The World: The Earth, Its People, Its Culture

God created the earth as a physical location. It is the abode of plants, animals and human beings. It contains mountains, trees, rivers, oceans. Earth is the name for the planet in which we live but can also be used to describe the very dirt on which we walk. You can cut into the earth (the ground) with a shovel or a plow. The earth is sometimes used in contrast with the sky. In 1 Cor 15, Paul is explaining the composition of the physical body which he calls “earthy,” or made of earth (dirt).

1 Cor 15:45-49 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. NASB

“The world” is something altogether different from the earth. “The world” is a metaphysical or spiritual location. It is a moral and philosophical environment in which to live. “The world” is a way of thinking and evaluating. The Greek word in Strong’s Concordance for “the world” is kosmos (kos’-mos); an orderly arrangement (of things, thoughts, ideas, precepts, values), by implication, the world, in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively [morally]. The world is NOT, however, the physical earth. It is often used to mean a spiritual realm that operates within the physical earth. In the bible, the contrasting and competing realm to the world is the Kingdom of Heaven, another spiritual realm that operates within the earth.

In Mt 13:36-40 below, the field that is the world is the hearts of men, not a metaphor for the physical earth. Nor is the world used to describe the people on earth. In this allegory, those would be the wheat and the tares.

Matt 13:36-40 Then He left the multitudes, and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 And He answered and said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. NASB

The earth and the world are technically not the same thing. The earth is guided by divinely-inspired scientific principles. The world was to be governed or directed by God’s Torah, His basic operating principles (See Ps 19:1-14 below). Verses 1-6 poetically describe the wonder of the physical earth God created. Verses 7-10 describe the operating principles of the metaphysical world. Verses 11-14 warn us how we can be seduced away from God’s design for our lives and well-being.

Ps 19:1-6 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 2 Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words. Their voice is not heard. 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth and their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 5 which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber. It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. 6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Ps 19:7-10 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. 10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.

Ps 19:11-14 Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned. In keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. 13 Also keep back Thy servant from presumptuous sins. Let them not rule (dominion) over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

God created the earth. He owns everything He has created, and that includes mankind whom He both created AND ransomed from Satan, our captor.

Ps 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.

Ps 89:11-12 The heavens are Thine, the earth also is Thine. The world and all it contains, Thou hast founded them. 12 The north and the south, Thou hast created them;… NASB

1 Cor 10:26 … for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. NASB

1 Cor 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body. NASB

1 Cor 7:23-24 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. NASB

God made mankind the ruler of the earth, the steward over all of creation.

Gen 1:28-29 And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” NASB

The uncorrupted world originally revealed the thinking of God concerning what is good and what is not good. Then the world became corrupted by mankind through the deceit of Satan. The fall of man corrupted both the earth and the world by sin. The earth became futile in its function (Rom 8:19-25) and the world became futile in its thinking (Eph 4:17-32). Jesus came to set us free from our futility and restore our thinking and behavior to its pre-Fall condition. In other words, He came to redeem the world.

Rom 5:12-13 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned — 13 for until the Law sin was in the world; …NASB

Rom 8:19-25 For the anxious longing of the creation (the earth) waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. NASB

Eph 4:17-24 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

The first eight verses (Eph 4:17-24 above) tell us that our worldly (cultural) thinking and our values are broken. The last eight verses (Eph 4:25-32 below) tell us how we should think and behave in an unfallen or redeemed world.

Eph 4:25-32 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. NASB

Satan was the agent who deceived mankind to their peril. Mankind abandoned his God-given stewardship and submitted himself to Satan, the world became dark and the people became lost. Satan is now the ruler of this world, but he is not the ruler of the earth itself. So, he deceives mankind into destroying both the world and the earth.

1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. NASB

2 Cor 4:3-4 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. NASB

John 12:31-32 “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out. NASB

John 14:30-31 “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 31 but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go from here. NASB

Ultimately, Satan will be cast out and the world will be restored. This process began with the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth announced by both John the Baptist and Jesus Himself. It will culminate in the Second Coming of Jesus, the Christ (Messiah), Who will rule the whole earth and all of its people for 1000 years.

Matt 3:1-3 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness. ‘Make ready the way of the Lord. Make His paths straight! NASB

Matt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” NASB

Matt 6:9-13 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. 10 ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.]’ NASB

Rev 11:15-17 And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying, “We give Thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who art and who wast, because Thou hast taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign. NASB

Rev 12:9-12 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death. NASB

“The world” as used in Scripture

The Bible uses the term “the world” 246 times in total, 206 in the New Testament alone. The New Testament scriptures use the term “the world” in three distinct ways having three distinct meanings. It is important that we understand how “the world” is being used in any scripture if we want to properly understand what is being said.

First, some scriptures use “the world” to mean the metaphysical world versus the physical earth or the people. Jesus told Pilate (among others) that His kingdom was “not of this world,” and yet He was clearly an inhabitant of the physical earth (Jn 8:23. 18:36).

Eph 2:1-7 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. NASB

Paul told the Ephesians (above) that they were formerly of this world but were now no longer so. They were now of Christ and His heavenly kingdom. Yet they were still people of the earth, living on earth. By “this world” he means the metaphysical, moral realm, not the physical earth.

Matt 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. NASB

John 8:12 Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” NASB

In Jn 8:12 and Mt 5:14, Jesus tells us He (and eventually “we”) is/are the light of the world. He does not mean the light of the physical earth, the sun. He is referring to being a light (bringing illumination or understanding) into a moral, intellectual environment or system: the culture, the thinking of the people, the world. This usage of “the world” refers to the culture, the thinking and values embraced by the people in the earth.

Matt 13:22 “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. NASB

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (versus “the earth” or “the people”) NASB

Here in Jn 16:33, Jesus is again referring to “the culture” or the moral system of the people of the earth. He has not yet conquered the people on earth who resist Him, nor has He “overcome” the physical earth. He will do both of these things when He returns at the Second Coming. He means that He has defeated the thinking and values of the culture.

John 8:23 And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. NASB

Here in Jn 8:23, Jesus is telling the Pharisees that they are “of this world,” but He is “not of this world.” Jesus and the Pharisees are both humans, so He is not referring to the people. They were both on the earth, so He is not referring to “the physical earth.” However, the Pharisees are supporters of the culture of the earth while Jesus is a supporter of the Kingdom of Heaven. In this case, Jesus means “the culture” when He speaks about “the world.”

At other times, “the world” can be applied to the physical earth itself.

John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written. NASB

Acts 11:28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. NASB

Job 18:18-19 “He (the wicked man) is driven from light into darkness, and chased from the inhabited world. 19 “He has no offspring or posterity among his people, nor any survivor where he sojourned. NASB

Finally, “the world” is often used to refer to the people of the world. This is a synecdoche; i.e., using a part to describe a whole or the whole to describe a part. The strong right arm of the Green Bay Packers led them to victory. (It was actually Brett Favre or Aaron Rogers who led them down the field). Today, at dawn, the US attacked Baghdad. (It was actually the US army that attacked Baghdad, not all of the population of the country).

Sometimes unbelievers are specifically meant by the use of the terms, “the world” or “of the world” while the believers are spoken of as “of the Kingdom of God” and “not of this world.” They are seen as followers of a moral and philosophical system versus as inhabitants of a location of place (earth).

John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. NASB

John 16:8-11 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. NASB

John 16:20-21 “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy. NASB

John 17:6-9 “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word. 7 “Now they have come to know that everything Thou hast given Me is from Thee; 8 for the words which Thou gavest Me I have given to them; and they received them, and truly understood that I came forth from Thee, and they believed that Thou didst send Me. 9 “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, … NASB

John 17:14-16 “I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. NASB

How Then Should We Relate to “the World?”

Our job is to enlighten the world by our witness; i.e., the way we live. The Greek word for “witness” is martyr, so it should come as no surprise that our witness may involve dying to ourselves and difficulty, even tribulation. Witness is about how we live, not what we say.

Matt 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 “Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. NASB

1 Peter 5:6-11 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. NASB

James 1:27 This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. NASB
Mark 8:34-36 And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it. NASB

We are to live in the world but be guided by the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven as a visible contrast to the way the world lives. We are to be God’s representatives, His workers in the world, ambassadors for Jesus, assisting Him in His efforts to reconcile the world to the Father.

Matt 6:31-34 “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ 32 “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. NASB

Matt 9:35-38 And Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. 36 And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” NASB

2 Cor 5:17-21 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. NASB

First, we will need to extricate ourselves from the culture of this world and its influence upon our mind. That will require the power of the Holy Spirit to sanctify us, because we cannot sanctify ourselves. Only the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives can accomplish that. But the Holy Spirit cannot do sanctify us if we do not seek it.

Acts 2:37-40 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 “For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” NASB

Matt 6:31-34 “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ 32 “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. NASB

1 Thess 5:23-24 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. NASB

It was intended from our baptism that we should become entirely sanctified, that we leave the world’s culture behind and enter the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, that we become a new creature, that we live by a new set of values, and that we become fully reconciled to the Father. Then we will become His ambassadors in the world.

2 Cor 5:17-21 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. NASB

Gal 5:16-26 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. NASB

We need the Holy Spirit to help us see that the thinking and values of the world are corrupt. We need to let Him renew our minds so we can become mature citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, conformed to the image of God’s Son.

John 17:15-18 “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. NASB

Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. NASB

1 Cor 3:18-21 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.”

Rom 12:1-2 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. NASB

We need to see the battle and join with like-minded people on the side of God and His Kingdom. We need to actively make a choice and take a stand. We need to recognize and embrace the cost of discipleship.

Mark 3:24-26 “And if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 “And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. NASB

Luke 18:28-30 And Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own homes, and followed You.” 29 And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life. ” NASB

Acts 14:21-23 And after they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” NASB

We must not love the world (the culture). It is perverse, corrupted and anti-God, and we should not be surprised when it does not love us. (Jesus said we should be concerned when the world approves of us.)

1 John 3:13-14 Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates you. NASB

Luke 6:26 “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets. NASB

We must, however, love the people of the world. Although they may do things that are perverse or evil, they are not perverse or evil. They are merely captured as once were we. In Jn 2:15-17 below, “the world” is clearly seen to be behaviors or culture, not people. James 4:4 speaks against friendship with the world. It clearly means the culture. In contrast, 1 Cor 5:9-10 tells us that we are assigned by God to befriend the people of the world so we can reconcile them to God. We are not called to judge unbelievers. That is God’s job.

1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world, nor 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 and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever. NASB

James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. NASB

1 Cor 5:9-13 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man (Christian brother) from among yourselves. NASB

We are called to join with Jesus to set the captives free. We need to go out among them, loving them as God does. It is this love that Jesus came to teach us that will allow us to overcome the world. We need to resist the Devil (and his culture) but embrace the people of the world with humility, grace and acceptance. You cannot witness to someone you despise or judge.

Luke 4:16-19 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, 19 to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” NASB

1 John 4:16-17 And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. NASB

1 John 5:2-6 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. 5 And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? NASB