Commentary on "Walking in the Light:
Day 5: Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Today's lesson focuses on the need for Christians to not love the World nor the things in the World.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (I John 2:15-17 ESV)
The word 'For' at the beginning of verse 16 connects it to the previous verse and the word 'And' at the start of verse 17 connects it to both previous verses. This shows that this is a single topic which we should consider as a whole, with 'the world or the things in the world' being the core topic.
For the most part this lesson makes some very good points. The problem centers on what is overlooked and not said. It covers the broad topic of the danger of loving the things of the world, but neither yesterday's lesson, nor today's, delves into the nature of the world that seduces us with these things we are not to love.
In this passage the Bible states two things we are not to love. We are not to love the world and we are not to love the things of the world. Since God created the physical world and declared it good, we can discount this as what we are not to love. In the most famous verse of all time, John 3:16, we learn that God loves the world, which we understand to be all of humanity. So, this could not be the world John is referring to. We will center our commentary on the words of the Apostle Paul in Chapter Two of Colossians.
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:1-3 ESV)
The main thing to note here is that Paul is in great personal conflict concerning the needs of the Christians in the twin cities of Colosse and Laodicea. What he has to say is vital and is intended to bring these saints close together in godly love through an understanding of the wisdom and knowledge of God.
I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Col. 2:4-7 ESV)
All around us there are enticing words that have a form of godliness but are really nothing more than worldly philosophy. Instead, we are to be rooted and holding fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Col. 2:8 ESV)
No matter how good and religious this kind of preaching may sound, it is nothing more than the tradition of men which is based on the rudimentary thinking of the world. It is not patterned after the teaching of Jesus Christ.
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Col. 2:9-12 ESV)
Remember, in Jesus Christ dwells the fulness of the Godhead and we are complete in him. Nothing more is needed.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Col. 2:13-15 ESV)
We, the Body of Christ, the saints, have had the written ordinances blotted out. They have been taken away and nailed to the cross. Jesus triumphed over the principalities and powers of the world. We are complete in him.
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (Col. 2:16,17 ESV)
Specifically, we are not to be judged by what we eat or drink or in the keeping of holydays, new moons or the weekly sabbath. It should be noted that in all other instances where this very same Greek word for 'sabbath' is used, even Adventist theologians admit this is the 'weekly sabbath'. So, there is no reason to see, in this verse, as it being anything other than the 'seventh day sabbath' that is spoken of.
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (Col. 2: 18,19 ESV)
Therefore, let no person beguile you. Instead, hold fast to Jesus Christ.
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations--"Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things that all perish as they are used)--according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. (Col. 2:20-23 ESV)
In Christ, we are dead to the rudiments of the world. Therefore, we are not to live according to the commandments and doctrines of human thinking.
Copyright 2008 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised July 25, 2009. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Glendale, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
The Sabbath School Bible Study Guide and the corresponding E.G. White Notes are published by Pacific Press Publishing Association, which is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church. The current quarter's editions are pictured above.
Official Adventist Resources