“In” the World not “Of” the World


  • Image by Master isolated images, freedigitalphotos.net

As Christians, we have heard the saying “we are in the world, but we are not of the world”. It is something I have heard for years, but it wasn’t until I heard a pastor preach on it this summer that I saw it Scripture for the first time.

1 Corinthians 1:2

To the church of God in Corinth…

2 Corinthians 1:1

…To the church of God in Corinth…

First and second Corinthians are Paul’s letters to the people of Corinth. He addresses them in 1 Corinthians 1:2 and 2 Corinthians 1:2. He was writing to the church of God. The church is the people, so Paul was writing to the people of God. The preposition “of” describes who we belong to or what group we are part of. We refer to ourselves as the mother of, daughter of, wife of, boss of, father of, friend of, etc. We belong to those people, not in an ownership sort of way, but rather as being a part of a particular group or related to the person. We are children of God, the people of God because we belong to the Lord and are part of His family.

The second part of Paul’s address deals with where the people are located, “in Corinth”. So in addressing his letter, Paul started by acknowledging who the people belong to or what group they were part of – they belong to God and are part of God’s family. He followed this with identifying the location of the people.

We, as believers, live “in” the world. We live in a city, state and country. However, we are not “of” the world because we do not belong to the world; we belong to the Lord. This should greatly impact how we behave. We are not to behave as part of the world’s culture but to behave as members of the family of God.

When our children are out in public, they represent us and our family and we want them to behave accordingly. God wants the same thing from us. We represent Him to the world and He wants us to behave accordingly.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 

As God’s children, we are not to conform to the culture around us but to allow the Lord to renew our minds and stay focused on Him and His will for our lives. Regardless of what we face in life, we need to stand firm as believers and make sure that we respond with the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control because we belong to God . We cannot do it on our own but we can through the power of His Holy Spirit working in us. Remember wherever you are, you represent God to those around you!

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4 thoughts on ““In” the World not “Of” the World

  1. lovely post..thanks for this kind of an insightful post..really appreciate your efforts!! great blog!! follow you now!!

    • Aadi, thanks for the kind words. I hope I am able to reach people through this blog and have it be a place to talk about our faith.

  2. Thank you, Shelly for what you’re doing here on your blog. It’s wonderful and encouraging.

    This passage in Romans reminds me of what Peter said in 1 Peter 2:11-12:

    “(11.) Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. (12.) Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

    When the children of Israel sojourned through foreign lands, the picked up the customs and idols and religions and ways of the people they came into contact with and added to their number through marriage and religion. The corrupted the ways that God taught them and went after foreign and false gods.

    When we keep His ways before us and live our lives according to His Word, the people around us will begin to desire those ways in their own lives. We bring glory to Him when we turn things around. No longer are we conformed to the world, but even more – we begin to conform the world and bring the world to His ways. Let us be successful in that and glorify the Lord of Heaven and Earth each day!


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