Worldliness (VIII): Results of Worldliness

Harry Ozment
Nashville, Tennessee

As a person studies the Bible, one crystal theme stands out in regard to the commandments of God: all the commands of God were given for the benefit of man. Some evidently have the idea that the Almighty was merely arbitrary in His prohibitions for man, but this is not true. In obedience to any command ever given to man can be seen an inherent blessing for man! This principle is also true in regard to worldliness. God did not prohibit "love for the world" because He wanted to be arbitrary or "mean"--He did so for the benefit and good of man himself. I know no quicker way to prove this than to consider the results of worldliness:

(1) Is ungratifying. As has been noticed before, worldliness offers some pleasure. God does not try to deceive us in this respect. He never has denied that there is pleasure in sin. What God does bring out, however, is that whatever pleasure there might be in the world, it is transitory and unsatisfying. John said, "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (I Jn. 2:17) Zophar took an honest appraisal of the worldling, and his conclusion was: "Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon the earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?" (Job 20:4-5) God said to his people of old: "Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; consider your ways." (Hag. 1:6-7)

One need only to observe casually the men of this world to ascertain the truth of this inspired statement. Consider John Rockefeller: he had all the money any man could ever use. Yet, he was not satisfied, for he tried every day of his life to get another dollar. Consider Adolph Hitler: When he became the dictator of Germany, he possessed power that very few other men enjoyed. However, he was unsatisfied. He had only whetted his appetite for more power, and therefore, he tried to conquer the world. Consider Alexander the Great: after taking all the land of the known world, he knelt before his soldiers in bitter tears because he had no more land to conquer, He also was unsatisfied. All these men, as well as countless others, have devoted their lives to something as transitory as the wind itself! They all realized it, Im sure---but it was too late. Therefore, do you not consider Jesus the greatest friend you have when he advised, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."(Matt. 6:19-20)

(2) Harms the body. One obligation of the Christian is to protect his body from harm. This can be done by resisting sin and glorifying God with the human body. Paul commanded: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (I Cor. 10:31) Although sin offers momentary pleasure, it also produces ravages upon our bodies. A life of sin and immorality usually is evidenced in a persons face or bodily appearance. We have already noticed the damage done to the body by social drinking and other such lusts of the flesh. Paul explained that fornication is a sin against the body: "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." (I Cor. 6:18) When a person becomes a Christian, he is sanctified--even his body is "set apart" for service to God. When that person joins his "sanctified body" to a harlot, he is violating the very essence of sanctification and therefore is sinning against his own body (read verses 15-17}. Any lust of this world which harms the body is a sin against God. Paul explained: "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (I Cor. 6: 19-20}

(3)Ruins influence. No man is "an island unto himself." Especially is this true of a Christian because he is to be a "light of the world," a "city on a hill," and a "candle on candlestick." Because the eyes of others are upon them, Christians have the obligation to live in such a way as to lead those observers to heaven. In view of this, it is strange to hear professed Christians remark, "But I have a right to do what I like. Let me live my life and let all others live theirs?"

The Christian, however, is a man who rights of self and more of duties Thus, Paul said, "We then that are ought to bear the infirmities of the and not to please ourselves. Let everyone of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not 'himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches them that reproached thee fell on me." (Rom. 15:1-3)

When a person's love of the world manifests itself openly in the works of the flesh his influence for good is ruined. He can lead no one to Christ. How can he lead anyone from the world if he is still there Therefore, we are to lead righteous lives being sure not to permit our lives to be a stumbling block to others. Paul said, "Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." (Rom. 14:13} Jesus said, "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh." (Matt. 10:6-7)

(4) Destroys purity of church. The purity of the church is a matter of supreme importance to God the Father and His Son. Jesus died so that the church might be an exalted institution without imperfection. Paul said, "Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Eph. 5:25-27) I do not believe that God expects His chosen people (the church) to be without sin. This certainly is not what Paul meant by "holy and without blemish." A pure church is one in which worldliness is not allowed to run rampant--it is stopped in its infancy before it can spread and destroy the entire church.

Paul likened worldliness in the church to leaven in a lump: "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened." (I Cor. 5:0-7) It is strange to me why some people wonder about "how the congregation got so worldly" when nothing whatsoever was ever done about the problem. It was not preached against, it was not corrected, it was not disciplined-how could the church be anything but worldly? A pure church is a delight to the Lord. It is worthy of great admiration and exaltation. John said, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." (Rev. 19:7-

(5) Spiritual destruction. This final result of worldliness is the most tragic. It seems that many in the church do not realize that worldliness on their part will lead to the eternal damnation of their souls. Many have the idea that they are just having "fun," and such could not possibly be very serious in the sight of God. The apostle Peter, in speaking of worldliness, said, "But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you." (2 Pet. 2:12-13) Yes, it is really this serious in the sight of God. May He help us to think just as soberly about the matter!

TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 39, pp. 8-10

August 13, 1970