WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R. Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER TWO (Lesson XLIV) 05/24/21

2:15 Do not love the way worldly people live nor any of the things with which they try to entice you. For when you love the world’s way of living, the love of our heavenly Father will be missing in you.

Stock says that no place, no company, no occupation, no amusement, no retirement, and no public throng, is free from the atmosphere of the world. Nothing but prayer and being watchful with all determination, and guarding the heart, and close walking with God, can keep any to be unspotted from the world.[1] If fish can swim against streams, our abiding God can carry captivity captive.[2]

Think of this, says Stock, Daniel was safe from the contamination of idolatry in Babylon, and Nehemiah remained free from the entanglements of the world. The whole world is under the power of the devil.[3] They are disillusioned by a false sense of security, living in carelessness, and ease, content with their position. These are the unregenerate and unforgiven, without a Savior. Although they may formally partake of His sacraments and be ceremonially regenerated, some Christians do not qualify for that title. Jews who remained hung-up on circumcision and keeping ceremonial laws[4] were part of earthly Israel, but not the true Israel.[5] They are too part of the world.

These pitiful souls are worthy of our most sincere compassion, notes Stock. Therefore, we must thoughtfully and prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit for their conversion to Jesus, the Anointed One. They are facing God’s judgment.[6] We must always be on alert as we try to reach them that we do not succumb to the same worldly spirit that controls them. It is easy for medical workers to become infected with the disease they are trying to cure. But when dressed adequately with protective clothing, they diminish the possibilities.

The prayer of the young psalmist must continually be ours, “Hold me up, so I will be safe, and I will always have respect for Your Law;[7]Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.”[8] It is possible, with God, to be in the world, and yet not to be part of it, and to do our duty in that state of life into which God called us, pursuing a dedicated, godly, and righteous lifestyle.[9]

John James Lias (1834-1923) says that commentators give two explanations for the term “antichrist.” (1) instead of Christ, and (2) against Christ – the Anointed One. The supporters of the first opinion would see the word “antichrist” as one of the false Christs whom Jesus prophesied would come before His return. Those who advocate the second opinion see in “antichrist” the impersonation in the bodily form of the adversary who resists the Anointed One. The majority of commentators prefers the latter, and it unquestionably falls in with the view of the Antichrist put before us by the Apostle Paul.[10] Needless to say, this idea of the antichrist as a person caused many predictions over the years. I have heard everything from the Pope to Adolf Hitler. To truly identify such an Antichrist, look at the “antichrist spirit” that John describes in verses twenty-two and twenty-three.

It seems Lias fell into this subtle trap of seeing the end of the world coming in their time. All of us, says Lias, must acknowledge that a mass yet silent revolution is passing over us. Speaking of the late 1800s and early 1900s, in Europe and America, Lias tells how the ends of the earth are reachable by steam and electricity. Ideas flash with lightning speed to the far reaches of the planet through telegram and telegraph. Movements arise and then lose popularity in one generation, which existed for centuries in earlier times. Yet, the Apostle John states that the Antichrist was “ready to be revealed” in his day.[11]

Lias found the whole world fermenting with new ideas and the new application of old ones. They explored the secrets of Nature and manipulated their findings on a gigantic scale.[12] There was an impatience with control, a prejudice against punishments, against interference with personal liberty, which allows people more than ever before to work their will, whether for good or bad.[13] Therefore, said Lias, he might see an outbreak of wickedness more formidable than any experienced before his time.[14] Much of what Lias says here we see now in our day. But we know no more about who this Antichrist is now than they did back then. Trust me, the day of revelation will come, and believers will not be left guessing in the dark.[15]

James Morgan (1859-1942) tells us that the words of the Apostle John here in verse fifteen ought to impress both the ungodly and the godly. To the ungodly, they say that they are participating in a meaningless fantasy. They are living in a delusion. The world which they serve not only cannot save them, but it will desert them in the hour of need, and all the sources that they depended upon as a privilege and safety net will become their tormentor. To the godly, they say, while they enjoy their faith in God and His blessings, they must guard against a worldly spirit.

Remember, says Morgan, the Apostle John examines all the evidence because of our interest in the Anointed One. These cannot be certain or comforting if we indulge in a spirit of worldliness. The Apostle Paul told the Roman believers, “To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.[16] Therefore, pay attention to John’s plea not to love the world nor the things it promises that never come true. “The world one day will pass away, but they that do the will of God will live forever.”[17] [18]

David Smith (1866-1932) gives an interesting definition of what the Apostle John meant by referring to certain believers as part of “the world.” He detects these are those who have extensive experience of the Anointed One’s grace, who is part of the world’s population. On this fact, he proceeds to base an appeal, a call to further advancement and higher attainment in his message. We must not see any conflict here where John says we are not to love the world, and what he said in his Gospel, “God so loved the World.”[19] Observe that the Apostle does not indicate the world itself is evil. It is God’s world, and “God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.”[20] Smith says to look at it this way: the world as God’s creation and those who inhabit the world are not beyond redemption. What you don’t want to focus on in the world are those temporary things. Activities that only bring us comfort and joy for a season. Don’t get attached to them, or else you will sustain a bitter disappointment. Enjoy the world as a beautiful gift of God that brings us joy and gratefulness, but it is not the ultimate end; it is not the forever home of our souls.

Look at it this way, says Smith, if a groom gave his bride a ring, and after placing it on her ring finger, she became fonder of the ring than the groom. Would that not send a signal to the groom that she loves what he gave her more than the giver himself? Look at what God has given us here on earth; do we love Him more than the things He gave? Would you prefer to go to the beach on Sunday than to the house of God to worship Him? Is going to Disney World more attractive than teaching Vacation Bible School? Could you without conviction leave Sunday morning worship early to go home and watch a football game instead of staying and be blessed by a great move of the Holy Spirit? Is skiing more attractive than participating in a Christmas presentation to honor the new King to earth? If the love of the world inhabits, there is no way for the love of God to enter, says Smith. Let the love of the world be evicted, and let God live in your heart. Shut out the evil desires of the world so that that divine love may take its place.[21]

On the other hand, Amos N. Wilder (1895-1993) says that the word “world” means more than the mass of “fallen humanity.” For John, it exposes the enormous contrast between God and His creation. It is no wonder that God created and loved the world He made would send His Son the Anointed One to come to save it. As God said, “Let there be Light,” in the beginning, He once again says, “Let there be Light” when He sent His Son. That’s why John proclaimed Him as the Light! He came to explain God’s great salvation plan.[22] The human world and the world of nature were closely interrelated to those great thinkers of ancient days. So here, John is talking about the collision of the world’s lust and God’s love for the world. It is a case of the Creator loving His creation, wanting to save that one thing eternal in humanity, its soul.[23]


[1] Matthew 25:24

[2] Ephesians 4:8; The simplest explanation of “he led captivity captive” is to define captivity as slavery. Paul thinks of the new birth as an enslavement to Christ when he releases us from enslavement to sin (Romans 6:6,16-18).

[3] James 1:27

[4] 1 John 5:19

[5] Acts of the Apostles 7:51

[6] Romans 9:6

[7] Psalm 119:117

[8] Ibid. 119:37

[9] Stock, John: An Exposition of the First Epistle of St. John, op. cit., pp. 142-144

[10] 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; See 1 John 2:22; 4:3

[11] See 1 John 2:19

[12] This sounds very familiar to the “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” and the “Green New Deal” movements today.

[13] This is now taking place in our society with the new Progressive Movement.

[14] Stock, John: An Exposiion of the First Epistle General of St. John, op. cit., pp. 130-132

[15] Lias, J. J., The First Epistle of John with Exposition, op. cit., pp. 127-128

[16] Romans 8:6

[17] 1 John 2:17

[18] Morgan, James (1865), An Exposition of the First Epistle of John, op. cit., pp. 107-108

[19] John 3:16

[20] Genesis 1:31

[21] Smith, David: Expositor’s Greek Testament, op cit., p. 178

[22] See 1 John 5:20

[23] Wilder, Amos N., The Interpreter’s Bible, op. cit., Vol. XII, p. 238

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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