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

What God wills He approves or loves. What God wills He is. If, then, He has an express will concerning us, it follows that when we know it we know all that vitally concerns us. There can be nothing above, behind, beyond it. The will of God is all. Knowing that, we know the nature of things; we know the character of virtue, we know what truth is, and goodness. We get to the source of law, obligation, authority. All are inseparably connected with, all indeed are contained in, the will of God. We ask, now, what the natural will of man is? Is it for or against the will of God? Against, unquestionably. Not that there is declared, or even in most cases very conscious, opposition. For it is not true that men to their own consciousness, and by direct acts of their own will, go against God. They fill their lives, or strive to do, without Him who is the alone abiding fulness, and direct their conduct without reference to His authority, and habitually act from principles which He condemns, and seek after ends which are different from and inconsistent with the great ends He has put before us all. Now remember that as in God, so in man, will is character. What a man wills settles what he is. And since men do will against the will of God the character and condition of man must be evil. What could be sin if this is not sin? And since God did not design man for this, since His ideal of the human creature and life is just the opposite of this, it follows that we are justly and honestly described as "fallen," "alienated," "depraved." It is always more or less touching to see feebleness matched against strength, even when the feebleness is all in the wrong and the strength is all in the right; and therefore, simply as a conflict, it is pitiful enough to see man in his frailty matching himself against the omnipotence and justice of God. But, viewed from the higher ground, it is even more terrible than it is touching. What can come of it? Nothing but destruction, nothing but the fate of that which changeth and "passeth away." Can a man will against time so as to stop the flow of its moments? Can a man will against space and put himself out of it, in thought even, not to say in act? Can a man will against mathematical or necessary truth by making two and two into five, or by changing himself into another being? He may do any of these things as soon as will against the will of God, and make his will prevail and succeed. Surely, then, it is evident that if there be a gospel — a message from God that shall be "good news" to a man — it must bear directly and effectually upon man's evil will. There are many ways of compendiously expressing the gospel, but a better it would be hard to find than this — that it is the good will of God overcoming the evil will of man. By means, no doubt, wondrous means! By His own self-sacrifice, by suffering love, by revelation of truth, by donation of the Spirit, because these are necessary elements for the case, the nature of man being such as to forbid the hope of any change being wrought in it by mere strength, by what we call omnipotence. Then the question of questions to a man must be this, "Am I now with my will doing the will of God?" Not, "Have I undergone a certain spiritual change? and have I had, subsequently, a requisite amount of spiritual experience?" But just this, "Am I yet a self-willed creature, or have I become one of the Saviour's willing people? Am I still keeping up the black, silent controversy of a misjudging heart with and against God? Or have I been won over, at least in spirit and will, although not yet perfectly in feeling and act, from self and sin to truth and love and God?" Happy he who can at once say, "I am of those who do the will of God. Through grace I am aiming at the life of whole and constant obedience." Happy he, for whoso thus doeth the will of God has entered the world of reality and permanence as one belonging to it. He, too, is going to abide forever, is now already in the ever-abiding state.

(A. Raleigh, 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.

National Worldliness
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