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1 John 2:15-17 (NIV): Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

So, I've been wrestling with "love for the world" and what that has to do with the "afterlife"... We know we can't prove our love for God, because nothing good lives in us - Romans 7:18 - we may have the desire to prove our love for God, but we don't have the will to carry it out, according to the Bible.

So if we're not "proving our love for God", then why should we avoid loving the world? Is it because the world competes with our love for God, and maybe the world destroys our joy and our peace?

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    Welcome to BHSX. Please take the tour below. This looks far more like a theory of personality from a psychology text than anything about theology or Bible Hermeneutics.
    – user25930
    May 21 '19 at 12:42
  • The chart above is nothing to do with Bible Hermeneutics, in my own view, nor is the question a question about the actual text quoted. I am voting to close as off-topic. But welcome to BH and please see, from the Tour and the Help and the other questions on the site, just what it is and how we do it.
    – Nigel J
    May 21 '19 at 13:53
  • 1 John 2:15-17 says "15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever." I'm trying to figure out the relationship between "loving the world" and the "afterlife"... the last verse says "whoever does the will of God lives forever"... Is this a reference to the afterlife?
    – tariq
    May 24 '19 at 23:06
  • If 1 John 2:15-17 is not about the afterlife, then is it a reference to the current life? Avoiding lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life... do these disciplines help preserve this life, do they help preserve our joy, peace, and relationship with God and people in this life? I guess that might be called "psychology"... But that's my question, is 1 John about preserving the fruit of the spirit in this life (love, joy, peace... Ephesians 5)? Or is 1 John about the afterlife? Thanks!
    – tariq
    May 24 '19 at 23:15
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    I see the word "abides" in 17 but not "lives." In any case, 17 contrasts the life that is really life (zoe), 1 Tim 6:19, with the life of the world (bios) in 1 Jn 2:16. So it's not about a life that begins after death, but an eternal life that believers receive now, Jn 3:16, and overcomes the world, and is like God
    – Walter S
    May 7 '20 at 1:48
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*Question: Is 1 John 2:15-17 talking about (loving) this life or afterlife? (loving added to make the question more focussed)

And, also sub-questions, I will attempt to address in this exegesis and comments:

Text: 1 John 2:15-25 (ESV) 15 "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. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and (the) pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever."

The main point of the context is (Believers who truly love God!-implied v1-) *DO NOT LOVE the world and things of the world (The emphasis is in the ἀγαπᾶτε (love-verb-present, imperative, active 2nd pl).

Apostle John expounds,

A. Do not love the world

v 15: "Do not love the world or the things of the world"

  • Do not (μή - NOT), appeal to "loving behavior is emotional, not rational" e.g. I do because I feel & love it.

  • love (ἀγαπᾷ, V-PSA) uses of the present imperative denotes the idea of the verb, for loving is continuous. The ἀγαπᾷ is the word that has marks of will, intelligent and purposeful choice, meaning carnally minded.

    "World and things of the world - see v 16 & 17

It depicts someone who lives a double life, a believer living immersed in the world. e.g pendulum; i.e. the branch grafted into the true vine, but not bearing fruit-Jn. 15:2)

  • "The love of God (=God's love)" (ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Πατρὸς-genitive). The ultimate referent is " Jesus Christ, God's loving Son, the Savior of us). In John 14:23 "Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."

  • "is not in him" means Jesus is not in him fully and always, or on-and-off and less than the "world is." e.g. The wife is not the only woman. His mind goes after other women, is more full of other women.

Sum: Apostle John is saying, Children, you are a citizen of Kingdom of God living in this world, you should not let the world occupy your heart and not live pursuing after things of this world, that's what the enemies of God are and does. Must live more "seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (John 6:33 - Aramaic in Eng).

B. Why?

v 16: "For all that is in the world....

  • "the desires of the flesh"- sinful desire springing from the flesh or depraved nature which seeks sinful gratification. (Lensky)
  • "the desires of the eyes" -the lust that reaches out beyond what a person can actually get a hold of in his sinning. The lustful eyes rove afar for sinful pleasure.(Lensky)
  • "the pride of life" - pride of possessions - ἀλαζονεία(pride,vainglory) - "Hollow the arrogance which presumes that it can decide and direct the course of life without God, determine what it will do, gain, achieve, enjoy." (Lensky)

"For all that .....is not from the Father but is from the world." :

  • ἐκ (from) denotes the source. = "All that is in the world is not out of the Father but is out of the word." (Lensky)

v 17:And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

-The "world" -signifies a system of sin and lust and evil and pride and rebellion against God. All things from it are only "dazzling glitters of gold, not the gold.

  • "passing away" - The world is the very source of "all that" is passing away (παράγεται - v-present, indicative, passive)- is occurring now and that is fact, being passed away by the decree of God for the consummation by fire and for the arrival of the Kingdom of God here "New Heaven and Earth" (Rev. 11:15).

  • "but whoever does the will of God abides forever." -The believer who lives loving God more than this world, and following His will of God. He is a wise man aligned with something eternal.

Summary:

  • We, children of God are living in a world where we're constantly facing two choices: either we love God or the world or love God more or the world.

    James 4:4 says, Adulterers, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? So whoever decides to be the world's friend makes himself God's enemy.

    In Mt. 10:37, says, "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (NET)

  • V 17 b: *but whoever does the will of God abides forever."

C. But, We are NOT perfect! We will never be perfect!

  The Answer is **"Repent & Confession!"** (goes together like two sides of a coin, 
  some times in different order)

"To Repent (μετανοέω) - a compound word formed from “meta”- “amid” or “with,” and “noeo,”- “to exercise the mind.” literal meaning - “accompanied by an exercise of the mind,” or with understanding, conscientious and rational decision in action for better.(Bible Dictionaries)

to confess (ὁμολογέω) -a compound word formed "homoú," - "together" and légō,- "speak to a conclusion" – properly, to voice the same conclusion, i.e. agree; to profess, declare, admit (without excuse or dow-n play) because in full agreement, align with (endorse) the Word of God. (Bible Dictionaries)

Uses in the Bible:

  • Repent & confession, i.e The prodigal son (Luke Ch. 15)

  • Confession & repent for Children (living in the presence of Father)

    1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 2: 1-2 - "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. Note: As we do "confess" more always and immediately, lesser needs for confessions. `

Confession helps us (list is not exhaustive):

  • to be humble and become more like Jesus.
  • to overcome habits of vice.
  • will make us more aware of doing things against God's will, and stronger to resist
    temptations.
  • lead us to the Holy Spirit for His help and powers. He is "Another Helper" (ἄλλον Παράκλητον -advocate, advisor- helper called to one's aid, sent by Jesus-John 14:6)
  • Remove the guilt of sin, and restore the peace and joy
  • to receive blessings of God more fully
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  • Agreed. Seems the salvation described in 1John1:9 applies as much (if not more) to this life than it does to the afterlife. Appears Romans chapters 7 & 8 give a good overview of salvation. The key seems to be letting the Holy Spirit kill our flesh... Believe the Spirit of Truth so we don't believe half truths of the world. God's Spiritual Comforter so we don't get comfort from the world. Romans 8:13... For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
    – tariq
    Jul 2 '21 at 17:00
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Let's see the context:

NIV 1 John 2

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

The word world refers to the world of this life.

1 John 2:15-17 (NIV):

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

I.e., the world of this life.

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Now, John refers to the afterlife.

Is 1 John 2:15-17 talking about this life or the afterlife?

It is about this life except for the last sentence.

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[If we cannot "[prove] our love for God", then why should we avoid loving the world?

Answer: The answer to this is actually very straight-forward. YES, we can love God through Christ!

John's First Letter is merely stating (paraphrased):

1 John 2:16: "[Everything] in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes [from] the world."

We are surrounded by the lusts of the world: they are inescapable in this life. Nonetheless, we are commanded to do just that: escape them — with the help of Christ.

1 John 1:7, 9: [If] we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light... the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin…. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (emphasis added).

Note how Christ tells us that we can love Him:

John 14:15: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."

This is how we can love God. While it is often difficult to obey Christ, we must endeavor to do so all the same.

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