Chapter 39 The Conquest Of The World

Now is the judgment of this world (John 12:31).

The world in its material form is not in itself evil. There was neither disorder nor ugliness in it when God first made it. When the work of creation was completed, God pronounced it “very good.” It was wonderfully adapted to be man’s home. It was the garden of the Lord—an earthly paradise. The whole planet reflected the goodness of God. Fragrance and fruit charmed and refreshed man’s senses. To live there, as man did in the primeval setting, and to converse with God was surely unalloyed delight. Man’s heart was only love; his worship was pure praise of his Creator.

But in yielding to Satan, the first man yielded not only his heart to the prince of evil, but also the earth over which God had made him overseer. Satan, therefore, has been able to build upon the earth, using unregenerate man, a world system without reference to God. There are many parts to that system, each of which appeals to different persons, but all draw away worship and reverence from the living God.

The Appeal of the World

The world has been made most appealing to the natural man. Its secularized society appeals to each person according to his temperament. It has a religious appeal. A multitude of humanitarian religions, modeled after Cain’s, reject the blood-sacrifice of Christ. Thus, while being religious, such devotees are under the curse, for, like Cain, they are “of that wicked one.” This is manifest in their rejecting God’s method of redemption. The world’s religious systems are rooted in man’s own works.

The world has an educational appeal. This offers a degree of learning in all natural sciences, but it will never teach God’s truth, that truth written in the Scriptures—the only Book of truth in this untrue world. The educational system will even provide courses in the occult but not courses in the revealed truth of God.

The world has a commercial appeal. This inspires men to grab all they can of material possessions but to seek no sustenance for their souls. The whole emphasis is either on the body or the soul but none on the spirit.

The world has a political appeal. This is government without God. Since man’s reason is totally in darkness, his affections unclean, and his will disobedient to God’s will, the inevitable result is governmental chaos. He rules corruptly over sin-doomed earthly kingdoms where corruption abounds.

The world has a recreational appeal. This is an appeal to make people’s lives full of fun and sport, filled with mirth and laughter to make men lovers of pleasure, worshipers of the god of this world, admirers of its vanity, indulgers of its flesh.

The world, then, is a great distraction. Satan sees to it that there is little time for hearing the Word of God, and makes that Word irksome to itching ears. It is a world full of idols, all of which speak vanity. It pretends to have what it does not possess. It offers what it cannot provide. Satan is very skillful to whisper that these things must have their proper place.

But his design in the whisper is to put the things of God out of every place. The world is a satanic system which draws the love of fallen man into foolish vanities, empty shows, golden maxims, defiling pleasures, lying principles, soul-beclouding literature, and makes an idol of all the wit and talent of the natural man. The world binds the souls of men to Satan’s chariot.

The Overcoming of the World

“I have overcome the world.” So said the Lord Jesus, and we must believe it. But how did He do that? He did it by living a godly life in the midst of a godless society. He never withdrew from the world of men. He did not shut Himself up in a monastery. He mixed with men. “Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him” (Luke 15:1). He trod this earth in human nature and in human form, moving among men and sharing their toil.

In His life on earth our Lord used very little of this world’s goods. He was not allured by its appeals. Thus He who alone could choose, chose for His birthplace a lowly manger in a cattle shed; for His family, a very poor one; and for His place of upbringing, Nazareth, a city infamous for crime. During His ministry He chose to have nowhere to lay His head. He overcame the world, not with money—that were vain. He used no finite store—that would fall short. He lived a perfect, sinless life. The world, therefore, had no appeal to Him. It failed to allure Him. He overcame it by a life of impeccable holiness. He alone fulfilled all righteousness—each righteous ordinance of God. The world had nothing in Him to which it could appeal. He overcame the world.

As the world could not allure Him, so also it could not frighten Him to deflect Him from the Father’s will and purpose. Oh, the world would assault Him with the crudest of torture. The world would prove a monster of unspeakable hatred—a world of evil men who would slay the Lord of glory and become inflicters of all His stripes. It would not spare Him. It would pierce His body and His heart, but it could never deflect Him from God’s great purpose. He remained a quenchless flame until the redemption of fallen man was an accomplished fact.

Take the world, but give me Jesus;
All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
Through eternal years the same.

O the height and depth of mercy!
O the length and breadth of love!
O the fullness of redemption,
Pledge of endless life above!

Take the world, but give me Jesus;
Sweetest comfort to my soul;
With my Saviour watching o’er me,
I can sing though billows roll.

Take the world, but give me Jesus;
In His cross my trust shall be;
Till, with clearer, brighter vision,
Face to face my Lord I see.

Fanny J. Crosby