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. (1 John 2:15 ESV)
Do Not Love the World:
What does John mean by the world here? He is referring to the system of mankind that is actively opposed to God. John is not commanding believers to completely retreat from the world. To do so would be to neglect the great commission of going to all of the world and making disciples.
We are commanded to not pursue, enjoy, love, approve of the things in this fallen world that are anti-God. John later explains such things as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
Do Christians seem ineffective in the world today? If so, it is not because they lack the strategy or skill. It is because they are doing what Christ commands them not to do; they are trying to marry the system of this world with the system of God. This is not possible. The gospel does not allow it. The two are actively opposed to each other.
1 John 2:4 “Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commands is a liar.” Do you love the world? Before you say no- prayerfully search your heart. Do you desire comfort, acceptance, wealth, yourself and your plans? Or do you desire the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom?
Do you love Christ? You cannot say yes to both things. You cannot love God and the world. If so, God Himself calls you a liar.
The Foundational Reason Not to Love the World:
John tells us that we do not love the world because of the love of the Father. This likely refers both to the Father’s love for us and our love for the Father (we love because He first loved us).
This is important. We are not loved by the Father because we reject the world. That would be a justification by our works- a doctrine contrary to scripture. It is not I reject the world then receive God’s love but I receive God’s love in Christ thus loving Christ above all and rejecting the world’s system- for it is opposed to such love.
This is the gospel. Christ has made us new in His love and grace. As new creations, we are different from the world. This is not our home. We are strangers and sojourners here. We have a purpose in this world, not a purpose of this world.
Christ prays for us, I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world (John 17:15-16).
Like Christ, you are on a mission. Do not seek to make peace with an enemy that cannot be reconciled. Instead, armed with the gospel of Christ, rescue those in the enemies grip.