Live in the world: a warning from John (Part 3)

I have a tendency to hoard. I’m not as a bad as I used to be, because I’ve come to learn one very important lesson: it might come in handy one day, but if I’m not using it now why hold on. Part of this realisation is the worth of materials. Do I really need to keep this box? Do I really need to keep this bit off my car? Do I really need to take up more space?

“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 desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
‭‭> — 1 John‬ ‭2:15-17‬ (‭ESV)

Most people like things that are tangible. There are those who like the metaphysical perspective on things (like me), but I’m not most people. We like information provided by time and space. We like things we can see, hear, touch, smell, and (if you’re like me) taste. We like tangible.

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Live in the world: a warning from John (Part 2)

I love my car. I love my technology and gadgets. I love my food. I love my family. I love my friends. And let’s be honest, I’d struggle if God asked me to give up these things. I would, but it’d be hard. Yet, there are more subtle challenges and temptations as I seek to live in the world.

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 desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
— 1 John 2:15-17 (ESV)

In the previous post, I explored the concept of kosmos—the ’world’—in John. I concluded John understands it to mean that this earthly domain still remains under Satan’s influence. Let’s explore the implications and warnings from John’s words for the Christian who seeks to live by them.

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Live in the world: a warning from John (Part 1)

There are times when I think it would be so much easier to enter a monastary to grow and practice my faith. Shut away from the world, removed from the problems of materialism, and distanced from the trials and temptations of living in the world.

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 desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
— 1 John 2:15–17 (ESV)

Is John promoting a monastic, ascetic lifestyle? Is he calling Christians to retreat from the world, to live in the walls of a monastary, fleeing from the passions and desires of the world? Maybe, but not likely. In the writings of John, his Gospel and letters, the ‘world’ is not simply understood as earthly things.

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Words of encouragement: timeless assurance

I love Joseph. He’s now two years old. My greatest concern is how I will equip Him in life and faith. 10 years ago, this was a distant thought; instead I was challenged by the secularist university around me and how I would live out my faith among my friends and peers. The encouragement and assurance I needed to hear then and the encouragement and assurance I need today are quite different.

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children.
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong.
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

— 1 John 2:12-14 (ESV)

Yet, there are some truths, encouragements and assurances, that remain the same regardless of the state of life we find ourselves. After reminding his readers of the greatest commandment, John writes to encourage and assurance them of their faith.

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Knowing God: a new, old commandment

The reality of God was never something I’ve really questioned. Sure, I’ve doubted the nature of God, the person of God, and my relationship to this God. In the end, the deciding question for me was whether this divine being would have any implications for my life.

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

— 1 John 2:7–11 (ESV)

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What is Propitiation? A definition and meaning in the Bible

Propitiation. Maybe this is the first time you’ve heard this word. Maybe you’ve heard it a number of times, but don’t know what it means. It’s certainly not a word I understood for a long time, and really, I’m still coming to fully understand the depth of this concept.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

— 1 John 2:1-6 (ESV)

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