Does “love not the world” mean to renounce all worldly pleasures like listening to pop music or watching movies? Or does the “world” refer to the deserving system of the world based on do’s and don’ts, as opposed to God’s system of undeserved favour?
Samuel Mathew wrote an enlightening article on this topic.
1 John 2:15-17
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.
The apostle John exhorts us, not to love the world and the things in the world namely the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. For these things are not of the Father, but of the world.
The “world” here refers to the world’s system in general. The whole world runs by the system of knowing right & wrong, good & evil and doing the good or right thing as much as possible. The reward is determined by one’s performance. The driving forces behind this system are called the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. The flesh denotes human strength and ability. The flesh always wants to live life based on one’s strength, will-power and ability. The prospect of living a life based on one’s resources and ability and achieving the end result looks very appealing (lust of the eyes). Pride in one’s ability is also a factor.
Verse 16 says that this system is not of the Father. In the garden of Eden, God told man, not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. God never wanted man to live by knowing good & evil or right & wrong (Law), but He wanted them to live by eating from the tree of Life (God’s life). God made them in His image and likeness — just like Him. All they had to do was to live by His life and enjoy everything that He had created for them to enjoy freely. He did not give them 10 or 15 rules or principles on how to live a holy, moral, successful and prosperous life. The only command he gave them was to stay away from living by knowing good and evil or living by rules or principles. He warned them that eating that fruit would result in death.
But the tempter came and told Eve that eating this fruit would cause her to be like God. Remember, they were already like God, not by any of their works, but because they were created in His image and likeness. So Satan, put this idea in the mind of Eve, that she could be like God by her own doing and not by how God made her to be. She decided that she wanted to be like God, independent of God, by her own works by knowing good & evil. Gen 3:6 says that the woman saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh) and it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes) and a tree desired to make one wise (pride of life). By eating that fruit, man implemented this system of works or performance for the whole humanity.
Beloved, are you still eating from that forbidden tree by living by knowing good & evil or rules & regulations or are you living by the tree of life (the life of Jesus in you)? Living by rules and commandments may appear very good, may boost your ego by your performance and will satisfy your flesh, but the end result is death. Are you satisfied with how God has made you to be like Him — holy and righteous in Christ Jesus or are you trying to become like God by your holy living and good works? Verse 17 says that the world and its system will pass away, but he who does the will of the Father will abide forever. The will of the Father for you is to believe on the good news of the removal of your sins by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, whereby He has made you perfectly holy and righteous, just like Him, free from any of your works!