Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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 passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
For the fashion of this world passeth away. (1 Corinthians 7:31)
Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)
The whole world lieth in wickedness. (1 John 5:19)
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14)
How very important and vital it is for the believer to understand what this world is! For how can you to get out of something, not knowing what it is? To get out of this world, one must understand what this world is, what it consists of, and how it manifests itself. Otherwise, how is a believer to know whether or not he has come out of this world? Great is the darkness of ignorance on this issue among believers! A lot of people consider themselves to be not of this world, that they have come out of this world, when in reality they make up this world and completely live the life of this world! This question is very serious and deep. A person’s life depends on such a question, since the image of this world passes! To be a friend to the world – means to be an enemy of God! Whoever loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, and this means: the image of the world passes, and together with it passes man, that is, he has no future, but turns out to be in eternal damnation! So what exactly is this world?
Many believers understand this world to be: if a person drinks alcohol, smokes, steals, fornicates, etc. And so if a person stops doing these things, he has come out of this world, but is that so?
There is no doubt that such deeds are inherent to this world, and a list of these sort of evil deeds can be greatly expanded, but do such obvious bad deeds alone characterize this world? If this were so, it would mean: doing evil deeds – this is the world, doing good – not this world. For the most part, this is how people understand it, they do not delve deeper, and so they do not know that this world consists of both good and evil! This world and the manifestation of this world needs to be understood!
Believing the Bible, for it is the only source of Truth on earth from God, we find this world explained before Christ. In this period, the people of God were only the Jewish people, all other nations were pagans who had no communion with God and His people (Eph. 2: 11-12). It is very important for us to know how this world expressed itself then. The Bible reveals that in this period before Christ, the whole world consisted of religions, from numerous religions of the Gentiles, including the Hebrew religion, which alone was correct, given from God.
This world began to be formed and settled from Adam and Eve, that is, from the first people. This happened because Adam and Eve sinned by not accepting Christ, who was represented in the garden as the Tree of Life. They rejected the will of God, and accepted the will of the devil. As a result, mankind was left outside of God, with the devil being inside of them. This is where the world begins! People multiplied, became more and more corrupt, God destroyed them, saving the righteous Noah and his family. After the flood people multiplied again, and agreed to build a tower to heaven. God mixed their language in many different languages, so it was necessary to settle on different ground – hence different nations. All the different nations had different gods, and not a single people was left without their god, without their religion. In order for the Truth to remain on earth, God chose one people for Himself, the Israelites, with whom He made His covenant and gave them His law – this was also religion. Religion is a teaching of how to serve and worship God according to the flesh. At the same time, God remains outside of man, and man with his own strength and will fulfilled what was prescribed to him.
From the Bible, as well as from the history of the development of mankind, it shows that before Christ this world consisted of many different religions, among which there was one correct religion from the true God of Israel, and without religion people did not live, for man is so created that he is in need of help and support.
So, this world, which the Lord spoke about and revealed the concept when He said: “You are not from this world”, at the core of it stands religions. Religions are the basis of the spiritual life of this world. Any religion consists of good and evil, it is always from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, from which the first people tasted, which brought death and all troubles to mankind.
But then Christ came and brought full clarity that all religions together constitute one world, a world outside of God, a sinful world, lost, dying in darkness, ready to perish, in need of a Savior. It is this that brought Christ down into this world – to save the lost! Arriving in this world, Christ brought knowledge about this world and opened another world – the Kingdom of God, which is the end to all religions. In the Kingdom of God, there is no longer any religion, for religion is a service to God according to the flesh, and the New Testament completely rejects the ministry according to the flesh and says directly: “Those who are in the flesh can not please God” (Rom.8: 8). Jesus Christ brought the Covenant, which was God approved before the old, but could not be used because of the immaturity of mankind (Gal. 3: 17-19). This New Testament leads to the birth from God and the transition from this world to the Kingdom of God, where the law of the spirit of life in Christ operates, delivering from the law of sin and death (Rom.8: 1-2). Knowledge is spiritual and by the flesh it is impossible to understand and fulfill it, it is necessary to be born of God, to become a new creature. It means becoming spiritual, getting the mind of Christ to understand the spiritual (1 Cor. 2: 12-16). Starting His ministry to people, Jesus Christ preached the gospel: “The Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15). All those who accepted Christ now leave this world and go to the Kingdom of God by being baptized into the death of Christ, they die with Christ for this world, resurrecting with Christ for the Kingdom of God, where there are no other religions. The apostle Paul wrote about this: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal. 6: 14). In the New Testament: “For as many as are lead by he Spirit of God, that are the sons of God … Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His”(Rom.8: 14,9). “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”(John 1: 10-13).
So, according to the New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ, those born of God are not of this world, the rest of humanity forms this world. Concerning being born from God, Christ says: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of this world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”(John 15: 19). Before His departure from the world to the Father, Jesus Christ prayed to the Father: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”(John 17: 14-16). It was by His appearance that Jesus Christ opened the concept of “this world” and “not from this world”. Before Jesus Christ, the world was divided according to nationalities, and only the Israelites were the chosen people of God. By His coming, Jesus Christ called all nations. He revealed that all are created from one blood, the forefather of all is one – Adam, and that all have sinned, and all have come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and all the nations together constitute one world that lies in evil! God in the New Testament sees no difference between nations and races, as it was in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament the people of God again form one nation – being born of God regardless of nationality or race. Before the appearance of Jesus Christ, the idea that the Kingdom was not of this world was a mystery to all people. The Israelites thought that they were the Kingdom of God, but they were also a part of this world. When Christ told His disciples that He took them from the world, he meant the kingdom of Israel, for His disciples were Jews. The kingdom of God cannot be earthly, soulful; it is spiritual, imperishable, and eternal!
But here is the question: how does “this world” look today, in the days of the grace of Jesus Christ? The question is very, very serious, since the life and death of a person depends on the correctness of this understanding!
If the world before Christ expressed itself, or rather consisted of many different religions, then clearly, today it could not be any different, the world expresses itself all the same. Only the religions have changed, but the spirit is still the same – the devil! Ancient and wild religions with their terrible blood laws have become a thing of the past, for the Law of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ exposed the devil, making him retreat from his barbarous laws, leaving no place for them on the earth (although these sorts of laws persisted for a time in some parts of the world, and today still remain with wild and terrible laws, for example cannibalism). Even though the devil was strongly exposed, he did not cease to be; therefore, he had to rebuild, to resort to new methods and forms, which he did with success.
He also excelled with the teaching of the New Testament. Taking the form of the angel of light, skillfully distorting the written Gospel, brought forth his servants: the false apostles to take the form of the Apostles of Christ (2 Corinthians 11: 13-15). And so appeared the enemies of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18-19). Introducing damnable heresies (2 Peter 2: 1-2). Turning away from the Truth more and more, different fables became pleasant (2 Timothy 4: 3-4), so that the New Testament was turned into a dead letter of the law and turned into a most real religion, where God is not in the person, and the person themselves must cope with sin, to fight with it and defeat it! God is in heaven, looks down at the person, and the person should diligently pray and ask for strength, ask for help, ask for patience and meekness, ask for love, and God gives to the person – this is the teaching of the Christian religion. Because of the changing of the Scriptures, here a little, there a little, everyone went further away from the Truth: “But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken” (Isaiah 28:13). The Lord himself warned about the danger of this, and specifically warned His Apostles! The Apostle Paul, having gathered the elders, said to them: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20: 28-30). All this was accomplished, and the ministry of the New Testament, which is the ministry of the spirit, turned into the ministry of the dead letter (2 Corinthians 3: 6).
So, this world, as in the beginning, consisted of religions, and today it consists of religions, and there are so many of them, that it is impossible to count them all! And there is always division and conflict among themselves. Although, every now and then they reconcile, unite, but all of this is only superficial, in time it always breaks. Religion – this is the self-willed worship of God with the distorted Word of God. The apostle Paul warned that this was not of Christ, so that the early Christians would not be attracted! The whole world lies in evil! The form of this world is passing: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).