World vs. Faith — First John

April 2004

During my stay in Germany I began studying the book of I John and I was once more struck by the simplicity and the depth of John’s insight. There are many passages that deeply convict me, especially the statement in 3:9, where John writes: “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” This thought is chilling, because I know that I have my vices and sins that I struggle with. This deals especially with things that have to do with this world.

Earlier on John writes, “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. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (I John 2:15,17)

I must admit that I love the world somewhat. There are things like TV and novels and other entertainment that I enjoy very much, and I also find myself wanting to be like the world at times, to get the world to like me and to like my faith. John shoots that thought down, too.

“Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren.” (I John 3:13-14a) It’s interesting that it’s precisely because we are spiritually alive that the world hates us! Nothing we do will change that. This hatred will continue until the Revealing of Christ. They can’t understand us and they fear what they can’t understand and so when we battle on the world’s battle-field, whether with spiritual weapons or worldly weapons, the opposition will always be great. But if we stick to the former, our victory will be guaranteed, both in the battle and in the war, where the latter ... well, that remains to be seen. The world has never helped the Church, it has only hindered her and that has not changed in the past 2000 years!