Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

A Matter of the Heart

Meditation for the week of September 26, 2010

1 John 2:15-16 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.

John is black and white when it comes to salvation.  A person who is saved, keeps the commandments, walks in the light, does not sin, and does not love the world.  I wonder how he would view most of us today? 

When we confess our sins we are keeping the commandments.  We keep or guard the truth even when it condemns us.  But we keep them instead of throwing them away like we would the garbage.   A person who is saved walks in the light and shows it by loving his brother.  He may not always like his brother, but he cannot be like Cain who hated his brother and murdered him.  A person who is saved does not sin as defined by John.  He believes in the Lord and He loves his brother as commanded in 1 John 3:23.  Those are the characteristics of the saved and those are commands that we do, we don’t just try to do them.  And if there is some failure. we confess our sin in that area and in that way keep those commands as the guide in our life and as the basis for our fellowship with God and with one another.  I actually think that John is saying that we might not always act like we are “born again” but once we are the wicked one cannot touch us.  That is, in our heart of hearts we will always believe in the Lord and love our brother.

But what about this matter of loving the world?  The world is the the society that has been organized by Satan.  It is the society that crucified the Lord.  It is the society that murders those who believe in the Lord even yet today.  It is the society of unbelievers.  Some of the world is vicious and cruel.   We have no problem being separate from that part of the world.  But what about that part of the world that appeals to us?  That part of the  world knows how to suck us in with the lust or appetites of the flesh (desires with which we are born).  It also knows how to suck us in with the lusts or temptations that come from what we see  (things we wouldn’t want if we hadn’t seen them somewhere).  It also knows how to appeal to our desire for importance and honor.  The pride of life or boasting is not the character of one who demonstrates God’s love by not parading himself or singing his own praises (God’s Word,1 Corinthians 13:4).

The unbelieving society or world is in conflict with the church.  The church is the society of believers in the Lord that God has on this earth where the Lord is the head and where that order is shown symbolically and practically (see 1 Corinthians 11).  It is the place of fellowship, protection, teaching and encouragement for those who see themselves as strangers and pilgrims just passing through this world (1 Peter 2:11).  The church is not the world reformed, it is distinct from the world.  The world cannot be reformed, all we can do with it is to come out from it and be separate so that the the Lord can be the father to us that he wants to be (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).

I wonder how John who sees things as either black or white would view us and our churches today?  Would he see us as loving the world or as being separate from it?  Would he see the present day church as thinking like the world or would he see us as having been corrupted by the thinking of the world?   Would he see our present day churches as alternatives to the world or as being so culturally relevant that they are just like the world?   Do the things of the world motivate us, or is it serving the Lord that does that for us?

According to John, a real “born again” Christian does not love the world.  He doesn’t belong in the world, he is a square peg in a round hole.  This is a sobering thought, because I believe John was divinely inspired when he said that if we love the world the love of the father is not in us.   

Bruce Collins

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