In 1 John 2:15-17 we read that Christians are not to love the world. John is so emphatic in this exhortation that he uses the word “world” seven times to show the fullness of his emphasis. Do not love the world. John’s reasoning is that if anyone loves the world, then they do not love the Father, and the Father does not love them.
We need a definition before moving forward. By world, I would put forth this definition: any cultural, political, religious, social, or economic system organized against God. In other words, the seed of the Serpent and his influence. Well, what makes me think that way? The Garden.
Look at what John says characterizes the world, “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life.” Now compare that with the sin that plunged the posterity of Adam into depravity, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food [desires of the flesh], and that it was a delight to the eyes [lust of the eyes], and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise [pride of life], she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” Genesis 3:6.
John is characterizing the world with the fundamental sin found at the beginning of creation. We are not to be like Adam, we are not to be like Eve. When we stand eye to eye with the forked-tongued Accuser we are not allowed to give in because we are no longer sons of Adam. However, we, like them, will be confronted with the temptation of the organized rebellion against God through the desires of our flesh, the lust of our eyes, and the pride of our lives. We are, in other words, called to kill the dragon crouching at the door. Do not love what he offers.
Another aspect of this is that God loves the world. So, what do you do with that? God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. God loves the world, so He sent His Son into it and what did the Son do? Jesus turned the world upside down and tore it down breaking its foundation. Jesus challenged the world, confronted the world, stood against the desires of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life in such a way that the world turned upon Him in rage and murdered Him. Through their impotent thrashing, Jesus submitted Himself to death and created a new world with a new human race through the glory of the Father in His resurrection.
In this way we are called to turn away from the world, and yet, like Jesus, as we are rejecting the world we are to turn toward the world. We are to hate the world in such a way that we are willing to die for the world because we love the world. John says in verse 17 that whoever does the will of God abides forever, and earlier in verse 6, that if anyone says they abide in Jesus they must walk as Jesus did.
How did Jesus love the world? He stood against it and through His sacrifice and resurrection He began a new world. We live in that new world as new creations in Christ and when we look at the old world and the children of Adam, we must walk as Jesus walked. We must be willing to serve and sacrifice and shed our blood with the promise of resurrection.