What Does 1 John 2:17 Mean?

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 2:17(NASB)

Verse of the Day

Man’s viewpoint of the world is very different from God’s perspective. Man likes to think that everything is going to continue on as it has in bygone days, but God has purposed that the world, with all it passions and lusts, is passing away and will one day be folded up like a blanket.

This present world system, with its fleshly desires and materialistic vices, is fading away, and we should live our lives keeping this truth in mind. We should not cling to the transient things of life. We should hold to the things of this world lightly, and yet the main ideology of the natural man is that things will continue on in the same seasonal cycle - that things will continue on as they have always been, from the beginning of the creation.

The world is, indeed, passing away and the seasonal fading and falling leaves, which are replaced when new-growth springs up, is a perpetual reminder that the heaven and earth is finite and the world in which we live will one day be replaced with a new heaven and a new earth. How important to keep this as our primary viewpoint. 

The vain pursuits of this world and the deceptive pleasures of the life we once 'enjoyed' will perish in our memories with the ever-increasing march of time, as we discover them to be passing vanities. Solomon in all his glory and with all his riches realised this important truth when he cried, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!" as he tried to discover the meaning of life amidst the many human experiences and endeavours.

Solomon realised that when life is confined to the boundary of this present world system it is futile, for this world is passing away - it is fading fast, while the one who does the will of God will be fulfilled in this life (for His grace is sufficient) and will live forever in the eternal ages to come.

There is a great contrast between the two statements in this verse from 1 John. The person who does the will of God will abide forever, while the one who does not do the will of God, by hankering after the transitory things of this fleeting world which are here today but tomorrow are thrown into the fire, will suffer eternal loss - loss of their life for the unbeliever and loss of their reward for the carnal Christian.

The fear of the Lord and reverence for His name is the beginning of wisdom. How important, therefore, to invest our lives wisely in this world and to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. 

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose!" were the words of a young missionary who gave his life in service to God. How foolish, therefore, to go against God's will for our lives, in order to hold on to the fading things of this fleeting world system that are to transitory in nature, rather than doing God's will by holding fast to the truth of His Word and looking for our blessed hope and life everlasting. 

The riches and poverty, pleasures and passion, beauty and bitterness, fame and shame of this perishing world are short-lived, but the things of the Lord are permanent, pure, good, secure, and of everlasting value. The lusts of the flesh and the pride of life are futile and false, but the things of God are eternal and will last forever. His love will never fail, His promises are everlasting, and His truth will endure throughout all generations.

Let us beware - for the passing cravings of this life can subtly allure us away from God’s permanent path of purity and His secure way of wisdom. Rather, let us set out hearts on the things of God, for the one that looks away from the world to Jesus will never be disappointed.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, I know that the world is transient and at times I hang on to those things which I know are passing away. Help me to keep my eyes on You and help me to seek Your will in both the big and little things of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.

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