What Does 1 John 2:16 Mean?

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.

1 John 2:16(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

In this section we receive a strong warning against the many different influences of the world and our fallen, fleshly nature, which conflicts with all that is holy and true. As Christians we have been forgiven of all our sins for the sake of Christ. Because of our faith in His sacrifice on the cross, when He took the punishment for our sin, God looks at us through our covering of Christ, and because of Him we are declared righteous.

Christ's great sacrifice demands our willing and joyful love, but godly love and our love for God is incompatible with our fleshly desires and a lust for the things of this world. Everything that the world has to offer is described in this verse in one of three ways - 1) the lust of the flesh, 2) the lust of the eye and 3) the pride of life.

These three types of 'lusts' are all sinful but cover different aspect of our fallen nature. They do not come from our heavenly Father but emanate from the greed and desire of our fallen nature and are fed by this sinful world system, which is hostile to God - for we read that "the things of this world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, are not from the Father, but is from the world'.

The worldly values; goals; ideologies; philosophies and cravings are conceived in sin and exclude the heavenly objectives; principles; practices; attitudes and outlook that proceeds from the Lord. Each of the three strands of these worldly desires is brilliantly illustrated in Eve's sin, when she engaged in the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

The 'lust of the eye', incorporates all the things we see with our eyes which entice us to sin and often feeds out fallen imagination. It is fed by a covetous heart that lusts after the thing we see and desire, and reminds us of the tree in the garden of paradise. For it was as Eve looked and saw that the tree was good for food that sin was conceived in her heart and her flesh began to lust after the forbidden fruit and she disobeyed the Lord's command - and reached out, took and ATE.

The 'lust of the flesh' is a desire for self-gratification and generally relates to the inner cravings of the heart. It is speaking of our sensual and illicit bodily appetites, which are conceived and cultivated from within our fallen nature. They can remain hidden in an iniquitous heart of sinful rebellion or can be translated into immoral deeds and unprincipled actions.

The lust of her eyes fed, fortified and reinforced the lust of Eve's flesh, and combined to cause her to seek gratification in a broken cistern and she also tempted her husband to follow in her treasonous path. Eve bought into a worldly perspective and a man-made philosophy and discovered she had been deceived.

In Eve's case the lusts of the flesh and the lust of the eye became flattered through the boastful pride of life. She lusted after the tree because it was 'able to make her wise'. We read that the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. She lusted after something that she thought was profitable. Later she discovered that her disobedience to God's word resulted in a curse from the Lord.

The three worldly desires that secured the downfall of Eve are the same three fleshly appetites that invade our heart and lives... and too often cause our own downfall - but all emanate from worldly principles and philosophes and are not from our Father in heaven.

In his first epistle John identifies the marks of the god-fearing man or woman. He examines spiritual growth; sound doctrine; the practice of righteousness; love and obedience and the importance of hiding God's word in our heart - but he also warns us against the many influences of the world and our own fallen sin nature - "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.

However, we are not of this world system and have received all we need for life and godliness. Let us live as unto the Lord in thought, word, deed and motive for the glory of God and our eternal benefit.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the important instructions in the first letter of John and the dangers of being influenced by the things of the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the boastful pride of life. Keep my eye looking to Jesus; my heart pure towards You and help me to renounce the things of this world so that I do not become enmeshed in in the lustful leanings and ungodly enticements of the world, the flesh and the devil. I pray that I may live my life in loving obedience to Your word and renounce all that is evil. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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