Monday, 3 June 2019

How to Be In the World but not Of It

We Christians often quote John 17:15 (BBE) which says, "My prayer is not that you will take them out of the world, but that you will keep them from the Evil One." But what was Christ asking of the Father?

The Apostle Paul explained the meaning of this prayer request in 1 Corinthians 5:9 and 10 (BBE) which reads, "In my letter I said to you that you were not to keep company with those who go after the desires of the flesh; But I had not in mind the sinners who are outside the church, or those who have a desire for and take the property of others, or those who give worship to images; for it is not possible to keep away from such people without going out of the world completely:"

Jesus also said of us in John 17:16 (BBE), "They are not of the world any more than I am of the world."

And believe it or not, the reason we aren't of this world is because we're at war. It's a spiritual conflict which requires spiritual weaponry. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:4 and 5 that, "For the arms with which we are fighting are not those of the flesh, but are strong before God for the destruction of high places); Putting an end to reasonings, and every high thing which is lifted up against the knowledge of God, and causing every thought to come under the authority of Christ;"

As a result, we mustn't get embroiled with the things of this world. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:4 (BBE), "A fighting man, when he is with the army, keeps himself free from the business of this life so that he may be pleasing to him who has taken him into his army."

But what are these affairs of the world from which we must abstain? John doesn't list them but he wrote in 1 John 2:15 and 16 (BBE) that we mustn't, "Have no love for the world or for the things which are in the world. If any man has love for the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Because everything in the world, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world."

As I've written before, it isn't the activities themselves but the lusts they produce which are sinful. I'll point this out in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Just as an axe can be used to cut down trees or murder a person, so things of themselves aren't sinful.

On Thursday, I'll post about what the "image of God" is and why it's so important.

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