we see in the perfection of God. Proverbs 6 verse 16 says there are six things, which the Lord hates, yes seven, which are an abomination to Him.
16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
For the purpose of this article we are not going into the detail for now.
Pride is listed first because it really is at the fountain of all kinds of sin. All kinds of sin no matter what the sin is reflect pride, attitude of disobedience and rebellion against God’s Law. Isaiah 2:11 says, “The proud look of man will be abased and the loftiness of man will be humbled and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” God is going to bring about a judgment day to all who are proud.
But here is another thing God hates. GOD HATES THE WORLD and He hates those who love the world. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
John says, “If you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you.” So that constitutes a clear delineation. Somebody who loves the world is not a believer and does not possess the love of God. Christians are marked by love but it’s the love of others and it’s not the love of the world. This sets them aside from false Christians.
Look at 1 John chapter 4, verse 5. “They…referring to those outside the Kingdom…they are from the world, therefore they speak as from the world and the world listens to them.” The world recognizes its own language, it recognizes its own conversation. It identifies with them. Verse 6, “We are from God. He who knows God listens to us.” You’re either of the world or of God. You either speak the world’s philosophy or the Word of God. If you’re a Christian, you’ve been delivered from the world.
Turn to chapter 5 of 1 John verse 4. “Whatever, or whoever is born of God overcomes the world.” We literally overcome the world. How? “This is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith. And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” You have moved from loving the world to loving the Lord. They are mutually exclusive realities.
In John 15:19 Jesus said, “If you are of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” You don’t listen to the world. You don’t identify with the world. You’ve literally been separated from the world. It’s more than a separation.
In Galatians 6: 14 Paul says, “May it never be that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” The world is dead to me and I am dead to the world. In Ephesians 2:2 Paul says, “You formerly walked according to the course of this world, you used to love the world, you used to be alive to the world, you used to walk according to the course of the world, formerly…no more. According to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that’s now working in the sons of disobedience, among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature children of wrath even as everybody else.” We used to be like that. We used to be in the world, of the world, loved the world, listened to the world, the world identified with us, the world accepted us. No more.
In James 4:4 we read, “… Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
We are Christians because we have a manifest pattern of obedience in our lives and a manifest love for others that reflects the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. So if you say we do not love the world, what are you saying? Are we talking about the created order and the physical world or are we talking about the human world?
No, neither of those are in view here. God even looked on His creation and said it was good and even in its fallen condition, it still reflects His glory to the degree that it should lead us to give Him praise. In fact, we should love this created world for what it is, a reflection of the glory of God. It is absolutely staggering to understand the majesty and the glory and the wonder of God in the created order.
Secondly, we’re not talking about people. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” This does not refer to the inanimate world, it is the human world. That’s why He became the propitiation for our sins.
Well then if it’s not the created world, and it’s not the human world, the only thing left is the invisible spiritual system of evil which we should not love. It is the order that is run by Satan, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience, the one who leads the course of this world. It is that evil order with all of its elements and all of its components that work against the things of God. This is the system that is run by the enemy.It is Satan’s system that opposes God. “We know that we are of God and the whole world lies in the evil one.”
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, test the spirits to see whether they’re from God for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The system of evil is just loaded with false prophets, the purveyors of anti-God teaching. “By this you know the Spirit of God.” “And every spirit that doesn’t confess Jesus is not from God, this is the spirit of the Antichrist of which you have heard that it is coming and now it is already in the world.”
Jesus calls Satan the prince of the power of the air, the prince of this world. Ephesians 6:11 and 12 says that Satan has his demons, his evil spirits, principalities and powers working in this evil system. And Satan involves all the unregenerate as children of disobedience in the system. Jesus calls the unconverted, Luke 16:8, “Children of the world, offspring of the world.” But that’s not us. Our citizenship, Philippians 3:20, is in heaven.
This does not mean that we do not get tempted some times by things in the world, material things, lustful things. It does not mean that we are not allured by our own pride and self-interest. While it is true that we have literally died to the world, it is also true that we can find it still alluring and find ourselves being tempted to draw back into it.
The moment you became saved, you became dead to the world because the world is a system that opposes that reality. We hate that system. It does not mean I hate people. Down in the depths of my being, the truest and purest expression of my redeemed soul is that I hate what opposes my Lord. Sometimes we even feel as if we want to make a whip and clean out the places. You hate that which misrepresents God and misrepresents the Lord Jesus Christ.
The prevailing anti-Christ mentality, whether it’s Islam or Buddhism, or Atheism, aberrant forms of Christianity, you name it, whatever it is, the common denominator is that it contains a misrepresentation of Jesus Christ and the glories of salvation and it is purveyed by an endless line of false prophets.
This does not say we cannot enjoy everything that God has provided for us in this world. You should. It also doen not say that we should disdain the people of the world, you should love them the way God loves them. In fact, in Matthew the Lord Himself said, “You are to love your enemies, you are to do good to those who hate you and persecute you and thereby demonstrate that you are the children of your Father.”
Can you be a Christian and stay in a false religious system? In every false belief system on the planet there is operating the spirit of anti-Christ and God does not reward people for functioning in an anti-Christ system. That was settled when you became a believer.
“So don’t marvel, brethren, if the world hates you.” Don’t be surprised. Expect it. They hated Jesus, they’re going to hate those who hold His name high. The world will not listen to us. The whole system is just damning people. Jesus said, “I’m going to send the Holy Spirit,” John 14:17, “but the world can’t receive Him.” He said in John 17:9 to His Father, “I do not pray for the world.”
Very important though, when we say we are dead to the world, it is not to say we do not sin. What it actually means is that we hate the anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-Scripture systems that are infected with the lies of Satan. When you determined by the wonderful working of God in your heart that you were going to love the Lord Jesus Christ, you therefore hate all anti-Christ spirits. You will still stumble and carnal ambition, personal pride and greed will still get in your way. There will be sins of all varying kinds that will occur in the lives of believers. You will be unkind, unloving, and unfair and all of those things are part of flesh. But as a Christian, that is different than embracing the ordered system of anti-Christ evil.
In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul is actually saying that we walk in the flesh, not in the sense of carnality, but as humans. But we do not make war according to the flesh. We are engaged in a spiritual war, it is the Kingdom of God against the kingdom of darkness. It is Christ against Anti-Christ. This is a massive battle. And the weapons to fight the battle with are not human but divinely powerful, mighty unto God.
The Anti-Christ system is pictured as many fortresses. It includes speculations, ideas, and ideologies, systems of belief, philosophy, psychology, and theories. We are destroying all these systems. That is every proud expression of thought raised up against the knowledge of God. And our task is to destroy those anti-God fortresses. “Take every thought and bring it captive to the obedience of Christ.”