Not of This World
Gordon Crook, PastorGrace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas
Jesus left His glory to come to this world so that we might participate in His glory. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” Philippians 2:5-7.
An important lesson we learn from John is found here: “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” John 1:10, and here: “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” John 18:36. It becomes quite clear that Jesus didn’t come here to become a part of the world system, or to establish His kingdom here. He came to offer Himself a sacrifice for our sins. “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28.
We also learn from those verses that we, His servants, are also not of this world. If we were, we would be fighting to establish His kingdom here. Many of God’s precious children seem to be unaware of this fact as they spend much time working to create a kingdom here.
The ruler of this world today is Satan. This does not mean that God is not in control over all, but Satan is ruling over this world system today, and it shows. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12. “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Corinthians 4:4.
As God’s people, we must be careful not to get drawn into this world and its drama. Satan would like to pull us into that to distract us from where our focus should be. If Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, why would we want our to be? We have been called to a heavenly kingdom. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2. “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:18.
We are already spiritually separated from the world. Jesus made provision for this at the cross. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14. If we are dead to this world as Paul says, why then would we be trying to become part of this world? What is it that we want here?
God has given to us His wisdom which enables us to understand the value of leaving behind this world. “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” 1 Corinthians 2:6-7. Notice that the wisdom of this world comes to nothing. It has no lasting value. “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” 1 Corinthians 1:20. If you have paid attention to the wisdom of this world, it is clear that it leads away from God, and towards things that do not last.
It follows then that when we decide to follow God’s leading and wisdom, the world will think poorly of us. We will seem foolish to them, because they cannot understand what we understand. “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14. If the world is too accepting of us, we might consider if we really are “not of this world.”
So, as God’s precious people, we need to live our lives here as though we are not of this world. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2. This is exactly how we can have our attitude and behavior show that we are not of this world. We need to be transformed every day in our minds by taking in God’s Word just as Jesus mentions about His disciples.
Our enemy (Satan) will continually try to drag our attention and desire back to the world, but we can overcome that as we spend time in God’s Word and yield to the working of the Holy Spirit who reminds us of the following: “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. 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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17.
There is no time to let down our guard against the attack of Satan. Every single day we need to heed God’s encouragement to us. There is a prize that awaits those that are not of this world. Let us run swiftly and constantly to obtain that prize; Jesus Christ our bridegroom.