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Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Fallen Creatures In A Fallen World

"Do not love the world, or the things of the world." (I John 2:15)

How does this fit with God's command to "subdue the earth?" (Gen. 1:28) Is it wrong to love our work as helicopter pilots, car mechanics, homemakers or CEOs?

Consider four meanings for the Greek word "kosmos" in the New Testament, translated "world" into English:

1. Populated regions. As in Romans 1:8, "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world [kosmos]."

2. The human race in general. As in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world [kosmos] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We have a big problem if we take the word "world" in I John 2:15 to mean "the human race."

3. The created realm. As in Romans 1:20, "For since the creation of the world [kosmos] His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse."

4. A system of thought and behavior that is contrary to the will and ways of God. As in Colossians 2:8, "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the basic principles of the world [kosmos], and not according to Christ."

If we read I John 2:15 in the context of verses 16-17, we see John is actually exhorting the reader to love not the "world system." He is talking about not loving thought or behavior that is contrary to the will and ways of God.

In verse 16-17 John amplifies this meaning of "the world" as "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." It is this "world" that we are to not love.

If our work feeds lust and pride, then this is a problem. We need to change our attitude, not necessarily our job. However, in some cases, we may need change our job, too! It depends on what the job is. Work centered around ungodly pride, power or greed is a problem.

We are to be in the world [populated regions, created realm], but not of the world [that system of thought and behavior contrary to Christ].

This is the challenge of everyday work for fallen creatures in a fallen world.

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