1st John 2:17 reads, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (NASB). The Apostle John presents us with a very strong contrast in this verse, for he speaks of how the world is TEMPORARY, but the believer in Christ lives FOREVER. The unbeliever rejects the fact that the world is “passing away,” believing instead that the world will remain intact as it has from the beginning. Peter speaks of this in 2nd Peter 3:3, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, ALL CONTINUES JUST AS IT WAS FROM THE BEGINNING OF CREATION’.” But Peter goes on in verses 5-6 to correct this mindset: “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which THE WORLD THAT THEN EXISTED PERISHED, BEING FLOODED WITH WATER” (NKJV). Men that maintain the world is PERMANENT and that it will never be destroyed “willfully forget” that the world was indeed destroyed with a flood! There is ample evidence that there was a universal flood that destroyed the world, yet because men are “following after their lusts” they refuse to accept this and they refuse to believe that Christ is coming again to judge the world and that it will be destroyed once again. Peter confirms its future destruction in verses 7 & 10, “But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are RESERVED FOR FIRE until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which THE HEAVENS WILL PASS AWAY with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both THE EARTH AND THE WORKS THAT ARE IN IT WILL BE BURNED UP.”

Do we really believe these words written by John and Peter? All believers in Christ should believe it, for scripture says: “But holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2nd Peter 1:21). God says “the world is passing away, and also its lusts,” and we should believe it! If we don’t believe and live in the power of this truth the world will still attract us, for Satan uses the world to allure the Christian away from fellowship with God. John refers to this in 1st John 2:15-16: “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 lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but of the world.” It is a sad state indeed when Christians lose sight of the coming judgment and live only for this world. In commenting on this Mr. William MacDonald had this to say: “When a bank is breaking, smart people do not deposit in it. When the foundation is tottering, intelligent builders do not proceed. Concentrating on this world is like arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. So wise people do not live for a world that is passing away.”

Now let’s muse on the latter half of our verse: “but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” The believer, who should be characterized by having fellowship with the Father and doing His will, “lives forever.” Long after the present world has ceased to be, every believer in Christ will be abiding in God’s presence, enjoying intimate communion with Him and unimaginable blessings, and IT WILL NEVER END! The last stanza of Amazing Grace comes to mind, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun.” Oh, dear fellow believer, may the Spirit of God impress upon our hearts the truth that we have had before us so that we may live in the power of that truth. Let’s embrace the truth that, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts.” And let’s hold fast the truth, “But the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (231.3) (DO)