We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 1 John 5:19
Whole World – Read the verse again. John knows that the whole world is evil, but do we? Do we really see that the world (kosmos) is completely under the power of the evil one? Do we really believe that Satan controls every aspect of the world’s system? Or do we think Satan only operates in the really “bad” things like war and famine and disease? John (and God) tells us that there is nothing of this world that escapes the reign of the evil one. The Greek phrase is kosmos holos en to ponero keitai – “the cosmos entire in evil lies”.
Economics, education, politics, social systems, government, technology, environment, science, medicine, labor, business and yes, religion – all the systems of this kosmos lie in the hands of the evil one. For thousands of years he has worked to gain progressively more and more control over every aspect of life on earth. Why? Because it is his avowed purpose to overthrow and dominate the creation God made. The story of the Bible is a love story between God and man, but it is also a tragedy of unparalleled scope because it is the story of Satan’s progressive destruction of God’s order.
Stop thinking that good things in the world escape the evil one. They do not! Your high values and ethical actions in this world are still part of the world’s system under the control of Satan. Wherever you touch his system, you are subject to his influence and his agenda. That is why the entire world must pass away. It is irreparably infected. And that is why unless you operate from an completely different point of view while you plod these dusty streets, you will be operating under the world’s corrupt system even if you are ethical and moral. The Christian is not just a better human being. The Christian is a person who no longer lives according to the systems of this world. The Christian knows that this world has already been judged and sentenced to death. There is no use in investing any effort is trying to hang on to what it offers. It will all be destroyed.
So, what does that mean for you and me? It really starts very simply. If we are following God’s way, we understand that accumulation for personal gain or security or pleasure is total foolishness. The Christian knows that whatever he has is intended to pass through his hands like water. Satan accumulates. God distributes. The test is quick and easy: what things in my life am I unwilling to let go of? What am I trying to hold on to for the here and now? My job, my spouse, my children, my retirement, my status, my power, my reputation, my looks, my wealth? Why? Why do I take this attitude of clutching possession? Is it really mine?