That idea is taken from Christ’s statement recorded at John 15:15-17; 15“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”
Note that Christ was asking the Father to protect us from the “evil one,” and not from humans in this world. He also asked that we be sanctified, set apart, made holy through God’s words, knowing his ideas.
Now let’s go to James chapter four and see how the word “world” is sometimes used in the New Testament. “1 What causes conflicts and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the passions at war within you? 2You crave what you do not have; you kill and covet, but are unable to obtain it. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures.4You adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever chooses to be a friend of the world renders himself an enemy of God.” James 4:1-4
So in those scriptures, like the ones in John 17, “world” isn’t used to mean humanity, but instead human characteristics that are in conflict with God’s ways. We can therefore conclude that being no part of the world means not retaining God displeasing characteristics in our lifestyles, and in our personalities.
What wasn’t Christ speaking of? And I’m primarily listing these for the sake of Jehovah’s Witnesses that one day might find this website. Below is a list of what doesn’t apply, along with biblical proofs to support that teaching:
- Running for a political office and voting for a political candidate have nothing to do with Christ’s statements in John chapter 17. Scriptural proof: Daniel and his three companions all held political offices in a pagan country, Babylon. Joseph did also, in Egypt. Daniel and Joseph held very high political positions. It’s notable that Daniel and his three companions refused the diet of the Babylonians because of following godly dietary restrictions on them. Yet they accepted political positions. So, unless you believe Jehovah’s ways change, refusing to hold a political office has nothing to do with being “no part of the world.”
- Not celebrating holidays has nothing to do with the statements Christ made in John 17. The biblical proof: Paul stated that whether a Christian observes one day above another is a matter of personal conscience, and has nothing to do with whether or not that Christian is acceptable to God. “5One person regards a certain day above the others, while someone else considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who observes a special day does so to the Lord; he who eats does so to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.” Romans 14:5,6
- Serving in the military: I won’t make a judgment on this one, but I suggest you don’t either, since it is not your place. Instead it’s Christ’s place to. The fact the first gentile Christian was a pagan army officer should enlighten you enough not to do that. God could have chosen anyone to be the first gentile Christian. He chose a soldier. Besides, there were dozens of biblical wars sanctioned by God.
15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world. 17The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever. 1 John 2: 15-17