Not of the World

Many times, the Bible talks about the world.  The word “world” can have different meanings.  It can mean the earth, this planet that we all live on.  But it can also mean mankind and human affairs, especially that which is in opposition to God.  Perhaps this is how it is used in John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”  God so loved the world, the people on the earth, that He sent His Son so that these people might be saved.  

Genuine Christians are not of this world.  Jesus was praying to the Father about His disciples in John 17:14-16 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”  We are not of the world.  Although we live our lives among people who are sinners and separated from God, we are not a part of what they do.  We worship God; we have been saved by Jesus; our mind is on heavenly things.  Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”  These verses describe what we should be like – what the grace of God teaches us to be.  We should be very different from those that are in the world.

The world is under the sway of the devil.  1 John 5:19 “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”  Those who are a friend of the world and the ways of the world are enemies of God.  James 4:4 “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”  Philippians 3:18-20 “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things.  For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  We should see ourselves as aliens here, not of this world, because we are citizens of heaven.

Jesus came as the light of the world.  John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’”  John 3:19-20 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”  Most people of the world prefer darkness rather than the light of Jesus.

We all once walked according to the course of this world.  Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” But once you were saved, you should no longer conform to this world but instead be transformed.  Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

As a transformed Christian, your values should be different.  Do not have a love for the world.  1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or 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, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”  Instead of loving the world, you will want to do the will of God so that you can live forever.

As Christians, there is a battle that we are each engaged in.  The world and the ways of the world can tempt us to follow the world.  But since the world will be condemned, we choose to overcome the world.  How do we overcome the world?  Through faith.  1 John 5:4-5 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.  Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”  Because of our faith, we seek to do the will of the Father and separate ourselves from the ways of the world. I encourage you to not be conformed to the world.  Although we all live in the world, I encourage you to see yourself as a citizen of heaven and that you are not of the world.

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