Christian and the Kosmos
by John Edmiston
In the Spirit – Series 5
(A Ministry of Eternity Christian Fellowship)
Kosmos is the Greek word for 'world' and in New Testament times it had various meanings including humanity in general e.g. John 3:16 “God so loved the world” or the realm in which political and spiritual events play out - “this gospel of the Kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world”. But today we will be looking at the 'theological' meaning as used by Paul, Jesus and the apostles. In that sense kosmos meant the world as dominated by evil and especially by the astrological, demonic and idolatrous powers of the day and their human counterparts such as emperors who declared themselves to be a god.
This kosmos holds the whole world in its spiritual grip (1 John 5:19) through a ordered hierarchy of demonic beings:
Ephesians 6:12 MKJV For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world's rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Satan, the prince of this world (John 12:21) is also the prince of the power of the air and causes human beings caught up in the world to disobey God.
Ephesians 2:1-3 MKJV And He has made you alive, who were once dead in trespasses and sins, (2) in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience; (3) among whom we also had our way of life in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Now Satan offers the kosmos to those who will serve him and bow down and worship him.
Luke 4:5-8 MKJV And the Devil, leading Him up into a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. (6) And the Devil said to Him, All this power I will give you, and the glory of them; for it has been delivered to me. And I give it to whomever I will. (7) Therefore if you will worship me, all shall be yours. (8) And Jesus answered and said to him, Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve."
However Satan is defeated by Christ:
John 12:31 MKJV Now is the judgment of this world. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
So we see that the kosmos is in spiritual darkness - but the Christian is in the light:
John 14:17 MKJV the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you.
Colossians 1:12-13 MKJV (12) giving thanks to the Father, who has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. (13) For He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son;
So great is this light-dark contrast that the Christian must live separately from the Satanic kosmos and all its allurement. This separation from the kosmos will involve sacrifice because so much of this age is controlled by these evil powers. Indeed separating ourselves from them is akin to crucifixion:
John 12:24-25 MKJV Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. (25) He who loves his life shall lose it. And he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.
Matthew 16:24-26 MKJV Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. (25) For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it. (26) For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
God rewards our separateness by promising that He will be our Father and so He calls us out of the wrong alliances and distractions of the kosmos and into intimacy with Himself:
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 MKJV (14) Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness? (15) And what agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? (16) And what agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (17) Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you (18) and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
It is God's desire for intimacy with His blood-bought people that makes worldliness such a terrible sin:
James 4:4 MKJV Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever desires to be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Indeed the kosmos is not just against God – it is against you and against me. The kosmos is determined to destroy your spiritual life or at least to render it totally unfruitful.
Matthew 13:22 MKJV And that sown into the thorns is this: he who hears the Word; and the anxiety of this world, and the deceit of riches, choke the Word, and he becomes unfruitful.
We are not to 'sell our souls' to the world, the corporation, the stock market, or to anything at all! Instead we are to be content with what we have (1 Timothy 6:6-8) and to make it our aim to live quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and reverence (1 Timothy 2:2).
We are to aim at godly simplicity. The sweaty anxiety of the worldling is to be far from the Christian who walks in the Spirit. We are to commit our whole life to God's Providence. We are to take up our cross and leave the world far behind.
Hebrews 13:12-14 MKJV Therefore Jesus also, so that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. (13) Therefore let us go forth to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (14) For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
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