“Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17)
Present day Christianity reveals the essential need for this
separation. Today’s widespread desire is to make things pleasant in
Christianity; to saw off the corners and edges of the cross, and to
avoid, as far as possible, self-denial. Everywhere we hear professing
Christians declaring loudly that we must not be “too narrow and
exclusive.” By their lifestyle they profess that there is nothing wrong
with participating in that which the holiest of saints rejected as bad
for the soul. Unfortunately, thousands proclaim we may go
anywhere, do anything, spend our time in anything, read anything,
keep any company, plunge into anything, and all the while still be
If you are one of those unhappy people who think
everybody is a Christian who attends a place of worship, no matter
how he lives, or what he believes, I fear you will care little about
separation from the world. But if you read the Bible, and are serious
about your soul, you will know there are two classes of professing
Christians - the converted and unconverted. There must be a
difference between believers and unbelievers. To you, therefore, I
make a special appeal this day. While many avoid the subject of
separation from the world, and many absolutely hate it, and many
are puzzled by it, give me your attention while I try to show you this
1. The World is a Source of Great Danger to the Soul.”
When I speak of “the world” in this article, I mean those people who
think only, or chiefly, of this world’s things, and neglect the world
to come—the people who are always thinking more of earth than of
heaven, more of time than of eternity, more of body than the soul,
more of pleasing man than of pleasing God. It is of them and their
ways, habits, customs, opinions, practices, tastes, aims, spirit, and
tone, that I am speaking when I speak of “the world.”
Now “the world,” in this sense, is an enemy of the soul. There are
three things which a true Christian must renounce and give up, and
three enemies which he must fight with and resist. These three are
the flesh, the devil, and “the world.” All three are terrible foes, and
all three must be overcome if we would be saved.
Let us turn to the testimony of the Holy Scriptures. If the texts I am
about to quote do not prove the world is a source of danger to the
soul, then there is no meaning in words.
Let us hear what the Apostle Paul says:
“And do not be conformed
to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that
you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of
God” (Romans 12:2).
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit
who is from God, that we might know the things that have been
freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12)
“Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this
present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father”
“You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you once
walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince
of power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of
disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1-2).
“For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and
has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for
Dalmatia” (2 Timothy 4:10).
Let us hear what James says:
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to
visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself
unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with
the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a
friend of the world makes himself any enemy of God” (James 4:4).
Let us hear what John says:
“Do not love the world or 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 eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but
is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but
he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that
we should be called children of God! Therefore, the world does not
know us, because it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1).
“They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and
the world hears them”(1 John 4:5).
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the
victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).
“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the
sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).
Let us hear, lastly, what the Lord Jesus Christ says:
“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the
word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches
choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Matthew13:22).
“And He said to them, you are from beneath; I am from above. You
are of this world; I am not of this world” (John 8:23).
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated
you” (John 15:18).
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper,
that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the
world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him;
but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be with you”
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because
you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore
the world hates you” (John 15:19).
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have
overcome the world” (John 16:33).
“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that
You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world,
just as I am not of the world” (John 17:15-16).
I make no comment on these texts. They speak for themselves. If
anyone can read them carefully, and fail to see that “the world” is an enemy to the Christian’s soul, and that there is an utter opposition
between the friendship of the world and the friendship of Christ, he
is past the reach of argument, and it is a waste of time to reason with
him. To my eyes they contain a lesson as clear as the sun at noon
Read J.C. Ryle's writing, 'the world' in its entirety at http://www.firstlovepublications.org/uploads/4/8/6/5/48652749/jc-ryle-the-world.pdf