The love of teh World
And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing (=persuasive) words.
B4.1 Overcome by the devil’s wiles
The whole point of the devil’s enticing words is to lure people from off the true path. This he managed with Adam and Eve. As long as our first parents were in obedience to God they were safe. But he moment they listen to the enemy and acted on it they fell and lost their communion with God.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
We note what happened once Eve listened to the devil’s deceit.
1. Eve saw the tree was good for food
2. It was pleasant to the eyes
3. It was to be desired to make one wise
It was to the senses that the devil appealed. If we compare this with what John says in his epistle we note some interesting parallels.
B4.2 the things in the world
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
John instructs us not to love the world, he is not talking about the people in the world. What John is referring to is the system of the world. He defines it as:
1. Lust of the flesh
2. Lust of the eyes
3. The pride of life.
The world lust here does not have the overtones that modern English assigns to it. In the Bible it means an ‘over desire’.
This triad constitutes the ‘love of the world’.
If we compare this definition with that of Eve’s response, we can explain her responses in light of the NT revelation.
1. Pleasant to the eyes —lust of the eyes. Eve’s eyes were taken off God’s command and placed elsewhere. In this case the object was the tree. Her vision was filled with something that appealed to her senses by the eye gate.
2. Good for food — lust of the flesh. Despite God’s clear warning Eve gave way to her desire for food. Even though God had provided all the other trees for food freely, she allowed her desire for the forbidden fruit to drown out everything else.
3. Tree desired to make one wise—–pride of life. Forgetting the warning of the consequences Eve wanted the wisdom the devil talked about.
We conclude that Eve had the love of the world and not the love of God in her heart. We also see that this fall was by degree. It started with a look, a desire for food then a desire to be satisfied to be wise independently of God.
B4.3 Do not be enticed
This is the state we are all when we are born into this world. We have the love of the world in us. We lust after things to satisfy us and we have no regard to God’s ways at all.
When we are born from above, we have a new nature, and God’s Spirit is placed within. The devil will still try to tempt us away from the true path. He will do all he can to make us deviate from it, and he still uses the same tactics as he did with Eve..
This is what false teaching does. An enticing word, if accepted will take one’s eyes off Christ; it stirs up some desire in us for food for the inward man independently of God, even for those things He has strictly forbidden, eg. Any form of spiritism. Ultimately it will lead us in the path of pride in some form, trying to achieve ‘enlightenment’ in some way, by some effort of our own.
But it is all a delusion, inspired by the Devil, for none of these things can give us true life, freedom from sin, knowledge of the true God and so on. Only God through Christ, and His redemptive work can give us these things. Any other way is false, and will, if persisted in, lead the poor soul into a terribly dark spiritual place.
B4.4 Overcoming the Devil’s wiles
Before the start of His earthly ministry, and after His baptism Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil.
He was tempted in the wilderness, whereas our first parents were in an idyllic garden. They fell and lost, Jesus overcame. Jesus was tempted as we are, and showed the way to overcome. In contradistinction to Adam and Eve’s example.
The record of His temptations is found in Mtt.4:1-11; Lk.4:1-14. We shall not look at it in detail but outline the main points for our purposes. The reader is encouraged to meditate on these scriptures for themselves.
1. Stones to bread—the lust of the flesh. Jesus’ answer was to quote scripture and and say that man can can not live by bread alone by by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Jesus refused to make bread in order to satisfy His hunger when the devil suggested it. He was seeking His Father’s kingdom first; He was listening to His Father and not the Devil. Eve listened to the Devil and not God. What a contrast!
2. Jumping off the Temple to be saved — the pride of life. Satan countered by using scripture himself. He was trying to raise doubt in Jesus’ mind -If you are the Son of God, do this miracle- Jesus’ reply was again to quote the scriptures by saying that we are not to tempt God. Jesus was not prepared to make a spectacle of His power to show off.
3. Bowing down to Satan to get what is rightfully yours—The lust of the eyes. The devil promised Jesus the kingdoms of the world if only he worshipped the devil. The Father had already promised the kingdoms of the world to His Son, the Devil was offering a short cut, independently of His Father. But, no! Jesus would have none of it. The only person we should worship and serve is God Himself.
In all these temptations the love of the world was the temptation in one way or another. If we consider the enticing words of the false teachings we see the same principle in action. We need to be alert to the temptations and not be enticed. But as the Hebrew’s writer says we can come boldly to the throne of grace and find help in time of need.
Seeing then we have a Great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly tot eh throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.