“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.”
Do not love the world
The word “world” occurs 22 times in this epistle. There are four different words for “world” in the New Testament: 1) earth, 2) the inhabited world, 3) age or generation, and 4) an adorned system of values. John uses the fourth here.
The “world” system is an enemy of God (4:4). “Love” here is the love of fondness or devotion. Some Christians love the arrangement of a world apart from God, a seductive system that lures people away from God.
The “world” here is not the earth or the physical globe on which we live. The “world” is the Devil’s system of values.
1 Jn 5:19, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”
Jas 4:4, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
The Greek forbids an action already in progress. John’s readers were already in the process of loving the world. They were in a system of values, priorities, and beliefs that excluded God in their lives.
A Christian in fellowship with God does not adopt the value system of this world.
Worldliness is not taking pleasure in the natural realm, for God wants us to enjoy the spectacular Grand Canyon. He wants us to enjoy sports and symphony. Taking pleasure in the earth is not wrong but yielding to the values of this world violates our fellowship with God.
God expects us to love the birds and the bees! He wants us to enjoy flowers and the world of nature. We glory in God’s handiwork of nature. We love people. Neither does love the world mean that we are to become eccentric or odd. It does not mean that we live like a hermit in a cave.
Rejecting worldliness does mean that we do not enter its system of greed and develop an attitude of the survival of the fittest and might makes right.
Secularism tries to ostracize God from the core of its life. All they want is what they can taste, see, feel, hear, or touch. They want nothing of a God who has sovereign authority over them. They do not want to take God into account for the values of their lives.