It’s fair to say that it’s almost impossible to be a Christian for any length of time without hearing the expression that Christians are to be, “In the World but Not of the World.” While we as Christians may nod our heads in agreement to this declaration that seems to have an emphasis on separating ourselves from the world’s unrighteousness (2 Corinthians 6:14-17), it may be just as easy for us to shake our heads in confusion as we try to understand how it’s possible to not be of a world that we are born into. What can help us make sense of it all is to take a look at the context of the verse where this expression originated, and, funny as it may sound, to pay a visit to your local aquarium to learn about a very special animal.
This expression, “In the World but Not of the World” is a paraphrase taken from a prayer of none other than Jesus himself in John 17:13-19:
“I am coming to you (the Father) now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Juanma Velasquez