Friends of the World

"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)

This stern warning seems to be in conflict with our Lord's own instruction: "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations" (Luke 16:9). Some have used that concept to justify personal behavior that mimics the world's secularism so that we "might by all means save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22). Others have suggested that the atmosphere of the church should be "friendly" to the world so that we can "seek" and "save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

Half truths are dangerous things.

There is no justification in the Scripture to be like the world, or to be "of the world" (John 15:19). "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:16). That clear statement is preceded by the command "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15). There is no ambiguity here!

Although we are to give the "glorious gospel" (1 Timothy 1:11) to "every creature" (Mark 16:15) that we "might gain them that are without law" (1 Corinthians 9:21), we are also "to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God" (2 Corinthians 4:6), making sure that we speak "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15), not "handling the word of God deceitfully" (2 Corinthians 4:2).

We must, therefore, be very careful that our witness results in those who are "born again, not of the corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23). HMM III

Series: 
New Testament
Book: 
James
Verses: 
4:4
Article Type: 
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