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Hindrances to Fellowship with God
1 John 2:17 The one who does the will of God lives forever
Photo © 2016, Steven Sande. Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
1 John 2:17 NASB1995
Enduring Word has a descriptive title for each book of the Bible, and I find them to be very useful in quickly determining what that book is all about. For 1 John 2, that title is “Hindrances to Fellowship with God”. 1 John is all about fellowship with God, something every Christian should hope and strive to achieve in our earthly life.
1 John refers to the first epistle of John, written in Ephesus, Greece between 95 and 110 AD. It is unknown if this is the Apostle John, who also wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation, or if this was written by a member of a community that lived and learned with John — but that’s not important. The content of this epistle is what we as Christians need to focus on.
John wants Christians to know how to discern true teachers; that’s something that is as important today as it was 2,000 years ago. In 1 John, we are told to look at the ethics of those teachers, how they proclaim Jesus in the flesh, and their love for their fellow man. He’s also imploring the recipients of this letter to turn away from sin — of course, there is always forgiveness for confessed sin, but it is better to never sin at all!
John knows exactly what it is that keeps us from having complete fellowship with God — worldliness. That is, thoughts and actions pertaining to this world rather than to the spiritual world — heaven. In this verse, he’s pointing out that investing our lives into this world is sheer foolishness, as this world is passing away. Sure, it hasn’t happened in the last two thousand years, but it WILL happen! It’s a fact, and we need to live our lives and direct our thoughts knowing that THIS world will pass away.
David Guzik makes a solid point in his Enduring Word commentary on 1 John 2:
The ancient pharaohs were buried in the pyramids with all sorts of riches, which were thought to be of some use to them in the world to come. In the end, they were only of use to the grave robbers. The pharaohs could take none of their worldly stuff with them to the world beyond. No one drives through the gates of heaven with a moving van filled with the stuff of this world. It is true: The world is passing away.
What are we to do instead of focusing on worldly things, riches, all that we see as important? Do the will of God. This world will pass! Let’s spend our lives doing the will of God. In closing from the Enduring Word commentary:
We are in regular contact with three eternal things: the Holy Spirit of God, the people around you, and the eternal words recorded in the book you hold. Time, attention, and expense put into those things pays eternal rewards.
Are you putting your time, attention and expense into those things that pay eternal rewards? I know that I come up short in these areas, although I am constantly trying to improve and will until I take my last earthly breath. It is for our good and the good of humanity to be guided by the Holy Spirit, to do our best to humbly serve those around us, and to study the Word of God each and every day.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
God, I know that this world will pass away, yet I know that I try to grasp those things that are fleeting and ephemeral. I pray to You that you focus my eyes on You and have me do Your will in everything I do — whether it is a small, seemingly inconsequential act or something that affects millions. In the sacred name of Jesus I pray, AMEN.