A Depraved Desire
At the congregation that I serve pastorally, we have been going through 1 John together on Sunday mornings. Line by line, truth by truth, doctrine by doctrine we have been seeing God’s Word each week. Multiple lessons are learned as I sit at my desk to prepare each and every sermon. Perhaps one of the most valuable came when preaching 1 John 2:15-17. It is a fairly simple text, but one with profound application as we read:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” -1 John 2:15-17
The repetition of the word desires in this passage is the specific point I want to focus upon in this article. Clearly, the lost world desires the sinful ways of the flesh, they desire the lusts of the eyes, and they desire to live in prideful rebellion against the Creator God. Each one of these desires overflows out of the soul of someone who is committed to living according to his or her own way. In fact, the Greek word for desires is the same one used in Romans 1:24 to describe the lusts of their heart which culminates in the behavior of homosexuality according to verse 27. Idolatry leads a person to strive after their sinful desires which drives human beings to all kinds of perversions of how God created the natural order. Ultimately, these texts are showing us the desire of those who have rejected God. They are not after righteousness, holiness, or goodness but instead cling to the sins of the flesh which testify to their state before God.
A Restless Desire
Try as they may, the lost sinner can never find full and lasting satisfaction in the flesh. In their soul, they have a longing and a desire that evidences itself in depravity. Yet, that desire only continues to rise up within them wanting more. Proverbs 27:20 says that the eyes of man are never satisfied. Indeed, even King Solomon had to testify that all the effort spent giving his eyes whatever they desired was nothing but pure vanity and striving after the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11). The lost sinner is on a ceaseless treadmill. It is as though they constantly desire more believing they shall be satisfied while in the end never finding the fulfillment of their journey.
That reality describes why sinful men are called inventors of evil in Romans 1:30. Lost humanity does not simply rest in the evil they can commit presently, they must be continuing to conjure up new and creative ways to sin before God. This evidences the state of their heart. A lost soul is one who never has enough. Peace does not dwell in their hearts for they are rebelling against the Prince of peace. Contentment is not found in their souls because they are constantly looking for the next thing. Eternal joy has not yet dawned upon them for they do not know God. All of these truths show the lost person is not only depraved, they are restless as they live in the world without God. They cannot find the satisfaction they long for in sin for it does not bring peace to the soul. It only fuels a desire for more and more causing one to heap sin upon sin (Romans 2:5). A sinner is lost in the darkness without the light stumbling over their own depravity as they take the long path towards God’s judgment. This is the nature of their reality unless Christ acts in their souls by His grace.
A Fulfilled Desire
What then can satisfy the soul? Are all human beings doomed to restless wandering in the darkness for eternity? Men and women shall continue forth in their depraved lostness until they encounter the One for whom they were made. It is then when peace, joy, and contentment dawn forth in their hearts as the light of Christ makes them new. Isaiah 61:10 says:
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. -Isaiah 61:10
A heart that has been redeemed by the work of Christ is a new creation with new desires. Their eyes are focused upon God who is their delight and joy. Restlessness is replaced with comfort. Distress is overtaken by peace. Anger is plunged beneath the overflowing waters of forgiveness. Joy arises taking over the disgruntled soul unable to find it in sin. The Christian grows throughout their lives so that these realities advance in them by sanctification. Ultimately, their innermost desire is to glorify God by being conformed to Christ trusting that whatever happens to them serves this purpose of eternal good in God’s plan (Romans 8:28-29)
Our world today is filled with depraved sinners who know nothing of this peace and comfort shared by believers. The culture gives evidence to being inventors of evil by the cycle of first destroying marriage, then promoting homosexuality, and afterward moving into an advance of transgenderism. Such ceaseless desire for sin demonstrates wickedness and restlessness. The task of the Christian is to proclaim the truth of Christ so that souls might be saved and won to the Lord. May we do that faithfully as we urge humanity to come and bow the knee before Christ. It is in Him alone that they shall find forgiveness of sins, the path of life, and eternal joy. Let us also live a life testifying to these powerful realities before them each day setting forth the bright light of Christ in word and deed!