LOVING THE WORLD
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: Are the Lord’s consecrated people to love the world? Please harmonize John 3: 16 with 1 John 2: 15.
Answer: John 3: 16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 1 John 2: 15 reads, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The Lord’s people are to love the human family, whom God also loves, though not to the degree that we are to love the Lord’s people. We should have sympathy for them similar to that which the Heavenly Father has for the fallen race, and for whom He sent His only begotten Son to die for, as we read in John 3: 16.
In 1 John 2: 15, which reads, “Love not the world,” the word “world” does not here mean either the human race or the planet on which we live. The thought seems to be the present order, or arrangement, of things. And “the things that are in the world” refer to the various parts and sentiments of the present order. The Scriptures inform us that the present order of things on earth is entirely out of harmony with God’s will, or purpose; for the world is ruled by selfishness. The Divine arrangement, on the other hand, is that love shall be the rule among God’s creatures (1 John 4: 8, 16).
The Lord’s people should be on guard against the spirit of selfishness and against willingness to participate in the things of this world. We should strive to be in that condition which is pleasing to the Lord. We are to try to rid ourselves of the spirit of the world and to be filled with the spirit of God, the spirit of love. This would not mean that we are not to appreciate beautiful things, or that we are not to like to see others striving to benefit the world; but we should not be satisfied with any of these things. To the proportion that anyone is filled with the spirit of selfishness and the spirit of the world, to that same proportion he is out of harmony with the new order of affairs that is coming, which will be based upon love.
The highest of all services is that of the ministry of the Word of God. But even this noble service might be pursued from either of two motives – the love of the Father or the love of self. Some have engaged in the ministry for the loaves and fishes, for the honorable position it gives them in the sight of others; whereas others have entered the ministry because they desire to serve God, to serve His Word, to serve His people. The Lord alone, who can read the heart, knows what has induced any one to enter the ministry. Those who are serving merely from the worldly spirit will become angry in proportion as their earthly interests suffer. But those who are of the right spirit will rejoice in everything that is to the glory of God, in everything that will promote His Word and Plan.