“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19 NKJV).
Man as the crown of God’s creation was placed on the earth to exercise unlimited dominion over all the works of God’s hands (Psa. 8:5-6). God entirely gave the earth to man to replenish, subdue and manage (Gen. 1:28).
The Scripture states, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S; But the earth He has given to the children of men.” (Psa. 115:16 NKJV).
Sadly, man gave his God-given dominion to be the ruler on earth to the devil by choosing to obey the devil’s voice rather than God’s voice (Luke 4:6).
The devil’s dominion to reign freely on earth was taken away from him when the Lord Jesus Christ judged and defeated him through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.
Paul aptly states this truth in his epistle.
15 Principalities and powers he disarmed, and openly displayed them as his trophies, when he triumphed over them in the cross.” (Col. 2:15 MNT).
Every believer in Christ shares in Christ’s total victory and authority over the devil, the evil one. The devil has no authority over those who are under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 5:18-19).
Although the devil still prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, the truth is that the devil has been defeated and judged by Christ.
The Scripture states that “the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16:11 NKJV).
However, the full sentence of the devil’s judgement has not been carried out against him. This will happen at the close of the ages.
John writes about devil’s judgement in the book of Revelation.
10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (NKJV).
While the devil is waiting for the day of final and full execution of his judgement, he is presently actively operating in the world, “having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Rev. 12:12 NKJV).
Before the great day of his final judgement and destruction, the devil is still the god, ruler or prince of the world (the mass of ungodly men and their affairs).
While the devil does not wield any power, authority or dominion over the believers in Christ, yet he wields unlimited power, authority or dominion over the unbelievers.
John aptly states this truth.
1 John 5:
19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. (NKJV).
What are the consequences or implications of the world (that is, the ungodly multitude and their affairs) being under the dominion, control or sway of the devil, the evil or wicked one?
Let us consider some.
First, the course of this world is determined and directed by the devil:
The thoughts, emotions and actions of those who are not under the authority or Lordship of Jesus Christ are mostly inspired, directed, influenced, or controlled by the devil, the prince of this world. The devil is the source of the ways, fashions, modes, styles, or music of this world.
The Scripture reveals that the course of this world is according to “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2 NKJV).
This is why Paul admonishes believers not to be conformed to this world.
2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (RSV).
The ungodly or unregenerate are slaves or captives of the devil (Rom. 6:16, 1 John 3:8). They have yielded themselves to the devil to obey him and do his desires. The Lord Jesus said concerning them, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do…” (John 8:34 NKJV).
Therefore, it is natural or normal for the unbelievers to think, speak or act like the devil, conducting themselves in the lusts of the flesh.
Any believer who is thinking, speaking, or acting like the unbelievers has simply yielded himself as a slave to the devil, for “you are that one’s slaves whom you obey…” (Rom. 6:16 NKJV).
Second, the world is destitute of the truth:
The Scripture describes the devil (the god of this world) as “the father of lies” who “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44 NKJV).
This is why the world (the ungodly multitude) hates, rejects and resists the truth. The world is always seeking to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18).
The Scripture describes the unregenerate as those “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Rom. 1:25 NKJV).
The ungodly are destitute of the truth because they refuse to believe in the truth, Christ Jesus (John 14:6, 1 Tim. 6:5).
When you turn your ears away from the truth, the Scripture warns that you will “be turned aside to fables.” (2 Tim. 4:4 NKJV).
The Scripture states that because the ungodly “did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess. 2:10-12 NKJV).
Knowing that the world is destitute of the truth every believer must be careful not to believe, embrace or live by the lies of the world. Many believers today have departed from the faith because they gave heed to the lies of the god of this world.
1 Timothy 4:
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. (NKJV).
Third, the world loves and practices unrighteousness:
The devil who is the father and master of all the ungodly is perverse and crooked. It is therefore normal for the unregenerate to hate righteousness and celebrate perversions (1 John 3:10).
Having rejected Jesus Christ, the King of righteousness, the world is “filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful.” (Rom. 1:29-31 NKJV).
The born-again believers are partakers of the divine, holy and godly nature of God (2 Pet. 1:4). It is therefore inconsistent with the new nature of the believers to love and practice unrighteousness.
Conversely, it is inconsistent with the sinful and ungodly nature of the unbelievers to love and practice righteousness.
1 John 3:
10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. (NKJV).
Lastly, the world is full of wickedness:
The Scripture refers to the devil (the god of this world) as “the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Therefore, it is expected of the unbelievers who are slaves of the devil to be evil or wicked towards the believers.
This is why the Lord Jesus warns His disciples to brace up for hatred from the world.
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. (NKJV).
Beloved, are you presently facing discrimination, rejection, tribulation, or persecution from the world because of your firm conviction in the truth and resolution to wholly conform to Christ and His teaching, and not to conform to the course of the world?
Don’t be surprised!
“Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.” (1 John 3:13 NKJV).
Don’t be discouraged, “but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” (1 Pet. 4:13 NKJV).
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I resolve in my heart today never to choose, pursue, adopt or embrace the modes, fashion, styles, ways or principles of this passing evil world. Dear Holy Spirit, help and strengthen me to do so, in Jesus’ name. Amen.