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16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.


16 They are not of the world,

The apostles did not hold the value system of the world because Jesus did not.

just as I am not of the world.

This phrase picks up the same point as at the end of verse 14—”just as I am not of this world.” Jesus was an alien to this world and so were His disciples. Jesus did not belong to the values of the satanic system of the world. He was set apart from it.


Believers are in the world but not of the world.


The believer is what the ship is to the sea; it is in it but not of it.

Since believers do not belong to the domain of Satan, they need to think of themselves as separate or apart from its beliefs. However, separation does not mean isolation. Believers live among the unregenerate world, but they do not hold to its values. They are separate from this system by what they believe, not by their physical presence. We will see this point in the next verse, where the issue is to be set apart by “truth.”

If our major concern were the security of our own safety, then the world would not hear the gospel. God’s plan for us is not escapism from the world but interaction with it. How can we win those without Christ without communication with them? God does not want a cellophane-wrapped Christian who has no experience with other viewpoints. Ongoing contact with the world will place believers in danger—that is, the danger of alien belief.

Jesus’ concern was not that we live in isolation from the world but that we do not succumb to its influence. The issue is belief and not behavior. Our Lord was well aware of the power of the evil one and the nature of the battle believers will face. Our battle is not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12).