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Loving the World

Q. What does the Bible mean when it says, "Do not love the world or anything in it?" (1 John 2:15-17)


Excellent question. Here is the passage from the simplified NIrV translation:

15 Do not love the world or anything in it. If you love the world, love for the Father is not in you. 16 Here is what people who belong to this world do. They try to satisfy what their sinful natures want to do. They long for what their sinful eyes look at. They brag about what they have and what they do. All of this comes from the world. It doesn't come from the Father. 17 The world and its evil longings are passing away. But those who do what God wants them to do live forever (NIrV).

What is the "World?"

The "world" in this passage does not mean the creation. "God saw everything he had made and it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). It's not talking about people. "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" (John 3:16).

Thinking Processes of the Unconverted World

What it does mean is the invisible, spiritual system of evil run by Satan. It is everything that opposes God. This would include all the thinking processes of the unconverted world: religions, philosophies, values, goals. It doesn't include Christians because our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

System of Worldly Evil:

Lust of the flesh: Craving to DO something contrary to God's will.

Lust of the eyes: Desire to POSSESS something apart from God's will.

Pride of Life: Desire to BE something contrary to God's will.


Christians should not bother loving the world system because it's doomed. There's no future in it. We wouldn't buy or live in a condemned house because we know it will be destroyed. So we shouldn't bother with a world system that is dying, either.

Instead, our future is a new earth and heaven where we live and rule in something like a space city called the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1; 10). Fantastic!



MacArthur, John. "The Love God Hates." 1 John 2:15-17. Available from: www.gty.org/Resources/Print/Sermons/62-15.

Piper, John. 1985. "Do Not Love the World." Available from: www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/do-not-love-the-world.

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