“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously’?” James 4:4–5
God is both the Savior of the world and the world’s most dedicated enemy.
Scripture makes it clear that God is set on a course to bring about the world’s complete destruction. Nothing short of that will satisfy God’s plans for the future of this planet. Revelation chapter 21 tells us that after the fiery destruction of the world God will then set to work and create a whole new world that will replace our sin ravaged one.
Why is God so determinedly set against this world? It’s the presence of sin that drives God to take the measures he’s taking. Sin is insidious. It corrupts virtually everyone it touches and because every person on planet earth has been infected by sin we ensured that sin has left its mark on everything and the only way to remove the imprint of sin upon this world is to destroy it and start over.
God is also the world’s best friend because he has been set on saving as many people from this world as will allow him to save them. Heaven has gone to great expense for our salvation. No price has been to high to pay. No sacrifice to much to make. The Father gave his Son. The Son gave himself. The Holy Spirit has been sent to live in our hearts. Numberless angels labor as they give us their help in cooperating with God’s efforts to save us. All this so that we might be able to chose to be with God and so that he could, with our cooperation, recreate us from the inside out.
But James makes its clear that a partial submission, a divided loyalty, will never satisfy when it comes to preparing to live forever with our Heavenly Father. If we strive to maintain our friendship with this world we cultivate in our hearts enmity with God. The sinful desires we cultivate are lust, violence, greed, pride, selfishness, strife, murder and covetousness. All these, no matter how benign they may seem to us, are diametrically opposed to the heart of God and we are to have the heart of God living in us motivating and directing all we do and say.
God asks to to give up this sinful world and our attachment to it so that we can have him and his love. He promises us a new home to replace the one our sinfulness forces him to destroy. But clinging to this world will only hold is here on this world and ultimately result in our being destroyed as well. We too must, like God, hate this sinful world, but love its people enough to work for their salvation.