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"The World" According To God

Throughout scripture we see comments of Jesus saying things like "the world will hate you because it hated me first" in John 15:17-19, but who exactly is "the world"?  In Matthew 18:7 Jesus even warns "The World".  In John 1:10, John says that "the word" did not recognize Jesus for who he truly is.  John then later says that Jesus took away the sins of "the world".  And the more we see "the world" used we begin to see it in a locational sense and a representative sense.  It is the representative sense that we want to really focus in on.  When used in relation to mankind, what kind of people does it represent?

The use of the phrase "The World" is easily understood by the context.  In Romans 1:20 it is locational and geographic.  It is referring the planet earth and everything in it.  Romans 1:8 is referring to all known regions of the earth; again, locational.  But in Romans 10:18 we start to see something more than a plot of land or region of earth.  We see it referring to the parts of the earth where man inhabits; the inhabited 'world'.  This gets into "the world" that refers to mankind and not a locational region of earth. 

Who Is "The World" Referring To?

In Romans 5:12-13 "The World" refers to all people.  Jesus says in John 15:17-19 that "the world" hated him and John says "the world" does not recognize Jesus as God (John 1:10).  Just with these 3 verses scripture defined "The World" in this contextual sense as:

All the people from any culture at any time that do not believe in Jesus.

The World is made up of all kinds of cultures, people groups, time periods, traditions, languages, genetic features, types of government, and spread throughout the earth.  But they all share one important characteristic; they do not believe in Jesus.  These people are not able to come to Jesus because of spiritual forces that have them trapped and blinded (Eph 6:12, Col 2:20, Gal 4:3).

The World's Values and Systems:

"The World" does not see and understand the things of God.  It is under direct control and influence of Satan (1 John 5:19).  Satan is allowed to give things to the people of the world to keep them enslaved (Matthew 4:8).  It is lead to invent its own ways and ideas; all kinds for different people.  It supports its own invented ideas and encourages those who subscribe to them (1 John 4:5, Rev 13:8).  The world sees people as 'poor' but God sees them as rich (James 2:5).  "The World" will say things that are 'good' and acceptable but are in truth, evil (Is 5:20).  And its system of morals and beliefs will be openly and secretly contradicting God (2 Tim 3:1-15).  It is these differences that make "the world" extremely hostile to God.  The world positions itself to be an enemy of the one true God (James 4:4).  But at the end, it will not last (1 John 2:17). 

Also see our article: Wealth, Status, and encouragement

What are specific Worldly Values?

This is not a comprehensive list of characteristics of what "The World" calls 'good' but it hits a lot of areas of life.  Simply put, everything that God prohibits, "the world" invents an excuse or justification to do.  This list of 31 evils come from what is explicitly stated in 1 Tim 1:9-10, 2 Tim 3:1-5, 4:3, and 1 Cor 6:9.  It is these things Jesus Christ frees us from but it is these things "the world" in some way or another will try and paint as 'good' when they are in fact evil (Is 5:20).
  1. lovers of self,
  2. lovers of money,
  3. proud,
  4. arrogant,
  5. abusive,
  6. disobedient to their parents, for those who strike their fathers and mothers,
  7. ungrateful,
  8. unholy,
  9. heartless,
  10. unappeasable,
  11. slanderous,
  12. without self-control,
  13. brutal,
  14. not loving good (Godly good),
  15. treacherous,
  16. reckless,
  17. swollen with conceit,
  18. lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
  19. having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power
  20. not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions
  21. the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who practice homosexuality,
  22. nor thieves,
  23. nor the greedy,
  24. nor drunkards,
  25. nor revilers,
  26. nor swindlers
  27. lawless and disobedient,
  28. profane,
  29. murderers,
  30. enslavers,
  31. whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine (scripture)
(1 Tim 1:9-10, 2 Tim 3:1-5, 4:3, 1 Cor 6:9)

The Portion Given To Christ:

But there is still another part of "The World".  Because at one point we were all part of "the world" and did not believe in Jesus.  But parts of the world are now saved and going to be saved through Jesus (Gal 4:3, Eph 1:4, 2:12).   It is that portion of the world that was redeemed and reconciled (2 Cor 5:19, Gal 6:14).  Now, Christians, are just "in the world" and no longer "of the world" because we have been adopted and set apart (John 15:19, 17:14, 2 Cor 10:3-4, 1 John 3:1).  This separation from the world causes struggles with "the world" (1 Peter 5:9).  Because true believers look more and more like Christ, "the world" will hate them (1 John 3:3) and they will without a doubt come out of the world and not think or live like the world (1 John 5:4-5). 

Also see our articles: The Joy of TRUTH and Christains that are 'too christain'

The Dividing Factor:

The Gospel is the dividing factor between those who have been redeemed from the world and just in the world and those who are still of the world (1 Tim 1:15, 1 John 4)

Also see our article: Break Down of The Gospel Message and Jesus Is God

Backsliding And Apostasy:

After being brought out of "the world" we strive to keep from going back to it (James 1:27) But what is it then that makes us like the world again?  It always begins with becoming 'friends' and having a close supportive relationship with 'the world' again (James 4:4).  Building that closeness with the things of the world will then leads us to become entangled in the world and corrupted (2 Peter 2:20, Luke 6:26).  Then loving the worldly values and systems over God is one sure clue of apostasy (1 John 2:15-17). 

Also see our articles: If Your Not Fighting Sin, Your Living It. and When a Church is no longer part of The Body of Christ

Worldly Christians:

This is an oxymoron.  There can not be a person who is a worldly Christian.  Either someone believes the person and work of Jesus Christ and has been born again or they don't and haven't.  They may think they are, but believe a lie or they make up their own Jesus to worship (2 Peter 2:11, Matthew 7:21-23).  Scripture warns of False Prophets and Teachers all over the place.  They will even look and act like Christians but lead people into sin (Matthew 7:15, 24:11).  Some may even be able to do amazing things that seem to prove they are of God, but really aren't (Matthew 24:24, Mark 13:22).  Those who genuinely love God are called to test every spirit because of this fact (1 John 4:1).  Again, the recognition and belief in the true gospel is the dividing factor (1 John 4:3, 2 John 1:7). 

Also see our articles; Essentials of The Gospel Message, The American Christian Religion, and When Our Faith is Just Lip Service

Where Are You?

Do you come at odds with worldly people in your values and beliefs?  Have you been persecuted because of your open faith in Jesus Christ?  If you answer no, you may want to reflect on how you have been reflecting Jesus Christ in your daily life.  Jesus is clear and blunt that his followers WILL be hated and WILL be persecuted (Matt 24:9, John 15:17-19).  So either Jesus is wrong, or you may be a little worldly.

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