“And be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2). “The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes” (1 John 2:16). “Sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 19). 

Let us take solemn heed to the above verses! “This world” means fallen human nature, and our sinful nature acts itself out in accord with its own evil tendencies. It is the organized kingdom of darkness, the “carnal mind which is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). Worldliness in Scripture speaks of the world without God. It is called “this world” to distinguish it from the future and eternal world. The word “world” often means “things seen and temporal,” as the Psalmist says, “men of the world, who have their portion in this life” (Psalm 17:14). John says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father.” Note, lusts and pride are not of God!


Nothing characterizes the world more than “sensuality,” which is lewdness, lasciviousness, and fondness for indulgence in sensual pleasures. But Scripture still says,“Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Who preaches this anymore? It is not exactly a popular text, is it? Neither is this one: “Flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18). The carnal lusts of the flesh are given full sway in American society: through music, pornography, television, movies, internet, and novels. And the church has been invaded by “this world,” sadly succumbing to it. As John Brown once said: “To be conformed to this world is to be possessed of a character formed entirely by the influences of the present, sensible state of things acting on the unchanged principles of fallen humanity, managed by him who is ‘the prince’ and ‘the god of this world.’ Unregenerate men are ‘fashioned’ by this state of things, through the medium of ‘their flesh and its lusts.'” How true this is to the testimony of Scripture.
But is there hope? Only in the cross of Christ. Beneath that cross, sinners cannot continue to engage in the sensuality of the flesh. There must be repentance, mourning over our lusts, and a fixed determination to “flee” and “shun” every inward and outward conformity to this world. Christ Jesus went in love to Calvary to pay for every one of our lusts. Be humbled and amazed at that! Viewing by faith the work of the cross is the only way we can truly experience this: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). As much as lies within us, by God’s grace, may we stand firm against the wiles of the devil, all sensuality, and all compromise with the world.
 
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
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