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We are reminded that the world is passing away

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Today’s bible study is 1 John 2:16-17: 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. And the world is passing away and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Here, once again, we are reminded of the frailty of all things material and the timelessness of the spirit of God. We, and all living things, will some day pass away. We shall once again become dust. Yet, until the very end of time, the spirit of God shall live and we, as children of God, shall also be granted life eternal in his heavenly kingdom. This is quite a comforting reassurance. All around us we see crime, poverty, sickness, war and injustice. Yet, these will have no power and will eventually cease to exist. The power of God will never cease.

We are told not to love the world. The writer does not equivocate love of the world and love of God is mutually exclusive. To understand this, one has to have in mind the Johanine view of world, otherwise one might have a directive against responsibility to family, community and environment.

Through the Word God created the world, but the world, loving darkness rather than light, did not know God. Yet God loves the world and for its salvation sent his Son into the world, just as the church has been sent into the world. But being in the world is not being of the world; that is, the world as created does not replace the Creator as the source of identity, meaning, and purpose. The world as God’s creation is, therefore, not evil. Evil, or idolatry, arises in the inordinate desire for that which one can acquire and possess, things visible not spiritual. From such acquisitions comes the proud illusion that life has been attained.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, everything created is transitory, as is the appetite for it. It is entirely foolish, therefore, to make such an investment of one’s life. Only the Creator and those who put the Creator’s will foremost continue to live after all else has passed away.

What strong words these are! Only those of us who put God and God’s holy will above all else’s will have the promise of eternal life. Perhaps this is another reminder to truly practice our faith, not just once a week, but every minute of every day. When we are afraid, unsure, lonely or misguided, we can always turn to our Lord Jesus in prayer. We can ask for guidance, strength, hope and support. We will reach and fail, climb and fall, sometimes take one step forward and two steps back. Yet God is always there to help us. And, through His divine love and grace, we surely are promised life eternal.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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