Dear members and friends of our ELS:
If a survey of your life were taken, would one conclude, “Now, there’s a lover of the world”? With a barrage of dismal news for the state of Christianity, how can any confessor of the Savior care to be glued to what this fleeting world offers? Preserving the values of the Christian faith is becoming more and more difficult in a culture bent on elevating and glorifying what is immoral. We now even hear of people defending the buying and selling of body parts of the indefensible little ones!
As repulsive as the world scene appears in so many ways, we have to admit our sinful nature still desires to attach itself to the things of this present world. Oh, we hear of the atrocities, and they upset us deeply. Yet we look around and say, “Thank God, they’re not in my own backyard—at least not yet! My own turf looks pretty serene.” The lure of living for temporal pleasure and material blessings looms large. Regardless of our age, we feel the pull on our hearts for the here and now.
The apostle John may have been nearing a hundred years old and likely was residing in Ephesus when he wrote this powerful exhortation:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:15–17).
A tremendous and blessed irony, however, exists in the pages of God’s Word. While we have sinned in loving the world, God has so loved the world that He has given us forgiveness and eternal life through His Son! Of course, here we are talking about people, souls. We—the people of the world—have a perfect Savior who always had the will of His heavenly Father driving His own life lived in our place. We have a Savior whose love for the Father’s will and love for the world of sinners—love for you and me—caused Him to make the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and then was raised again for our justification! “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17).
Love the world? Through faith in the Savior, we know we have a better world to come! So, our Savior’s love for the world of sinners is the kind of love for the world we want to be a part of and wish to promote… Go ahead, “Love the world” with the everlasting love of the Savior. What a message we have to proclaim! It is meant for every soul in the world!
Rev. John A. Moldstad, ELS President