1 John 2:12-17 | Love Not the World

1 John 2:12-17 | Love Not the World

  • John separates believers into different levels of spiritual maturity here
  • The themes in this section are:
    • Spiritual maturity – the context
    • Knowing God – the goal
    • Overcoming the evil one – the risk/challenge
    • The indwelling word – the process
  • So what John is saying in these poetic words to his readers is that their spiritual growth and maturity is one of knowing God, growing in the knowledge of God. The risk is that believers do not overcome the evil one and so fall away, but the way to stay faithful is allowing the word of God to dwell within us to give us strength

12I am writing to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.

  • Our greatest joy as new Christians is that we have been forgiven of our sins
  • We have become born again, we have started a new life as disciples and so we are children because we are forgiven

13I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

  • ‘Fathers of the faith’ have walked with God for a long time and so know God intimately

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.

  • As ‘young men’ of the faith, we have persevered through the early years of our faith which can be testing and trying
  • As in the parable of the sower, these are those who were in danger of sprouting up for a little while but then being distracted by the affairs of life of tapping out due to difficulty
  • The ‘young men’ are also the ones typically on the ‘frontline’ of ministry, taking up leadership positions, training to be elders and for this there can be a lot of spiritual resistance

14I write to you, dear children,
because you know the Father.

  • One of the greatest joys of becoming a Christian is that we enter into a loving relationship with our Father God – the Christian walk is one of knowing God and that starts with spiritual infancy

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

  • Same as before

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

  • John now gives more detail as to how ‘young men of the faith’ overcome the evil one, and that is by developing strength by having the word of God dwell inside of you
  • The living word inside of us gives us strength to endure and overcome the evil one which would lead us away from God

15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

  • John then gives some more words of wisdom about the process of spiritual growth and what to watch out for – namely loving the world which can lead us astray
  • Once our affections start to crave the things of this world, then our love for our Father God will wane
  • The world
    • Lust of the flesh – desires of experience [hedonism]
    • Lust of the eyes – desires of having [materialism]
    • Pride of life – desires of being [egoism]
  • These contrast the three ways that Jesus was tempted in the desert
    • Turning stones into bread – physical desires
    • Having all kingdoms and riches – mental desires
    • Jumping from the temple – being desires
  • It is God’s will that these desires are fully met in our love for him, not in the world – God desires to be the one who satisfies these desires, and that is done in our walking with him and growing in knowing Him
    • God trains us to have self-control of our bodies and not give in to every craving, and one day we will be re-clothed with resurrected bodies with healthy desires
    • God is all that we should aspire to have in life. We should only lust after God! He is all we truly need
    • We find our security and value in God, not in our ego or sense of success in this world. Our ego is fully satisfied in Him

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