Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What is the Biblical explanation of worldliness?

Many times we think that doing anything the world does is "worldly", however why would anything like working on cars and enjoying fine food be considered worldly, in and of itself? It's impossible for us to not be somewhat engaged in what others do, who are not Christian, because we all have to do many of the same things. We also experience many of the same things, Christians and non-Christians alike... The rain falls on the righteous and the wicked.

According to C. J. Mahaney, he describes the world we're not supposed to love as the organized system of human civilization that is actively hostile to God and alienated from God.

If you remember back to the Old Testament days of the Israelites and the surrounding countries that they lived by, they also had to reject those God-hating and God-rejecting people. Back then, the Israelites were the only ones who followed the true God. All of the other countries were pagans, idolaters, and living in enmity with God. They hated the Israelites for the very reason of their God and their faithfulness to him (although the Israelite history is somewhat checkered).

When we consider the prospect of being worldly we need to know what it is that the Bible warns us about. God created the world and said it was very good. That's one of the first things we read about in Genesis. He gave it to us to enjoy and to cultivate and labor on, so that we can live in it. (the laboring being the consequence of Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden).

We are not, however, supposed to turn around and love the creation instead of the Creator. This is sin. Romans 1:25 says that "they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen."

Notice that phrase "exchanged the truth of God for a lie". We are deceived if we think that worshiping and glorifying anything or anyone else, but God, is acceptable.

Here is where we see the world, being the fallen world, manifesting itself in us... John 2:16:

"For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world."

Worldliness is not a battle of specific do's and don't's in the external world. It is a battle of flesh and spirit in our hearts. When Jesus was talking to the woman at the well he told her that the true worshipers would not be confined to worshiping on this mountain or Jerusalem, rather they would worship in spirit and in truth.

Worshiping in spirit is refering to worshiping with the right heart, which fits right into worshiping in truth. We cannot truly worship God if we do not believe and love the truth that he has shown us. Worshiping God is not a matter of location, but a matter of your heart, that only God really knows.

We will break down the three parts to John 2:16 in the next couple posts, talking about what the cravings of sinful man look like; what the lust of his eyes means; and what boasting of what he has and does is implying.

These will give us a very important understanding of ourselves and our ability to become worldly because we can become worldly if we're not on our guard.

As always, let's get some discussion going!

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