The Greek word translated ‘the world’ in the New Testament is ‘Kosmos.’ It speaks of “orderly or harmonious arrangement, order, government, ornament, decoration or adornment (-the arrangement of the stars, the heavenly hosts).”
‘Kosmos’ is also used to refer to “the universe, the earth, the inhabitants of the earth, or the human family.”
It is often used in reference to “the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ.”
‘Kosmos’ in the Bible also implies “world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly, the whole circle of earthly goods, riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although transitory or fleeting seduce or distract the hearts of men from God.”
Overcoming the world calls for a proper understanding of what the Scripture says or teaches about the world and how it hinders, distracts, discourages and opposes the believers from following and serving the Lord wholeheartedly.
First, the Scripture teaches that there is darkness in the world.
The New Testament Greek word for ‘darkness’ is ‘Skotia’; it implies ignorance of divine things and human duties, and the accompanying wickedness, ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell. It also speaks of persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway, commands or controls.
What is the source or cause of the darkness in the world?
Sin! The fall of Adam!
Sin is the cause of the darkness in the world. As a result of the disobedience of the first man Adam through the deception of Satan, he lost the life of God in him and his understanding of God therefore became corrupted, distorted or twisted. God’s life is the source of divine light. That is why the Scripture said of Jesus: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4 NKJV).
When Adam lost the life of God, the light of God was put out in his soul and the whole world was thrown into darkness, for Adam was God’s light in the world being the carrier of God’s life.
Sadly, all of us were born with our understanding darkened being alienated from the life of God from birth. (Eph. 4:18).
Because God loved the world and did not want the world to abide or perish in darkness, He sent His Son Jesus Christ, the last Adam, to be the Light of the world.
John the Baptist boldly and publicly bore witness of Jesus Christ that He was “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:9 NKJV).
Jesus also testified of Himself, saying, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:46 NKJV).
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5 NKJV).
He also warns: “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” (John 12:36 NKJV).
But the world refused to acknowledge and embrace Christ – the true Light which came into the world to give light to the world. (John 1:18, 1 Cor. 1:21).
The Scripture testifies: “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” (John 1:10 NKJV).
The world’s rejection of Christ – the True Light God sent into the world was not without any outcomes.
What are these outcomes of consequences?
First, the world is now without any excuse before God.
All who rejected Christ will be without any excuse on the great day of God’s judgement. (Rom. 1:20).
Second, the world is now condemned before God.
God’s intention of sending His Son into the world was not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:17).
It is however only those who believe in Him that will escape condemnation and be saved.
“But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:18-19 NKJV).
Third, having rejected Christ – the Wisdom of God, the world became foolish before God.
“Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.” (Rom. 1:21-22 NKJV).
The wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. (1 Cor. 3:19). It is only fools that reject God’s free gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus. It is gross foolishness for any believer to seek to operate or live by the by the wisdom or principles of this world. (Col. 2:20-22).
“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1 Cor. 1:21 NKJV).
Fourth, God has given the world up to a debased or reprobate mind and to vile passions, lusts, affections, cravings and desires.
That is the reason for murder, rape, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, and all sorts of immoralities and abominations that have now become commonplace.
The Scripture testifies: “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.” (Rom. 1:24 NKJV).
“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” (Rom. 1:26-27 NKJV).
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” (Rom. 1:28 NKJV).
Beloved, that is why God commands you not to “be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14 NKJV).
When the first man, Adam, lost the life of God in him as a result of his disobedience to God’s command, the whole world was thrown into darkness because the life of God in him was the light of the world.
But out of His love for the world God sent the second man, the last Adam – Jesus Christ, into the world to be the light of the world. The Scripture testifies of Christ that: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4 NKJV).
Sadly, the world rejected the true Light God sent into the world because they loved darkness rather than light, thereby abiding in darkness still. (John 3:18-19).
However, anyone who receives and believes in Christ has everlasting life, thereby having the light and becoming the son of light and is expected to shine as light in the midst of darkness of this world. (John 8:12, 12:36, Phil. 2:15).
Not only is the world abiding and walking in darkness because it has rejected Christ – the true Light God sent into the world, the Scripture also teaches that the world is under the sway, dominion, influence and control of Satan.
The Scripture testifies: “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19 NKJV).
The believers in Christ are no longer under the authority, control and influence of the devil.
The Scripture declares that God has “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” (Col. 1:13 NKJV).
“We are certain that one who is a child of God will do no sin, but the Son of God keeps him so that he is not touched by the Evil One.” (1 John 5:18 NKJV).
But what about the world: the ungodly multitude, the unbelievers or the rejecters of Christ?
They are captives of the devil; absolutely under his control, dominion and influence!
That is why the Scripture prohibits being unequally yoked together with the unbelievers. (2 Cor. 6:14).
The Scripture clearly presents the devil as the god, prince or ruler of this world. (2 Cor. 4:4, John 12:31, 16:11, Eph. 2:2).
At one time, Jesus said to His disciples: “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” (John 14:30 NKJV).
What are the implications or consequences of Satan, the wicked one, being the ruler of this world?
First, the devil, being the ruler of this world, is the one determining and directing the patterns, ways, practices, principles, styles, fashions or modes of this world.
All those who reject Christ and refuse to submit to His authority are being led, driven, directed and governed by the spirit of the world and are walking according to “the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2 NKJV).
It is therefore senseless for any believer to envy or copy any unbeliever.
Second, because the devil, the ruler of this world has no truth in him, for he is a father of lie; the world hates and resists the truth and cannot stand in the truth.
Jesus said to the world, the ungodly: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44 NKJV).
The world is destitute of truth because it refuses to accept Christ – the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6, 1 Tim. 6:5). Rather than accepting the truth, the world always seeks to suppress the truth in unrighteousness; to exchange the truth of God for the lie; and to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator. (Rom. 1:18, 25).
Any believer who therefore chooses, adopts, or follows the ways, principles, modes or fashions of this world has jettisoned the truth, but has embraced lies and deceptions of the god of this world.
Third, the world detests and despises righteousness, but loves and celebrates perversions.
The devil, the god of this world is perverse and crooked; it is therefore no surprise that the children of this world are perverse and crooked. (Phil. 2:15, 1 John 3:8).
The Scripture declares: “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10 NKJV).
Having rejected the King of righteousness, the world is “filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful.” (Rom. 1:29-31 NKJV).
Any believer who therefore befriends the world will ultimately become defiled, perverse, crooked and corrupted. (1 John 2:15-17, 2 Pet. 1:4, 2:20).
“Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1 Cor. 15:33 NKJV).
Fourth, because the god of this world is evil and wicked, the world is full of evil and wickedness.
The world hates and persecutes the true disciples of Christ, just as it hated and persecuted Jesus. Jesus said: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18 NKJV).
One of the primary evidences of being a true disciple of Christ – the believer who is not of this world or walking according to the course of this world is that the world will hate and persecute you (John 17:14-16, 15:18-20, 1 John 3:13).
Jesus said: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19 NKJV).
If the world loves, praises, receives and celebrates you; it is an indication that you are part of the world and not a true disciple of Christ. The Scripture testifies: “They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.” (1 John 4:5 NKJV).
Beloved, are you presently facing any discrimination, tribulation or persecution because of your resolution to follow the ways of the Lord and not the evil and corrupt ways of the world? Don’t be surprised!
The Scripture says: “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.” (1 John 3:13 NKJV).
Also, don’t be discouraged, but be of good cheer, for Christ has already overcome the world and the god of this world.
Jesus said: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV).
Lastly, the Scripture teaches that this world and its lust, mode, form or fashion is passing away, and will in the end be burned up.
The Scripture declares: “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17 NKJV).
“And those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.” (1 Cor. 7:31 RSV).
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; and in that day the heavens will be rolled up with a great noise, and the substance of the earth will be changed by violent heat, and the world and everything in it will be burned up. Seeing then that all these things are coming to such an end, what sort of persons is it right for you to be, in all holy behaviour and righteousness.” (2 Pet. 3:10-11 BBE).
Find out more about how to enjoy victory over the world in the second part of this piece.