James 4:4Amplified Bible (AMP)
4 You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.
We often hear this being preached in the church today. The problem is not that this being preached but how it is being interpreted.
The motto of Christianity today is “‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’” We call this holiness. We term this as “coming out of the world”. Do you know the Bible actually calls this “worldliness”?
Colossians 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you STILL BELONGED TO THE WORLD, do you submit to its rules:
21 ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.
23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Are you bemused and bewildered?
Here are some questions I have always bothered me.
We often have people telling us that we must overcome the world otherwise we will be blot out from the book of life.
They quote Revelation on this. Hence to them, there is no such thing as “once saved always saved”.
There are 2 things you learn here.
Here’s one. You have already overcome the world.
1 John 5:4-5
for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Why do we tell people not to be worldly when we have already overcome it?
Here’s no. 2.
Now that you know how to overcome the world and had done it, you would also realize it was written at a time of transition between Law and Grace.
You see dear friends. When you believed Jesus you have already overcome the world. The world is no longer your master.
This means you are no longer subjected to the world. The world is subjected to you.
This means you are in a new world. A “ heaven and new earth”. That’s the name Charles Spurgeon called the New Covenant.
Please follow me closely here.
I DO NOT ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one.
16 They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world.
Jesus has already said “you are not of the world” but note that it is “in the world” you become not of the world.
2 Corinthians 5:19
It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).
If God has reconciled the world to favor with Himself, why would want to destroy it by fire? What Peter meant is the destruction of temple and Jerusalem.
Hence, when the Bible says this, it must mean totally something else.
And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
For years we labored under the impression that not to be conformed to the world means living a life of denial, sacrifice or even kill themselves for the fear of being contaminated by the “evils of this world”.
I thank God the Amplified Bible actually translates this passage accurately. See what it says…
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
Notice what it says “this age”. What Paul is speaking about is the age of the Old Covenant. He is saying that they are now going through a transitional period where there is going to be a righteousness that is imparted by the Father through the finished work of Jesus. Hence to the Jews, to continue to comply the Law is worldliness.
1 Corinthians 2:6
Yet when we are among the full-grown (spiritually mature Christians who are ripe in understanding), we do impart a [higher] wisdom (the knowledge of the divine plan previously hidden); but it is indeed not a wisdom of this present age or of this world nor of the leaders and rulers of this age, who are being brought to nothing and are doomed to pass away.
Notice this not wisdom of this PRESENT AGE OR THIS WORLD. The rulers of this age is pointing to the people who teach a “do good get good, do bad get bad” teaching: being justified by the Law. You can clearly see who Paul meant, by rulers of the age.
“8 None of the rulers of this age or world perceived and recognized and understood this, for if they had, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.”
It is the Jewish of the generation Jesus came to. The very last days of the Old Covenant.
Hence you become worldly when you refuse to move from the Old Covenant into the New.