The World. When scripture uses the word “world” it usually means one of three things:
- The World-place (“the planet”). “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20)
- The World-people (“the people”). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
- The World-system (“the program”). “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)
The World System. Where did the world come from? What is the world characterized by? Where is it going? These are important questions to ask and have answered from the Word of God.
- Origin. If we go back to the beginning, we find the origin of the world-system in Genesis 4. “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord… and builded a city” (Gen. 4:17). Cain himself is known for bringing a bloodless sacrifice to the Lord, and committing murder. Then he went out from the presence of the Lord and set up a system in independence of God. Following Cain was a line of descendants that further developed aspects of that system; “Jabal was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle… Jubal was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ… Tubalcain [was] an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron” (Gen. 4:20-22).
- Character. We find the character of the world developed in the years leading up to the flood.
- Destiny. The destiny of the world-system is judgment.
Worldliness. Worldliness is the character of being like the world. The world is set in direct opposition to Christ. Even “the things of the world” should be shunned by the believer (1 John 2:15).
Results of Worldliness. As we survey the Word of God, we find that worldliness is at the root of many troubles that Christians experience. The book of Hosea is a tremendous thesis on worldliness. Worldliness:
- Offends the heart of God and Christ (Gal. 6:14; James 4:4; 2 Cor. 6:15; Hos. 3:1).
- Destroys communion with the Father and Christ (1 John 2:15; 2 Cor. 6:15, 18; Hos. 2:13).
- Weakens our appetite for spiritual food (Num. 11:5; Hos. 2:5).
- Loss of moral discernment (Judges 16; Hos. 7:8-11).
- Brings emptiness into our soul (Jer. 2:13; Psa. 106:15)
- Dampens the affections for fellow-believers (2 Cor. 6:14; Amos 3:3; Hos. 4:11).
- Spoil our effectiveness in service (2 Cor. 6:14; Hag. 1:6).
- Brings down the government of God on us (Gal. 6:8; Hos. 2:9; 4:17).