Summary: There is too much emphasis in today's preaching about practical and earthly matters concerning earthly love. There is a much higher love life we need to cultivate.
How is your Love Life?
Last time we met, we discussed the new commandment which was really not new, but was the one which we have had all along. Even though John did not elaborate further on what this command was, it was obvious that it was closely tied to the command to love. Loving God with all one has is to joyfully keep His commandments as well as to love one’s neighbor as well. It is as the song, the “Old Time Religion” says: “Makes me love everybody.” If this is true, then I cannot hate anyone. Some of those who had left had left for selfish motives and despised those they left behind. In this, they proved that they really weren’t in touch with God like they thought but were stumbling around in the dark.
John goes on to tell them and us that those who are truly victorious, are victorious and strong because of our relationship with the Father, which was made possible by the sacrifice of the Son. So our strength is never in ourselves, but in God. So the victory we win is a victory we win together. We are crowned as a church, and not until the least of our brethren cross. If we only would arm ourselves with this attitude, we would not go off to our own monastery to enjoy our perfection in solitude while leaving our younger and weaker brethren to fend for themselves. Nor we would we form a Holy Club to boast with others of our individual accomplishments.
Exposition of the Text
1 John 2:15—Stop loving the world and the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, then the love of the Father is not in him.
The verse begins in the Greek with Ìὴ ἀãáðᾶôå (Me- ah-gah-pa-teh) which is best translated “Stop loving the world.” This is because the verb is an imperative (command) in the present tense. If one wanted to say “Do not fall in love with the world”, he would have used the past (aorist) tense of the imperative. What this means is that the love of the world and worldly possessions were still in the hearts of the believer. This is inconsistent with the truth of the gospel. Either God or mammon will, rule as no one can serve two masters.
What John is describing here is that the believer has been sanctified, or set apart, from the world and unto God. The things of the world belong to the past life. And until this affection for the world be removed, one cannot enjoy the love of the Father, nor really love the Father. There can be no divided loyalty. There can only be one God.
In terms of understanding the word “world”, it would have been the Roman Empire in the days of John. It is not, God’s creation, but the world human beings create, such as culture, politics, society, infrastructure and the like. These things give human beings structure and identity. The Greek word here is êüóìïò (kohs-moss) from which we get the word “cosmetic”. To get one’s sense of identity and reason for being from a manmade world is to deny God’s rightful place as the source of all meaning.