Wednesday, July 13, 2011


15 "Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification], and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things]-these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].
17 And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life, abides (remains) forever." (1 John 2:15-17).

15 Having assured the believers of their position before God-i.e., their sins are forgiven, they know the Father, and they have overcome the evil one-John moves to application. He warns them not to love the world and gives two reasons: Love for the world precludes love for the Father, and the investment of love in the world is without meaning because the world is passing away (v.17). The love of the world versus the love of the Father provides yet another "test" of walking in the light.
    "World" occurs six times in vv.15-17. It obviously means something quite different here than in Jn 3:16. There the Father's love of the world is apparently based on his having willed the world into existence. It is his creation; he created it to be good, beautiful, and worthy of giving glory to him. Likewise those who live in the world are his creatures, whom he loves; even in their desperate state of living in darkness and the shadow of death, he remains constant in desiring to rescue them from eternal death. Here, however, the world is presented as the evil system under the grip of the devil (cf. 1 Jn 5:19; Jn 12:31; 14:30).
    Love also means something different in this passage. Here it is not the selfless love for one's brother (cf. 2:10) but the love that entices by an evil desire or a forbidden appetite (Jn 3:19; 12:43). It is the world's ability to seduce believers, to draw them away from love of the Father, that concerns John.

16 What love for the world or worldliness entails is now spelled out by John in a memorable triad: "the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does." The phrase "the cravings of sinful man" (lit., "the desire of the flesh" describes the principle of worldliness from which love of the world flows. (Flesh" refers to a selfish outlook that pursues its own ends, independent of God and independent of one's fellowman. The "flesh" not only becomes the basis for rebellion against God and for despising his law but also connotes all that is materialistic, egocentric, exploitative, and selfish. It is at the root of racism, sexism, love of injustice, despising the poor, neglecting the weak and helpless, and every unrighteous practice.
    The "lust of the eyes" can refer especially to sexual lust, but can also mean everything that entices the eyes. It is a tendency to be captivated by outward show, and especially indicates greed and a desire for things aroused by seeing them (cf. Eve in Gen 3:6).
    The key term in the third phrase is 'pride" (NIV, "boasting"); it occurs only here and in Jas 4:16. It describes a pretentious hypocrite who glories in himself or in his possesions. If one's public image means more than the glory of God or the well-being of one's fellow human beings, such pretentiousness of life has become a form of idol-worship. "Pride of life" will be reflected in whatever status symbol is important to me or seems to define my identity. When I define myself to others in terms of my honary degrees, the reputation of my church I serve, my annual income, the sixe of my library, my expensive car or house, and if in doing this I misrepresent the truth and in my boasting show myself to be only a pompous fool who has deceived no one, then I have succumbed to the pride of life.

17 All the vanity of this evil world with its devices is passing away. It has already begun to putrefy. It is a corpse not yet buried. But the person who really does the will of God has the breath of eternal life.
{Zondervan NIV BIBLE COMMENTARY Volume 2: New Testament}.


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