Summary: John wants his readers to know that if any loves the world as a habit of life, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world.
1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
John begins his warning to his readers with a command: “Do not love the world, neither the things in the world.”
Last time we learned that the word “love” is our word agapao. This is the word that describes God’s love for a lost race of sinners. It’s a love that is self-sacrificial in its essence.
John writes, “Do not love the world…”
The “world” John forbids Christians to love is the Greek word kosmos. Kosmos is more than the millions of people on the planet earth. Kosmos is the invisible spiritual system of evil where Satan is the head.
1st John 2:15 tells us that we're not to love that evil system or the features of that system because the world's system is opposed to God.
Pastor John MacArthur says, “Just a cursory look at society will reveal that it is hostile to godliness and dominated by carnal ambition, pride, greed, self- pleasure, and evil desires. Its opinions are wrong, its aims are selfish, its pleasures are sinful, its influence is demoralizing, its politics are corrupt, its honors are empty, its smiles are fake, and its love is fickle. It's a system of rebellion against God that's run by Satan.”
This is the world (system) that John is commanding Christians not to love. He is not forbidding us to love the lost people of the world but the spiritual system of evil that is in the world.
In the New Testament we are also given another command concerning the world. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world…” We are not to be like Jell-O and conform to the shape of the world’s ways.
In 2 Corinthians 6:17, Christians are commanded to come out of the world system and live separate lives:
2 Cor 6:16b … For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people."
2 Cor 6:17 Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you."
The New Testament writer James tells us to not even to allow the filth of the world to stain us.
James 1:27- Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Back in our text, John ends verse 15 with these sobering words, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
The expression “if any man love the world” is a hypothetical statement. It is also in the present tense, which means “continuous action” in the Greek. In other words, this person loves the world continuously or as a habit of life.
John wants his readers to know that if any loves the world as a habit of life, the love of the Father is not in him—in other words, this person has no love for the Father dwelling in him.
If this person has no love for the Father in him, he is not a Christian. Again John “cuts to the chase” concerning who is a Christian and who is not. We have found in this series that John wants his readers to examine themselves to see if they are genuine Christians.
In verse 16 John lets his readers know why they shouldn’t love the world:
1 John 2:16 - For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world.
When John uses the expression, “…all that is in the world…” he isn’t referring to the quantity of things that are in the world. He is referring to the things that are in the world, collectively.
He is in essence saying, “When it all boils down, all you have in the world is…the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life…” That’s all you have.
The word “lust” is epithumia, which is “a craving or a passionate desire.” It can be used to describe a good or evil desire. One can have an intense desire for something good or lawful.