A new Christian recently explained to me that they were struggling mightily with the temptation do sin. This confused them, since they now belong to Jesus. So, we had a good conversation about what “the world” means in the Bible.
“The world” refers to our external enemy that tempts us to sin against God. What is meant by the term “world” in its negative sense? The world is an organized system in opposition and rebellion against God. The world is the way of thinking and acting that is against God and dominant in the culture.
In 1 John 2:16, the world is defined as corporate flesh working together in three ways:
- The world is the domain of the lust of the flesh, which is the sinful longings for physical pleasures—everything from gluttony to drunkenness to sexual sin to chemical highs.
- The world is the place devoted to the lust of the eyes, where the sinful longing for coveted possessions manifests itself in everything from advertising and marketing to pornography.
- The world is where the boastful pride of life is commended, and haughty selfish ambition is considered a virtue rather than a vice.
In his book Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices , Puritan author Thomas Brooks says that our enemy will use the world to bait our hook with anything that we find desirable. In other words, Satan will gladly give us sex, money, power, pleasure, fame, fortune, and relationships—as bait. Satan’s goal is for us to take the bait without seeing the hook. Once the hook is in our mouth, he reels us in to take us as his captive.
Therefore, no matter what our enemy hangs on our proverbial hook as bait, we must always put to death our internal flesh if we hope to avoid sin.