Dead to the Old World, Alive to the New World
THIS old world is condemned and doomed to destruction. A new world is being established in righteousness, and will continue forever. All persons living today have the opportunity of learning the truth and then of making a decision concerning their own destiny. A choice must be made: Will you continue to live like this present evil world, engage in all its wrong practices, be part of it and die with it? Or, learn of the new world, desire its righteousness, be alive to it and live in it forever? Will you forsake this world of unrighteousness and live for the new world of righteousness?
This will not be the first world to suffer destruction. One has already perished. Here is the authentic record: “An earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God, and by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged.” “The patience of God was waiting in Noah’s days, while the ark was being constructed, in which a few people, that is, eight souls, were carried safely through the water.” “By the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men. But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” One wicked world, condemned to destruction, did perish by being overflowed with water. All except eight persons were drowned in that great flood. Now another evil world is to be destroyed and ungodly men are going to perish with it. Then a new world will be established in which righteous ones may live.—2 Pet. 3:5, 6; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 3:7, 13, NW.
The present evil world is under the authority of Satan, the ruler of darkness. The apostle Paul writes to the congregation concerning the preaching of the good news of the new world and the destruction of the old world. “If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.” Jesus said: “Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” Satan the Devil is the ruler and authority of darkness.—2 Cor. 4:3, 4; John 12:31, NW.
Is it possible to get from under this authority of darkness? We must, if we do not want to be destroyed as part of the old world. The apostle Paul stated: “He delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transplanted us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, by means of whom we have our release by ransom, the forgiveness of our sins.” The Lord Jesus prayed: “I have given your word to them, but the world has hated them, because they are no part of the world just as I am no part of the world. I request you, not to take them out of the world, but to watch over them because of the wicked one.” This simply means to be living in the evil world, yet no part of it. This is not easy, for the world hates those who do.—Col. 1:13, 14; John 17:14, 15, NW.
The Lord Jesus said: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” “Then the king will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have my Father’s blessing, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation.’” This kingdom will bring joy to all the obedient. “Look! the tent of God is with humankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away.” Yes, the old world will pass away and all things will be made new. What a marvelous Kingdom to be transplanted into!—Matt. 5:5; 25:34; Rev. 21:3, 4, NW.
It will be a new world of joy, peace, health, liberty and life; a world worth learning about and seeking for. Do you not desire to live in and for such a world? There is really nothing of true value in this old world, is there? Time is so short. “We spend our years as a tale that is told.” (Ps. 90:9) Our years are so few—seventy—and soon gone. This old world is full of selfishness, deceit, lies, hypocrisy, iniquity, violence, filthiness, sickness and, in the end, death. Why not finish with it now by becoming ‘dead’ to it, and ‘alive’ for God’s new world? Do you not think it better to spend the few years you have for God’s new world of righteousness and let this world go by?
REJECT “THE WILL OF THE NATIONS”
To those who do take such a course it will mean a great change, but certainly for the better. Be prepared, however, for you will encounter many problems. The results, though, will be most satisfying. The Lord Jesus set the course and the apostles followed his steps. How did they do it? Can we do it? We can, if we have the same disposition and resolute purpose in mind. We have to be prepared for all kinds of attacks. Our associates will not understand our new and changed way of living, why we have left the old world and become ‘dead’ to it. Some will just leave us alone, others will register disapproval, while many will oppose and try every way possible to prevent our being “transplanted into the kingdom of the Son of his love.” What will you do?
Listen now to what the apostle Peter says of one making for God’s new world: “Live the remainder of his time in the flesh, no more for the desires of men, but for God’s will.” There is no question as to what he means by these words. It is a very positive command, but how many are carrying it out? Ask yourself, Am I? It means that we may not use the years we have left to live according to men’s desires. No, that must end, for from henceforth we must live according to the will of God. The apostle further drives home his instruction by saying to those who want to live for the new world: “For the time that has passed by is sufficient for you to have worked out the will of the nations.” What “will of the nations” is he speaking about? Whatever it is, he is certainly convinced that the time spent has been by far enough, too much in fact.—1 Pet. 4:2, 3, NW.
Now let us read on and see what is meant by the “will of the nations,” and from these things we should depart: “ . . . when you proceeded in deeds of loose conduct, lusts, excesses with wine, revelries, drinking matches, and idolatries that are without legal restraint.” On the same subject the apostle Paul says: “This, therefore, I say and bear witness to in the Lord, that you no longer go on walking just as the nations also walk in the unprofitableness of their minds, while they are in darkness mentally, and alienated from the life that belongs to God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the insensibility of their hearts. Having come to be past all moral sense, they gave themselves over to loose conduct to work uncleanness of every kind with greediness. . . . you should put away the old personality which conforms to your former course of conduct and which is being corrupted according to his deceptive desires.” Further details are supplied at Romans 1:18-32. When you have read these verses you will surely not question or wonder why the apostle Peter says: “For the time that has passed by is sufficient for you to have worked out the will of the nations.”—1 Pet. 4:3; Eph. 4:17-19, 22, NW.
Today the same conditions exist in every nation. Now note what the apostle says: “Because you do not continue running with them in this course to the same low sink of debauchery, they are puzzled and go on speaking abusively of you.” (1 Pet. 4:4, NW) You must not be surprised if you find this happens to you, for our Lord Jesus Christ said it would be so: “Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every kind of wicked thing against you for my sake.” (Matt. 5:11, NW) People who are obedient to the “will of the nations” may do these things to you, but they will have to answer for their wrong deeds. The next verse 1 Pe 4:5 (5) reads: “But these people will render an account to the one ready to judge those living and those dead.”
JESUS’ MENTAL DISPOSITION
Though these opposers will have to give account, what is of greatest concern to each one of us is, How shall we stand their opposition? How can we keep on making for the new world in spite of all their persecutions? The answer is supplied by the apostle Peter: “Therefore since Christ suffered in the flesh, you, too, arm yourselves with the same mental disposition, because the person that has suffered in the flesh has desisted from sins.” (1 Pet. 4:1, NW) To be “armed” means to be equipped, to be furnished with the means of defense and offense, to be prepared for resistance, to fortify oneself. It means to impart to the mind and heart anything that will make one more fitted to withstand attack. Why? We need to be so armed because our purpose is to be dead to the old world and alive to the new world. It is a warfare in which we must engage ourselves to prove worthy of escaping this doomed evil world and of being “transplanted into the kingdom.”
Let us consider Christ Jesus. What was his mental disposition? We must have it if we are not going to “live the remainder of our lives to the desires of men.” First, he took in knowledge of the work he was to do and set about doing it. Nothing was going to prevent him, not even wrong suggestions from his own disciples. Satan and the demons opposed him, as well as their agents on earth, but nothing turned him aside. On he went, doing one thing, serving his Father. This was his mental disposition. Being so armed he could fight and conquer. We must be armed with the same mental disposition.
Amid all his sufferings Christ Jesus proved faithful to Jehovah. He entirely repudiated Satan, the demons and the whole world and vindicated the name of Jehovah. He proved faithful to the death on the torture stake. Remember, he suffered for everyone who is a beneficiary of his sacrifice, for all those who have gained or will gain any benefit from his shed blood. He died to reconcile these to God. This, then, was the chief reason why Christ Jesus came in the flesh, to suffer, vindicate his Father, give his life for the obedient and to establish the new world.
Can we all get his mental disposition? Yes, if we become ‘dead’ to the old world. It must have no hold on us. “Do not be loving either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:15-17, NW) Become dead to the old world, its desires, its sins, its rebellion against God. If you are dead to it, then the old world will have no hold upon you. It will mean nothing to you. You are lifeless toward it—in it, while it lasts, but not of it. Those who are its friends are enemies of God.—Jas. 4:4, NW.
But be alive to the new world, to its hopes, its aims, its prospects. God loves the new world. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, NW) All of us should love what God loves, be intensely interested in what he has approved. Do we do so? If not, do not allow any more time to escape, but right now determine that everything else is secondary. The new world is going to continue forever. Therefore make paths that will lead you to it and keep you in it and alive to it. Let it invigorate you. Come to life. Bestir yourself. Enjoy the honor and privilege now of working and living for the new world.