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By Curtis Pugh

The word “world” appears in the King James New Testament 203 times. Depending upon its usage and context it can mean a variety of things. It can mean the creation, the Roman Empire, the nations in contrast to the Jews, those without Christ, etc., and is even used of both the elect of God and those whom He has not chosen to save. For example, John who wrote the Gospel of John, the books we call First, Second and Third John and also the Revelation used the word world in a number of ways, but never used it to mean all of humanity. Rather he used in in a variety of ways.

Consider this verse: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God,” (James 4:4). James does not necessarily mean that his readers were adulterers and adulteresses in the moral, sexual sense, but rather in their unfaithfulness to God. This unfaithfulness was clearly evident because they were friends of the world.

These who ought to be faithful to God were instead in love with the material things of the world and desired the sinful pleasures as well. They had departed from what they ought to have been and were no longer loyal to God. Rather they had aligned themselves with the enemies of God – the whole godless system consisting of man's ideas, pleasures and goals. They had left off loving God first.

Merriam Webster gives the following shades of meaning for the word “friend” that help us understand the verse under consideration. “Friend” can mean (1) “one attached to another by affection or esteem,” (2) “one that is not hostile,” (3) “one that is of the same nation, party or group, (4) “one that favors or promotes something,” (5) “a favored companion.” We understand, then, that being attached to the things of the world and the philosophies, pleasures associated with lost men and women, looking at things and pleasures with admiration, not being opposed to such things, being “in” with those who live in the realm of worldliness or favoring the world's system as opposed to God's program is a friend of the world!

There is no middle ground here. Either the child of God loves God and His Word, kingdom, people and godly living or he is hostile to God and His program. Seen in this light, Oh how the children of God need to be constantly in repentance: turning away from these things to God! Our hearts ought to be broken down in sorrow because of our love of the world – our natures being bent toward its comforts and pleasures.

Only those willing to give up the comforts, ease and sinful pleasures of this world system fully follow after the Lord. Being a friend of the world means that we are enemies of God. What a serious matter to contemplate! Whose friend are you?

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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