The World and the Father
1 John 2:15-17
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.…

We talk of sons going out into the world. Hitherto they have been dwelling in the house of their father. Day by day they have had experience of his care and government. This going out into the world we speak of as if it were a loss of some of these blessings. It may be a loss of them altogether; the father and the father's house may be altogether forgotten. The world may seem to us a good world, because it sets us free from the restraints of the family in which we have been brought up. But, on the other hand, all children look forward to this time of going out into the world. Their fathers encourage them to look forward to it; they tell them their discipline in the nursery has been intended to prepare them for the world. Well, St. John is regarding these Ephesians as members of one family in different stages of their growth. Children, young men, fathers, are all treated as sons of God and as brothers of each other. St. John would have them understand that what is true in particular families is true also of this great family. There is a time of childhood, a time when the name of a Father, and the care of a Father, and the forgiveness of a Father, are all in all. But while St. John looks thus encouragingly and hopefully upon these youths he also wishes them to be alive to the danger of their new position. They may forget their heavenly Father's house, just as any child may forget his earthly father's house. And the cause will be the same. The attractions of the outward world are likely to put a great chasm between one period of their life and another; these may cause that the love of the Father shall not be in them. But are the cases parallel? The family of my parents is manifestly separated from the general world; to pass from one to the other is a great change indeed. But is not the world God's world? Is not the order which we see His order? How then can these young men be told that they are not to love that which He, in whose image they are created, is said so earnestly to love? Assuredly it is God's world, God's order. And how has disorder come into this order? — for that it is there we all confess. It has come from men falling in love with this order, or with some of the things in it, and setting them up and making them into gods. It has come from each man beginning to dream that he is the centre, either of this world or of some little world that he has made for himself out of it. This selfish love is the counterfeit of God's self-sacrificing love; the counterfeit, and therefore its great antagonist. The Father's love must prevail over this, or it will drive that Father's love out of us. Here, then, are good reasons why the young men shall not love the world, neither the things that are in the world. For if they do, first, their strength will forsake them; they will give up the power that is in them to the things on which the power is to be exerted; they will be ruled by that which they are meant to rule. Next, they will not have any real insight into these things or any real sympathy with them. Those who love the world, those who surrender themselves to it, never understand it, never in the best sense enjoy it; they are too much on the level of it — yes, too much below the level of it — for they look up to it, they depend upon it — to be capable of contemplating it and of appreciating what is most exquisite in it. Some will say, "But these young men to whom St. John wrote were godly young men, to whom he gave credit for all right and holy purposes." I believe it; and therefore such words as these were all the more necessary for them. "Love not the world." For there is a love in you that the world did not kindle, that your heavenly Father has kindled; love it not, lest you should be turned into worldlings, whose misery is their incapacity of loving anything.

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

WEB: Don't love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love isn't in him.

The Peril of Worldliness
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