Flirting – Part 1

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? ...” (James 4:4 NIV)

The relationship between God and his people is described in several different ways in Scripture; among them:  Maker and creation, Master and servant, and Father and child.  Another precious way in which our relationship with God is described is as that of Husband and Betrothed.  This carries into the New Testament, where the Church is called the Bride of Christ.  Following this analogy, we see James in his New Testament letter calling out those believers who are “flirting” with the things of this world.  He says, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?”

If this seems a bit harsh, consider that Jesus died on the cross for everything the world stands for.  The apostle John said it this way, in his letter:  “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16). 

John isn’t speaking here of people for whom Jesus died, for John himself says in his gospel that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  And later on in the same gospel, John also gives us an account of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples, in which he asks the Father not to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). 

To love the “world,” as John and James allude to in their respective New Testament letters, then, is to love this world system and all it represents, and to thus open oneself to be ruled by one’s fleshly desires—desires that lead to impurity, idolatry, rage, hatred, discord, greed, envy, selfish ambition, drunkenness, and the like (see Galatians 5:19-21) —rather than by the Spirit of the living God who lives in every Christian.  Further, the “pride of life” speaks of the very sin that made Satan who he is.

To be continued

Read James 4:1-4.

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