Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. – 1 John 2:15
Skeptics (even some Christians) use this verse among others to say that God does not love sinners; despite the clear teaching of the Bible about His love for people including sinners:
For God SO LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16
But God commendeth HIS LOVE toward us, in that, while we were yet SINNERS, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
It’s clear from these verses among many others that God loves everyone (including sinners), that’s why He sent Jesus to die for them.Even in the Old Testament, to the people (Israelites) whom He called “stiff-necked and rebellious”; He said this; “In a far-off land the Lord will manifest himself to them. He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.”(Jeremiah 31:3)
So what actually is John trying to say in 1 John 2:15?
Clearly, John did not say that God does not love sinners but rather, “His love is not IN those who love the world”. Meaning, those who love the world do not have the God-kind of love.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father IS NOT IN him. – 1John 2:15
“…The love of the Father IS NOT IN him”, not, “…the Father does not love him”. There is a huge difference between the two!
This is why in the next verse he continues to say, “because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is NOT from the Father, but is from the world” – 1 John 2:16.
Here he describes the love of the world which is contrary to the love of God. To such people Jesus said in John 5:42, “But I know you, that YE HAVE NOT the love of God IN you.”Surely, Jesus didn’t mean that God doesn’t love them but rather that they don’t have the God-kind of love in them.
So, how to get the love of God IN us? Verse 5 says, by keeping His Word (which the people of the world certainly lack):
But whoever keeps his word, God’s LOVE has most certainly been perfected IN him. This is how we know that we are in him – 1John 2:5
Still in context of all this, Chapter 3:17 of the same 1John says: “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart of compassion against him, how does God’s love REMAIN IN him?”
1John 2:15 only talks about people who don’t have the God kind of love, they have the world kind of love. You can only have the God kind of love when you receive the Holy Spirit of God in your heart by confessing His word on what Jesus has done for you (Romans 10:9-10). He is love and therefore will influence you to love like God does:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. – Romans 5:5
So, 1John 2:15 has nothing to do with God’s love towards sinners but rather showing us how one knows that he doesn’t have God kind of love IN him when he loves like non believers (the world). For example, the world’s love only love those who love them; but God’s love loves even the worse enemies (Matthew 5:44, 1Corinthians 13:5).
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1Corinthians 13 shows us the definition of God’s love. Here is what it says,
4 Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, 5 doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6 doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with.– 1Corinthians 13:4-8, World English Bible
Yes, God will punish evil doers to eternal damnation (if they don’t repent) but right now, as far as God is concerned, the blood of Jesus is available to cleanse away the worse sins that have ever committed by men (Isaiah 1:18), thus He is calling on all men to repent (Acts 17:30-31).
I call on you to receive your salvation today if you haven’t done that yet. Follow this link.