Excerpts from "Love Not the World"
“Understanding never moves us, only revelation does that. Oh, that God would open our eyes to see clearly what the world is!”
—Watchman Nee, circa 1939
There is a spiritual force behind this world scene which, by means of “the things that are in the world,” is seeking to enmesh men in its system. It is not merely against sin, therefore, that the saints of God need to be on their guard, but against the ruler of this world. The question we must ask ourselves, then, is not, “Is this thing good or evil?” Rather, we must ask, “How is this thing affecting my relationship with the Father?”
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The world is, all inclusively, that which can continue apart from divine activity, that is, which can go on by itself without the need of specific acts of God to maintain it in freshness. All that belongs to human nature continues spontaneously; all that belongs to God continues only for as long as God’s working continues.
The Church of God never ceases to be dependent upon the life of God for its maintenance. For the Church depends for its very existence upon a ceaseless impartation of fresh life from God and cannot survive one day without it.
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Satan is the personal enemy of Christ. He works through the flesh of man to produce this pattern of things on the earth in which we have all become involved; not one of us is exempt. And this whole cosmic pattern is peculiarly at odds with God the Father. I think we all know how the three dark forces, the world, the flesh, and the devil, stand in opposition to the three divine persons. The flesh is ranged against the Holy Spirit as Paraclete, satan himself against Christ Jesus as Lord, and the world against the Father as Creator.
What we are speaking of as the kosmos always stands opposed to God as Father and Originator. His was the eternal plan in creation hinted at in the words, “It was very good,” a plan toward which He has not ceased to work. From before the foundation of the world He had purposed in His heart to have on earth an order of which mankind would be the pinnacle and which should freely display the character of His Son. But satan intervened. Using this earth as his springboard and man as his tool, he usurped God’s creation to make of it instead something centered in himself and reflecting his own image. Thus this alien system of things was a direct challenge to the divine plan.
So today we are confronted by two worlds, two spheres of authority, having two totally different and opposed characters. For me now it is no mere matter of a future heaven and hell; it is a question of these two worlds today, and of whether i belong to an order of things of which Christ is Sovereign Lord or to an opposed order of things having satan as its effective head.
Thus salvation is not so much a personal question of sins forgiven or of hell avoided. It is to be seen rather in terms of a system from which we come out. When i am saved, i make my exodus out of one whole world and my entry into another. i am saved now out of that whole organized realm which satan has constructed in defiance of the purpose of God.
That realm, that all-embracing kosmos, has many strange facets. Sin, of course, has its prior place there, and worldly lusts; but no less part of it are our more estimable human standards and ways of doing things. The human mind, its culture and its philosophies, all are included, together with all the very best of humanity’s social and political ideologies. Alongside these, too, we should doubtless place the world’s religions, and among them those speckled birds, worldly christianity and its “world church.” Wherever the power of natural man dominates, there you have an element in that system which is under the direct inspiration of satan.
If that is the world, what then is salvation? Salvation means that i escape from that. i go out, i make an exit from that all-embracing kosmos. i belong no more to satan’s pattern of things. i set my heart on that upon which God’s heart is set. i take as my goal His eternal purpose in Christ, and i step into that and am delivered from this.
Salvation is essentially a present exit from a doomed order which is satan’s. It concerns our being fundamentally severed from today’s world system.
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Separation is the first principal of Christian living. This means in practice that we must guard as precious all that is of God and refuse and reject all that is of Babylon.
Not only evil things, but all those things that draw us ever so gently away from God are units of that system that is antagonistic to Him.
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