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The Epistles of John (Part 13): 1 John 2:15

by Stephen Hebert on Monday - 11 June 2007

in Biblical Studies, New Testament

This is the 13th part in an ongoing series on the Epistles of John.

English Standard Version Nestle-Aland 27
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Μὴ ἀγαπᾶτε τὸν κόσμον μηδὲ τὰ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ τὸν κόσμον, οὐκ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ πατρὸς ἐν αὐτῷ·

After the poetry of 1 John 2:12–14, John now offers an exhortation. He sets up a strict dichotomy that makes impossible love both for the world and for God. It is interesting the way John phrases this. He first says that we should “not love the world nor the things in the world.” Those who do not obey this command do not have the Father’s love.

What does this mean? It does not say that those who do not obey this command are unable to love the Father. Nor does it say that those who do not obey this command cannot or do not love the Father. Rather, it appears that those who do not obey this command do not possess the Father’s love.

It is hard to explain, but there is something to this notion of possessing the Father’s love. For me personally, I know that upon becoming a Christian there was a new sense of love that I experienced. Not only did I feel loved, but I felt a little more like loving.

A lot of people would probably tell you that I have the capacity to be a callous individual. How much more callous I would be had God not transformed me! When God abides in you (I use “abide” because that’s what John’s been using), His sense of love is passed right into your being. Christians have a greater capacity for love due to the fact that they possess the Father’s love.

I think that for 1 John 2:15, we shouldn’t be so concerned with this idea that loving the world means we cannot love the Father. Rather, we should realize that loving the world, and the things in the world, means that we will not have the Father’s capacity for love, because we are no longer filling ourselves with Him—instead, we are gorging ourselves on the worldly.

What a tragedy this is. What a tragedy to muddle through life unable both to feel and to experience the love of the Father.

Article Series - The Epistles of John

  1. The Epistles of John (Part 1): 1 John 1:1–4
  2. The Epistles of John (Part 2): 1 John 1:5
  3. The Epistles of John (Part 3): 1 John 1:6–7
  4. The Epistles of John (Part 4): 1 John 1:8–10
  5. The Epistles of John (Part 5): 1 John 2:1
  6. The Epistles of John (Part 6): 1 John 2:2
  7. The Epistles of John (Part 7): 1 John 2:3–6
  8. The Epistles of John (Part 8): 1 John 2:7–8
  9. The Epistles of John (Part 9): 1 John 2:9–11
  10. The Epistles of John (Part 10): 1 John 2:12
  11. The Epistles of John (Part 11): 1 John 2:13
  12. The Epistles of John (Part 12): 1 John 2:14
  13. The Epistles of John (Part 13): 1 John 2:15
  14. The Epistles of John (Part 14): 1 John 2:16
  15. The Epistles of John (Part 15): 1 John 2:17
  16. The Epistles of John (Part 16): 1 John 2:18
  17. The Epistles of John (Part 17): 1 John 2:19
  18. The Epistles of John (Part 18): 1 John 2:20
  19. The Epistles of John (Part 19): 1 John 2:21
  20. The Epistles of John (Part 20): 1 John 2:22
  21. The Epistles of John (Part 21): 1 John 2:23–25
  22. The Epistles of John (Part 22): 1 John 2:26–27
  23. The Epistles of John (Part 23): 1 John 2:28
  24. The Epistles of John (Part 24): 1 John 2:29
  25. The Epistles of John (Part 25): 1 John 3:1–3
  26. The Epistles of John (Part 26): 1 John 3:4–6
  27. The Epistles of John (Part 27): 1 John 3:7–10
  28. The Epistles of John (Part 28): 1 John 3:11–12
  29. The Epistles of John (Part 29): 1 John 3:13
  30. The Epistles of John (Part 30): 1 John 3:14-18
  31. The Epistles of John (Part 31): 1 John 3:19–22
  32. The Epistles of John (Part 32): 1 John 3:23–24
  33. The Epistles of John (Part 33): 1 John 4:1–3
  34. The Epistles of John (Part 34): 1 John 4:4–6
  35. The Epistles of John (Part 35): 1 John 4:7-8
  36. The Epistles of John (Part 36): 1 John 4:9
  37. The Epistles of John (Part 37): 1 John 4:10
  38. The Epistles of John (Part 38): 1 John 4:11-12
  39. The Epistles of John (Part 39): 1 John 4:13–14
  40. The Epistles of John (Part 40): 1 John 4:15
  41. The Epistles of John (Part 41): 1 John 4:16–17
  42. The Epistles of John (Part 42): 1 John 4:18–19
  43. The Epistles of John (Part 43): 1 John 4:20–21
  44. The Epistles of John (Part 44): 1 John 5:1
  45. The Epistles of John (Part 45): 1 John 5:2-3

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