Author: Angelique Geeringh
When the word 'world' is used in the New Testament, it's a translation of the Greek word 'cosmos'. 'Cosmos' most often refers to the planet earth and its human inhabitants. In this day and age, many people live their lives with their backs turned toward God. Satan is the prince of this 'cosmos'. Even Jesus called him that in John 12:31 (also John 16:11). The Apostle John mentions that the 'whole world is under the control of the evil one' (1 John 5:19).
Basically, the system of the world is ruled by Satan and we really don't want to be a part of that. Awesomely enough, Jesus says that those who believe in Him are no longer a part of that cosmos—sin has no power over us, and we don't have to be trapped by the evil principles of the world. Even more awesome is that belief in Christ causes us to change. Our hearts will be less interested in the things of the world as we strive to be more like Jesus.
So if we aren't ruled by Satan and sin anymore, that's great, but the reality is we still live here and the only way to make this work is to clearly understand that Jesus has given us freedom from that evil. We may be physically present ('in the world'), but we don't have to be a part of its values ('of the world'). We're set apart from the wickedness of the world as we seek to live a holy, righteous life. Jesus Himself states this clearly in John 17:14-16 (NLV).
'I have given Your Word to My followers. The world hated them because they do not belong to the world, even as I do not belong to the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world. I ask You to keep them from the devil. My followers do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world.'
Keep in mind that just because this world is not our home, that doesn't mean we should despise it. We can still enjoy the world, such as the beautiful creation God has given us. However, there is a dangerous darkness here that we must avoid. The world's values are not the things Jesus values. The world's pleasures are not the pleasures of an ambassador of Christ, tempting as they may be. Personal pleasure is no longer our goal in life, but rather the worship of God and living our lives as light in the darkness.
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