The Christian and the World

by Pastor J. C. O'Hair

For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.

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“BUT GOD FORBID THAT I SHOULD GLORY, SAVE IN THE CROSS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, BY WHOM THE WORLD IS CRUCIFIED UNTO ME, AND I UNTO THE WORLD.” Galatians 6:14.

According to the Word of God, Christians are both dead and alive, however paradoxical it may seem. In Colossians 3:3 we have the statement concerning Christians, “Ye are dead.” It is for this reason that they are instructed to set their affections on things above, not on things on the earth. In these verses, it is seen that in the mind of God the believer is dead to the things on earth. In John 1:10 is recorded the fact that the Christ Who made all things was in the world and the world knew Him not. The statement is, “the world was made by Him.” “All things were made by Him.” John 1:3. When Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners He came unto His own world and His own Nation received Him not. When He came to be the Saviour of the world He did not find the world as He originally created it. The world as He found it, and as it is at present, is described in I John 2:16, which we quote

“FOR ALL THAT IS IN THE WORLD, THE LUST OF THE FLESH, AND THE LUST OF THE EYES. AND THE PRIDE OF LIFE, IS NOT OF THE FATHER, BUT IS OF THE WORLD.”

It was Satan, the Prince of this world, who brought the world to this condition. But in spite of the world’s lustful condition, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. And then follows the statement in John 3:17:

“For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Such a world surely was already condemned and deserved the righteous condemnation of God’s Holy Son. But His attitude toward the world is expressed in His words to a woman caught in sin, “Neither do I condemn thee.” God loved the world and sent His Son, by Whom He made the world, to be the Saviour of the world, and not to condemn the world. But the world so hated God that it spurned His love and murdered His Son.

Concerning His own people Christ said, “they hated Me without a cause.” “The world knew Him not.” “Which none of the rulers of this world knew; for had they known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” I Corinthians 2:8. To one ruler the Son of God said, “My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is My kingdom not from hence.” John 18:36. “My kingdom is not of this world.” He had said in John 8:23: “I am not of this world.” Out of the world the Father gave some believers to Christ. Concerning this little flock He prayed to His Father in theses words:

“I have given them Thy Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

“I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14, 15 and 16 From these words of the Lord Jesus we learn that His redeemed ones are in the world but not counted by Him as being of the world; having been given to Him out of the world. To them He said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. To them He also said,

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.”

“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:18 and 19.

Shortly before Christ uttered these words He had said to His disciples “Now is the Judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” John 12:31. He spoke of His death on the cross. There He was crucified by the world.

Christ was not of this world. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. Christ’s redeemed ones are not of this world. So long as any individual sinner remains in the world and of the world, he is guilty with the world of the crucifixion of the Creator of the world. He is dead in trespasses and sins, condemned and lost. His only hope for justification, and life, and righteousness is faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ. By the redemptive work of Christ the believing sinner is delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love. To be in Christ’s kingdom, which is not of this world, is to be seated with Him and in Him in the heavenlies. The believer is not condemned; but is accepted in Christ and complete in Him.

In the study of the Epistle to the Galatians we note the three-fold crucifixion of the believer. We quote Galatians 2:20— Galatians 5:24— Galatians 6:14:

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

In the sixth chapter of Romans we learn that the believer is crucified and dead to sin. “He that is dead is freed from sin.” Romans 6:7. So God’s Word teaches that the believer is crucified to the law; crucified to the flesh; crucified to sin; and crucified to the world. It is the crucified sinner to whom God speaks in I John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things of the world.”

According to the Word of God, the unbeliever walks according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air; and being without God in the world, he is without hope, because he will not receive Christ, the sinner’s only Hope. Ephesians 2:1 and 12.

“Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4.

The believer is of God, “and the whole world lieth in the evil one.” I John 5:19. “The world by wisdom knew not God.” I Corinthians 1:21. So most assuredly God does not instruct the sinner, who is in the world and of the world, to love not the world. Whether it be the political world, or the religious world, or the pleasure-seeking world, or the wisdom of this world, the whole world is in the evil one, and is not of God.

The expression “worldly Christian” seems paradoxical, because the Christian is not of the world. “If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” Romans 6:8. The believer is alive unto God through Christ. Romans 6:11. The Christian may abstain from worldly pleasures, such as dancing, card-playing, theatre-going, and have victory over habits that are called immoral habits and still be worldly, even without yielding to the lust of the flesh. The world, that is not of the Father, includes the pride of life. A Christian can be spoiled by a worldly education, discounting God’s statement, “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God”; by failing or neglecting to heed this warning of God; “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8.

They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, and these lusts include the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye, which are of this world which is hastening on to the judgment of God by Christ Jesus. Acts 17:31. But in this day of intellectual pride when men and women boasting of their modern scholarship, are heady, high-minded, wise in their own conceits, and presumptuous enough to demand for this twentieth century civilization a modern interpretation of Christianity, contrary to the plain teachings of Christ and His apostles, Christians must be exceedingly careful not to be worldly wise and identified in their thinking with the group of the world included in “the pride of life”.

When believers compromise with the world, either as to the wisdom of this world, with its intellectual and religious pride, or in the matter of worldly pleasures, they cannot obey the Word of God in which the believer is instructed to “be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15. While the Saviour was on earth He said, “As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.” John 9:5. To His disciples He said, “ye are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14. And while it is still true that this is the condemnation that Light has come into the world and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil and will not come to the Light lest their deeds should be reproved, it is the duty and blessed privilege of the Christian to keep the light of Christ shining in this dark world, never forgetting, that Satan is the prince of the world, the god of this age, the prince of the power of the air, at the head of the rulers of the darkness of this world, and that not one of his prisoners can be delivered from him and his darkness except through that great Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. John 3:17 to 20. John 1:9 and Ephesians 6:12.

“We should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” Titus 2:12.

For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.