The ‘world’ in the present context is defined as the order of human civilization without Christ. As such the ‘world’ is associated with transience and materialism along with other non-kingdom attributes. The Bible is not silent on the subject.
The apostle John addressed this divisive issue more than any other New Testament writer. He clearly delineated between those of the kingdom and those of the world.
“We know that we (Christians) are of God and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” 1 John 5:19
John later attributes other titles to the wicked one including the great dragon, the Devil, and Satan. The Devil’s authority is strictly limited by God’s sovereignty.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus associated the Pharisees with the Devil. He did so by telling them their source of ‘wisdom’ was from beneath vs. from above.
“And He said to them, ‘You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world…you will die in your sins…’” John 8:23-24a
Paul also expanded on the truth that worldly wisdom was opposite that of Christ and warned His followers not to be deceived by such false ‘wisdom.’
“Beware lest anyone cheat you (take you captive) through vain philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
After Paul described the difference between worldly principles and Christly teachings, he warned his Christian brothers not to be conformed to, or assimilate into, such deceptive practices. He was adamant in stressing the dangers of pursuing temporal advantage.
“And do not be conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Romans 12:2
The transformation by the renewing of one’s mind is possible only by the filling of the Holy Spirit. That is the wisdom from above.
Christians are admonished to test every spirit in order to determine their source. The Devil is the great deceiver. The supreme test is that everyone who confesses that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh is of God. Any other perception of Christ is the Antichrist.
John continues with a word of encouragement, i.e. the Spirit indwelling the believer is greater than the Devil to whom God has granted restrictive ‘world’ rule in this present age.
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them (those who teach worldly wisdom) because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God…” 1 John 4:4-6a
Shortly after Christ made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, certain gentiles wanted to learn more about Him. At that time Jesus announced His imminent and necessary death. He also warned them of the fallacy of pursuing the rewards of this present life.
“He who loves his life will lose it; and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:25
At the same time that Jesus spoke the above words He also pronounced the future of the ‘world’ and its leader.
“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” John 12:31
The death and resurrection of Christ confirmed His victory and the defeat of Satan and the world over which he ruled.
After Christ’s ascension to the Father, the Holy Spirit was sent as God’s presence during the present age between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week.
At the beginning of the gap between Christ’s ascension and return, Israel was blinded and the church was born when the Spirit was given.
Following the 70th week, or 7 year tribulation, Christ will return to claim all that He paid for on the cross.
That raises a question: in this present age during Christ’s absence are the nations of the world, specifically America, taking Jesus’ teachings seriously?
Specifically our politicians are promising everyone the opportunity to pursue and achieve the American Dream.
Are those promises more closely associated with the world or the kingdom?
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