1 John 2:12–17 (NKJV)

John’s previous discussion to walk in the light, keeping God’s commandments, is followed up here with a discussion of the need to avoid the world, even avoiding all of its sinful temptations. This admonition is in light of the fact that they know the truth and are forgiven of their sins, so therefore, they should not go back.

12 I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
13 I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.
14 I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one.

1 John 2:12 – 14

John speaks directly to several groups or classes of people a rationale for their continued walk with God. He writes to the newly-born-again “little children” to continue serving God and rejecting the world because their sins are forgiven. He calls the fathers to continued holiness because they have known Him (God) who is eternal. He writes to the young men, because they have overcome the wicked one (the devil). He writes to all God’s children because they have known the Father. He writes to fathers again, restating their knowledge of the eternal God. He writes again to the young men because they are strong, with the word of God abiding within them, and he restates their overcoming the evil one. All of this poetic paragraph serves as a call to action on the part of those who are part of the family of God to live righteously and with commitment.

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 lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

1 John 2:15-17

To what does John call the family of God? He calls them to not love the world or the things of the world. Why? Because love of the world stands in the way of the love of the Father. You cannot serve God and the world. The competing affections cannot survive in human cohabitation. To love the world precludes the love of God. When Christians grasp this concept, they will see the need for holiness and separation from sinful lifestyles and actions. John goes further to utilize the oft-quoted categories of sin to describe what everyone faces in life: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

The lust of the flesh is all that the body desires: physical satisfaction in the form of food, drink, drugs, sexual fulfillment, and other temptations that can be faced when one’s physical desires come to bear on one’s mind. The lust of the eyes is a temptation for things seen. Tangible belongings that one does not need, or even items that belong to another, can tempt a believer to steal, covet, envy, or even to want another person’s spouse! Things that look good can tempt the heart of a man or woman, and are to be shunned, especially if they belong to someone else. However, even things that are available for possession or acquisition on a normal or regular basis that are not good for the individual in their particular situation can be a temptation. Overbuying with a car or house purchase, or going too far in debt can be sinful. Finally, the pride of life involves attitudes that can be manifested in actions. One’s arrogance or insistence on preeminence can be sinful. Ostentatious behavior or lifestyle can be sinful. Do not let pride come before your fall!

John also warns that this world and its tempting things will pass away. Temporary things that make your physical person feel good at the time will not last. Pretty things that tempt the eye will eventually rust, decay, or get old. Pride will only carry you so far, and then it will dump you on the side of the road. Depend on the eternal God to carry you to where you need to go. Doing His will is what will take you to the eternal home of Heaven. Follow God and not your desires or your flesh. Continue walking in the light, because He is in the light.

Artwork from https://imageproxy.youversionapi.com/1280×1280/https://s3.amazonaws.com/static-youversionapi-com/images/base/6032/1280×1280.jpg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s