“If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
I would like to begin by asking God to instruct us in His way.
Father, I ask for each one who would read this that You would undertake to guide them by Your Spirit into the reality of Your word. I ask that You would guard us from the twisting of these truths and the deceptions of the evil one. I ask that You would accomplish Your desire through what is spoken and that You would increase IN us as a result. We plead the blood of Jesus over each one and receive its cleansing, and we declare satan bound IN the Name of Jesus! Thank you Father that You are the source of life to every one of Your children.
Hello, thank you for taking time to read over this post. I would like you to consider for a minute these two questions: “What is the world?” And secondly “what does it mean to be OF the world?” I do not know what your background is, but I would venture to say that it is fairly similar to my own. I grew up in what would typically be termed a “conservative christian home”. I was home schooled all the way through, and my family joined ATI when I was about 12. If you would of asked me to define what it means to be worldly to you, despite my best efforts to sound spiritual, it ultimately would have come out to be something like this: “anyone who lives by or accepts a lessor standard than I do.” So, if I don’t wear shorts or brightly colored shoes, and I meet someone who does wear shorts or brightly colored shoes, that person would be worldly. The problem with this thinking it that I ultimately missed the reality of what the world is and what it means to be OF it. I thought that by not wearing shorts or brightly colored shoes I would be different and not of the world, but this was false. To be of the world is deeper than mere appearances. Satan can appear “good” ( 2 Cor 11:14-15) but that does not make him good.
Let’s consider the first section of the verse “If you were OF the world, the world would love it own…” An important word in this is the word “OF”. This word in the greek means: Out of; from. It denotes a source or origin. For example, I am the child OF my parents, which means I originated from them. My parents are the source that I came from. My existence, identity and life are derived from them. So, to be of the world does not simply mean that I have a lessor standard than someone more conservative, it means that my life and identity originate from the world.
The distinction that I am trying to make here is that our source of life defines us, I am not saying that there is no standard, there is a standard, but the standard is not mine and it is not yours, it is God’s. The purpose of God’s standard (His law) is to reveal to us that our life does not match His demands. When we actually receive His law it exposes the natural life and our complete inability to be or do anything pleasing to God “those who are in the flesh CANNOT please God.” Romans 8:8.
If I am walking in the flesh, it doesn’t matter weather I am praying, giving gifts to the poor, stealing from the poor or committing adultery God condemns the flesh without partiality. He condemns my self-righteousness, which is trying to be right and good, and He condemns the sin and wickedness that is also the results of the flesh. Please realize that the fall in the garden of eden was not partaking of evil, it was the partaking of BOTH good and evil. It was a partaking of impurity and mixture. The flesh can appear “beautiful and righteous to men” (Matthew 23:27-28) and the flesh can appear evil to men, (Gal 5:19-21) but it is still flesh and God condemns it because of what it is, not because of how it appears.
Now we must ask another question.
What is the world? To answer this let us look at a few other scriptures. John 14:30 says “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.”
1 John 5:19 “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” From these two verses we can see that the world is ruled by someone, that someone is satan. The world is the domain and kingdom of the devil. The kingdom of satan is a kingdom of darkness according to Colossians 1:13.
So, to be OF the world is to have satan as our source of life (really death) and identity. You may think to yourself well, it is obvious that satan is not my source of life and identity because I go to church, and I do good things and I want to help people and so on.
Well we should consider the words of Jesus to the Pharisees and Jews in John 8:31-33 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” They (Jews) answered Him, we are Abrahams descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, you will become free?. Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.”
And a few verses later (41-45) ” Jesus said this to those same Jews: “You are doing the deeds of your father.” They (the Jews) said to Him, “we were not born of fornication; we have one father, God.” Jesus said to them, if God were your Father, you would love Me, For I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My words. You are OF your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
A familiar verse to us would be Matthew 5:14a “You are the light of the world.” but we should notice two things, first the world IS darkness and has no true light of itself. Second the light of the world is not the same as the world. Light and darkness are fundamentally different in every way. Darkness covers and hides, light exposes and reveals, these are simple facts, but show that the difference between light and darkness is that they are different by their very nature and essence. Ephesians 5:8 says this to believers: “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light IN THE LORD: Walk as children of Light.” Notice that it does not say that you were formerly in darkness, it says you WERE DARKNESS!. The darkness is the world over which satan is the ruler, and the world are the lost people who do not share in the very life of God.
1 John 1:5b says: “God IS LIGHT, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” And then as we saw in Ephesians 5:8 the true children of God are the children of light because their Father IS LIGHT, their source, their origin is God, they are OF the Light! Now at this point I also want to say something to those who are beginning to think that this liberates us to live independent of any standard. If we share in the very life of God because He IS our Father and therefore the source of our life, we are His and are not free to live for ourselves.
The life of God does NOT live, walk and act contrary to His own standard! 1 John 2:6 “the one who says he abides in Him (Jesus) ought himself to walk in the SAME MANNER HE (Jesus) walked.” 1 John 3:8-10 “The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides IN him and HE CANNOT SIN, BECAUSE HE IS BORN OF GOD. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious; anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God. Nor the one who does not love his brother.”
The life of God IS righteous, therefore it MUST also live righteously. In other words it must be what it is! The children of God do not simply try to be righteous, the children of God ARE righteous and this is expressed in their lives BECAUSE their life is Christ Himself. If you are an actual believer you need to realize that “you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ IN God. When Christ who is OUR LIFE!…..” Col 3:3-4a.
Do you see? Having an appearance of righteousness does not make you any less a part of the world. Having a higher standard than others will not make you any different than the world. Only those who are actually born OF God, with God as their true source of identity and life, only they are: “not of the world.” 1 John 4:4-6 which was spoken to believers says:“You are OF God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is HE who is IN YOU, than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us, he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
The only way for anyone to not be OF the world requires a change of sources, we must have a different origin, a different Life. It is our actual source that determines what and whose we are, not our own standards and appearances.
You see, what is being called into question in this verse is our origin, it is a question of sources.
The religious world and the pagan world may differ in appearances, but they are both still the world and share the same source. However if we are truly not OF the world, due to the miracle of having been born of Him who IS LIGHT and therefore have become children OF Light, then, and only then are we no longer OF the world. We must see that this is the defining difference between the world and the children of God it is who their Father is, nothing less, nothing more!
To the true children of God there is a promise “But, because you are not OF the world, but I choose you out of the world, BECAUSE OF THIS, the world hates you.”