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(Part 83)


December 30, 2013
Today’s reading: 1 John 2:12-17

“Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.” (v.17a). We are in the end times. These are crucial times, because when the Lord returns, then it will be “game over.” We will face judgment. Thus we must be prepared, and that means being in a right situation before God.

What he is saying being very important, John is repetitive. He addresses the whole people of God, of all generations (fathers, young men, children), and tells them the facts. “I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.” (v.12). “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.” (v.13a). “I am writing to you, young men, because you have conquered the evil one.” (v.13b). Here are the facts: your sins have been forgiven, you know Jesus, you have victory in him over the enemy.

But there is a threat. We continue to sin, we continue to marginalize Jesus in our lives, we are constantly assaulted by the evil one. The enemy continues to try to bring us down, to distance us from Jesus, to rob us of our victory. His way is the world and its allurements. John is not referring to the world that God created, which is good. He is referring to all that is hostile to God and is alienated from him. This is the fallen world.

Unfortunately for us, this is the world we live in. What is “all that is in the world” (v.16a)?

  • “sensual lust” (v.16b). This is the lust of the flesh. It is inordinate desire for physical gratification. Today we have a culture of sex and of hedonism. It has led to licentiousness, to corruption, and even such things as gluttony that brings the problem of obesity.
  • “enticement for the eyes” (v.16c). This is the lust of the eyes. It is avarice or covetousness. Today we have a culture of consumerism. People desire to have more and more, even way beyond their own needs. Many go to extremes, desiring what is not theirs, like someone else’s spouse or property.
  • “a pretentious life” (v.16d). This is the pride of life. It is arrogance that reflects a willful independence from God. It is ostentation in one’e lifestyle that opposes the ways of God.

John says pointedly: this “is not from the Father but is from the world.” (v.16e). That is why John was emphatic and insistent and repetitive about what was from God. This is not it. The two are opposed. You cannot serve God and mammon. The world will draw you away from God.

So comes the warning: “Do not love the world or the things of the world.” (v.15a). This is precisely what people love. Do not be among such people. Resist the attraction of a worldly lifestyle. It will not only bring you astray, you can lose everything! God loves you, such love is freely given, but you can lose it. How? “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (v.15b). Notice the either-or. We try to have the both-and. We say we love God, but we also love what the world offers. It cannot be that way. The two are mutually exclusive.

So, before it is too late, because we are in the end times, John reminds us, John warns us. “I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one.” (v.14c). This is who you are. You are strong in the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. You know the scriptures and all God’s prescriptions for proper living. In Jesus the enemy has no power over you. So reject the world and its fallen ways.

We are in the end times. Most people in the world go about their merry way, enjoying their worldly lifestyles, unmindful of the wrath to come. “Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.” (v.17a). The world will end. Death will come. Judgment will follow. What remains? “But whoever does the will of God remains forever.” (v.17b).

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