I recently had the privilege of giving a message on this passage. 1 John is written by the apostle John, an eyewitness and participant of Jesus’ ministry (1 John 1:1-4). He writes the following in 1 John 2:15-17:
15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
The term “world” in this context refers to the evil, spiritual world of sin that is controlled by Satan, who is the god of this age (James 4:4; John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19; 2 Peter 1:4). God’s word commands us not to be conformed to this world, but instead to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). To love this same world is tantamount to being an enemy of God (James 4:4). Obviously, the love of the Father cannot abide in someone who is God’s enemy. God’s enemy essentially pledges allegiance to this world and what it offers (specifically the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, as shown in verse 16). All this specific world offers comes from Satan, and Satan used those three things against Eve (Genesis 3) and Jesus Himself (Matthew 4:1-11). These things that this world offers, however, are passing away (verse 17; Matthew 24:35). Whoever does God’s will, however, abides forever (verse 17).
Pledging allegiance to the world has a serious eternal consequence; it results in being God’s enemy. Is God’s enemy going to inherit the free gift of heaven known as eternal life (Romans 6:23)? God’s word says no (John 3:36). Thankfully, Jesus Christ, the infinite God-man and only way by which mankind may be saved, bled and died for that sin, and we have all sinned and thus cannot save ourselves (Acts 4:12; Isaiah 43:11; John 14:6; Romans 3:23; Matthew 5:48; John 1:1, 14; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 5:8). There is good news for those that perhaps have pledged allegiance to the world and think they are God’s enemy forever. God is not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). It is this repentance that is part of doing God’s will (Matthew 3:8). Other aspects of doing God’s will include but are not limited to hearing His word and doing it, walking in the good works He has called us to do, and proclaiming repentance and the forgiveness of sins in His name, among other things (Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21; 24:45-49; Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20).
If you are pledging allegiance to this world, please understand that you can be forgiven. Jesus Christ alone offers this forgiveness (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Isaiah 43:11). This world you have allegiance to is passing away (1 John 2:17). May you not pass away with it, for God does not wish for you to perish; He wishes for you to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
If you have pledged allegiance in Christ, please continue to walk in the good works He has called you to do, which involves doing His will (Ephesians 2:10; 1 John 2:17). Please proclaim repentance and the forgiveness of sins in His name (Luke 24:45-49). He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). There is nobody like Him.