The Guileless Spirit
1 John 2:17
And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God stays for ever.

I. THE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE WORLD is that it does not "do the will of God"; it is the sphere or region in which the will of God is not done. As not doing the will of God, the world and its lust must pass away, for it is identical with the darkness which is passing. Passing! But it is passing to where it wilt pass no more, but stay, fixed unchangeably forever. It is not annihilated, it does not cease to be, it only ceases to be passing. Have you ever thought how much of the world's endurableness — I say not its attractiveness but its endurableness — depends on its being a world that passes, and therefore changes? Is there any sensation, any delight, any rapture of worldly joy, however engrossing, that you could bear to have prolonged indefinitely, forever, unaltered, unalterable? But I put the case too favourably. I speak of your finding the world with its lust, not passing but abiding, in the place whither you yourselves pass when you pass hence. True, you find it there. But you find it not as you have it here. There are means and appliances here for quenching by gratification, or mitigating by variety, its impetuous fires. But there you find it where these fires burn, unslaked, unsolaced, the world being all within and the world's lust, and nothing outside but the Holy One. Place yourself with your loved world and its cherished lust where you and it and God are alone together, with nothing of God's providing that you can use or abuse for your relief. Your creature comforts are not there with you. Nothing of this earth, which is the Lord's, is there; nothing of its beauty or its bounty, its grace or loveliness or warm affection; nothing of that very bustle and distraction and change which dissipates reflection and drowns remorse; nothing but your worldly lust, your conscience, and your God. That is hell, the hell to which the world is passing.

II. But now let us turn to A BRIGHTER PICTURE. "He that doeth the will of God abideth forever." Suppose that the world has passed away and the lust thereof. Does it follow that the earth is dissolved or perishes? Nay, it remains. And whatever in it or about it is of God remains. This abode of men is to be assimilated thoroughly to yonder abode of angels in respect of the will of God being alike done in both. That at all events is the heavenly state, let its localities be adjusted as they may. But the precise point of his statement is not adequately brought out unless we connect and identify the future and the present. There may be stages of advancement and varieties of experience, a temporary break, perhaps, in the outer continuity of your thread of life, between the soul's quitting the body to be with Christ where now He is and its receiving the body anew at His coming hither again. But substantially you are now as you are to be always.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

WEB: The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God's will remains forever.

The Evanescent and the Enduring in Human History
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