Wednesday, May 14, 2008

1 John 2:12-17

At first glance 1 John 2:15 may seem like a contradiction. As we all know, Jesus tells us that the two great commandments are to love God and to love our neighbor. Now here in 1 John 2:15 we see, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." But how can we love God and our neighbors and not the world? Aren't our neighbors in the world?

The Greek word for world, in this case, is kosmos, which refers to the attitudes and values that disregard God or are blatantly against God. It does not mean, or refer to, God's natural creation or humanity. In other words, this message is consistent with Jesus' teachings - we are to love the people of the world but not the sinful attitudes and values those same people may embrace.

The last verse of today's reading is extremely powerful. If any of us truly believes that there is an opportunity to live forever, for all eternity, in the presence of God, in a place with a peace beyond our understanding, then all of us would do anything to fulfill verse 17, "The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."

I saw a documentary on Jim Elliot and the movie about his missionary work call, "End of The Spear", perhaps you saw it too. A quote of Jim Elliot's sticks with me and I feel is appropriate to today's reading. "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to get what he cannot lose."

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