The Lust of Darkness: 1st John 2:16b

For 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.

John cannot possibly have the creation or blessings of God in view when he speaks of “the world” because he says here that nothing in the world comes from the Father.

John’s conceptualization of the world in this first epistle has in mind the realm of darkness and alienation from God that humanity plunged God’s creation into when we sinned and rebelled against God.

“Everything in the world”: defined for us as being “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”.

Not specifically “the flesh” (being our created bodies), but “the lust” of the flesh.

Not specifically “the eyes” (being God’s bountiful blessings in creation that we look upon), but “the lust” of the eyes.

Not specifically “life” (being our experience in this world), but “the pride” of life.

Christians do not belong to this world of lust and pride, but to the Father who redeemed us from this world, sanctified us in the truth, and sent us back into the world to seek and save the lost of this world:

John 17:18-19 (CSB) As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 I sanctify myself for them, so that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Christians are not called out of this world by physical proximity, but rather, we are separated from this world in spiritual relationship by the sanctification of truth.  What we were in this world as defined by our relationships to this world has changed.

The world” offers everything in the relationships of pride and lust; covetous idolatry, greed, and selfishness dominate how we relate to God’s creation and plunge it into darkness.

The redemption of Christ frees us from the darkness of this world so that we relate to this world with humility and love; thanksgiving, grace, and truth fill God’s creation with light.

Our proximity to the material objects of this world has not changed, but our relationships and interactions with them have changed because of the sanctification of truth.

One of the clearest proofs that someone does not belong to Christ is their association with the world and their refusal to hear apostolic doctrine:

1st John 4:5-6 (CSB) They are from the world. Therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.

There has been deafening silence from the pulpits of the Church with respect to the distinctions between “the world” and “the children of God”, and in many cases, there is violent refusal from the pews of the Church to hear the truth that no one can love both God and this world.

Everything from God is different from the world:

John 14:27 (CSB) Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.

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