Post image for The Epistles of John (Part 15): 1 John 2:17

The Epistles of John (Part 15): 1 John 2:17

by Stephen Hebert on Wednesday - 13 June 2007

in Biblical Studies, New Testament

This is the 15th part in an ongoing series on the Epistles of John.

English Standard Version Nestle-Aland 27
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. καὶ ὁ κόσμος παράγεται καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία αὐτοῦ, ὁ δὲ ποιῶν τὸ θέλμα τοῦ θεοῦ μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.

We have known since Genesis that death was the consequence of sin. Paul makes it clear in Romans 6 when he says that “the wages of sin is death.” Here John states the same truth in a different way.

This world, and everything in it, including the passions/lusts/desires mentioned in 2:16, is going to pass away. It is most appropriate to translate the Greek verb παράγεται as a present progressive: “is passing away.” This gives us the sense that the world is going away right before our eyes.

The notion of the world passing away as we speak makes perfect sense. This world is not immutable. Rather, it is in constant flux. It changes.

The mutability of the world is in direct conflict with the immutability of God. God is not passing away right before our eyes. God is not changing. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Sometimes this is disturbing to people. God doesn’t change? How can we prove that? Unfortunately, it’s not something that is immediately provable. It is one of those items that requires faith. There are neither examples nor counter-examples of God’s immutability.

Rather than being disturbed, I find comfort and solace in this notion that God does not change. A whimsical God is a difficult God to worship. Some might say that I am just inventing this immutable God because it gives me comfort. Let them say it. One of us is right…one of us is wrong. Both positions require some kind of faith.

Back on topic. By doing the will of God, I avoid those desires that are passing away. I put my eggs in the eternal basket. I put all of myself into He who abides forever. Therefore, by avoiding that which is fleeting, I mesh into the eternal; I press into it like a person being caught by a trampoline. The reward is abundant life (John 10:10) and “abiding forever.”

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

Previous post:

Next post: