What Does the Bible Mean by “Worldliness”?

Not Merely External

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.

Gal. 6:14 NLT

Worldliness is being in love with the things of this life as opposed to the trust and affection for our Savior. The spirit of the world is embodied in the love of money, hunger for unbridled sex, and thirst for power. A worldly attitude is an arrogance that takes pride in our accomplishments, status, and rank over and above the majesty and glory of God.

Worldliness is any passion, craving, or hunger for the pleasures of sin while simultaneously desiring to receive the approval of others for our poor choices. Worldliness uses and misuses people for personal satisfaction, political influence, and fleshly pleasure. Worldliness is an organized scheme of humankind that uses our flesh (i.e., sin nature) to draw us away from an intimate relationship with God. Worldliness is a heart attitude intrinsic to being born in Adam and living in a fallen world. The solution to breaking the world’s all-pervasive grip on our lives is the Cross of Christ ( 1 John 2:15-17, Gal. 6:14).

The Christian is called to separation from the world, but we must be sure we know what we mean (or more important, what God means) by the world. We are likely to make it mean something external only and thus miss its real meaning. The theater, cards, liquor, gambling—these are not the world; they are merely an external manifestation of the world. Our warfare is not against merely an external manifestation of the world. Our warfare is not against mere worldly ways, but against the spirit of the world.

For man, whether he is saved or lost, is essentially spirit. The world, in the New Testament meaning of the word, is simply unregenerate human nature wherever it is found, whether in a tavern or in a church. Whatever springs out of, is built upon or receives support from fallen human nature is the world, whether it is morally base or morally respectable.

A. W. Tozer, God’s Pursuit of Man (Camp Hill, PA: Windspread, 1950), 124.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.