Those who meet these characterizations are in a very select group.  This, not the United States Senate, is “the most exclusive club in the world.”  It is a fraternity into which there is no other access except that which is granted by regeneration and true conversion.  It is a path which none can follow, except those who are willing to deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.  Such individuals “are of God.”  Their religion is not born out of their own hearts, nor is it something they simply obtained as a tradition from their fathers.  The power that works within them is of heavenly origin.  It flows from the very throne of God, and that glorious Person Who dwells within them exercises divine power to conform them to the image of Christ.

Over against this blessed group is “the whole world,” which lieth in wickedness.  Very obviously, the “whole world” here no more means every single human person on the face of the globe, than it did when John spoke of Christ making propitiation for the whole world.  There, the design was the whole family of Christ, composed of both Jew and Gentile.  Here, he intends all that world which has no part in the death of Christ, and have not entered into the kingdom of God by the new birth.  That entire world is still mired in unbelief, still living for nothing but the gratification of its carnal lusts.  They mind earthly things, are concerned only with earthly pleasures, and know nothing of the joys of Zion.  Wickedness characterizes them, because they have no part in the new birth, which is the only power in the universe that can deliver us from the power of wickedness.  Just as the Lord Jesus affirmed that no man can see the kingdom of God without being born again, so it might be said with equal truth, that except a man be born again, he will continue to lie in wickedness along with the rest of the unbelieving world.