January 9, 2022

Worldliness Among Christians

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy

What is Worldliness?

Worldliness is not the appreciation of the beauty of the physical world that God has created (cf. Psalm 8:3; Romans 1:19-20). It is also not referring to one’s engagement in serious study or the carrying out of one’s business with fervency (cf. Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

However, if one engages in any of these endeavours at the expense of God’s will and His glory, then it is worldliness. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). “Mammon” is an Aramaic word for an idol which the ancient Aramaic world worshipped as the god of wealth; as such, it came to represent all kinds of material possessions and profits. A captivation with material wealth and glory that hinders the soul from loving and obeying God is worldliness. We cannot love God and the world at the same time. James 4:4 unequivocally declares that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God”, and “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”. If one loves the world, there will be no room in his heart for the love of God.

Are your earthly engagements constantly distracting you from spiritual activities (“means of grace”) and stunting your spiritual progress? If so, then you are affected by worldliness. A preoccupation with the cares and riches of the world will inevitably prompt a scandalous departure from God and His will concerning His people (cf. Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19). Christians ought to be fascinated with God’s glory and not that of the world.

According to biblical truths, worldliness can also be equated with the acceptance of and the engagement with ungodly philosophies, passions, fashions, amusements and activities of the world. All worldly practices that draw the soul away into ungodliness are considered as worldliness. Thus, “the grace of God that bringeth salvation” teaches us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12).

Worldliness, then, is the unholy conduct of the unregenerate people which Christians should avoid. In fact, Christians are exhorted, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:5-9).

Christians are strongly warned by the apostle John: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15). The term “world” here refers to the ungodly or wicked systems of the world. John also forewarned that “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19b). This is corroborated by the apostle Peter’s language, when he warned against being entangled in “the pollutions of the world” (2 Peter 2:20). Likewise, the apostle Paul admonished us that to walk after the ways of the world is to be under the direction of the prince (or god) of this world – the devil – and his demonic forces (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12). Hence, loving the activities and amusements of the world, which are satanic and contrary to God’s holy and perfect will, is prohibited in God’s Word.

Sadly, there is much worldliness among the saints!

Especially in these days, worldliness is found in great measure among the saints. Churches are worldly. Worship services are worldly. Pastors, preachers and their families are worldly. Elders, deacons and their families are worldly. Churchgoers are worldly. Their homes and businesses are altars of worldliness.
Christians are living like worldlings. Churches are producing more carnal men than saints of God. Few today separate themselves from worldliness. There is hardly a distinguishable boundary that separates Christians from the world. In fact, many go to church with the hope that this will give them the material prosperity they are craving for. They refuse to believe that godliness may lead to much loss of material comfort. So many fall away from the church when their wealth, health, houses, businesses and other secular interests are endangered.

There is also worldliness in the motives and actions of many Christians. There is worldliness in their domestic life and in their interaction with society. There is worldliness in the education of their family members. There is worldliness in their businesses and employment. There is worldliness in their expenditure – so much being laid out for self-pleasure and self-glory, and so little for God. There is worldliness in their religious schemes and activities. There is worldliness in their reading material and conversations, and there is worldliness in their sports and entertainment. In short, there is too much of the spirit of obsessive worldliness in the lives of a great number of saints.

Are you, my reader, more concerned about your worldly advancement than spiritual advancement? Do you sacrifice your spiritual nourishment for worldly gain? Have you been too occupied with material and sensual matters, rather than the Lord, His church and His truth? If your answers to these questions are “yes”, then you are being gripped by worldliness! Repent, and turn to the Lord now.

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
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