"IN but Not OF the World"
August 28, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
Do not love the world or anything in the world. 1 John 2:15
Two persons can say or write practically the same thing but have altogether different reasons for doing so.
In 1759 the French satirist Voltaire wrote the short novel "Candide" in which his main character by the same name found out how corrupt the world was (at a time when the church itself was corrupt). His purpose was to ridicule Christianity. The apostle John also states that the world is evil, but for a different reason: to keep Christians from participating in the evil ways of the world.
What is there to think or say about the surrounding world of our time? Is it as evil as many say it is? Many concerned people are of the opinion that moral conditions are getting worse. One thing to keep in mind is that the news media nowadays are more frank to report what people do in their private lives, especially public figures.
Allowing for this greater openness, the world of our time is still evil. We have no reason to disagree with the 12th-century hymn, "The World is Very Evil." Going back still farther, we have to agree with the red alert of Saint John: "Do not love the world or anything in the world." The world is what composite human nature is. The apostle tells us what its marks are: "the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has" (1 John 2:16). Human nature is still that way today.
How do we as Christians show concern? In His High Priestly Prayer in John 17 Jesus tells the Father to leave His disciples in the world. He does not want them to flee from the world, for they are to be His witnesses in it. They are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. They are to proclaim the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins through Christ and to back up their proclamation with Christian living.
Christians are IN the world but not OF the world. This, in short, indicates our role.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to be a good Christian witness in this world. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)