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Spirit of the World — What is It?

What is the “spirit of this world” noted in 1 Corinthians  2:12? Let’s read the verse:

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

1 Corinthians  2:12

A relevant passage that comes to mind is the opening verses of Ephesians 2:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

Ephesians 2:1-3

The same Greek word for “world” in 1 Corinthians 2:12 is also used in Ephesians 2:2. “The ruler of the air, the spirit who in now at work in those who are disobedient” would be satan and, by extension, his filthy spirits. Those who walk according to the spirit of this world regularly manifest the works of the flesh, which is the sinful nature or satanic nature (Galatians 5:19-21).

For instance, the word ‘satan’ means “slanderer” and satan is described in Scripture as “the accuser (slanderer) of the brethren” and “the father of lies” (Revelation 12:10 & John 8:44). As such, those who live according to the spirit of this world function in this manner – slandering people and lying. The more they live like this the more they’re living according to the spirit of this world. A good example is the highly dubious accusers of Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh that the Democrats manifested from thin air at the 11th hour in late 2018.

True believers didn’t receive that spirit, but rather the spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, not to mention our human spirit was reborn via the Holy Spirit (John 3:3,6 & Titus 3:5). Genuine believers thus produce the fruit of the spirit rather than the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:22-23). When we miss it, we’re humble and quick to repent (1 John 1:8-9) whereas those who are false — those who function according to the spirit of this world — are stubborn and unrepentant; and will hate anyone who dares correct his/her fleshly works (Proverbs 9:7-9). Christ said we can recognize the true from the false by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-23).

Related Topics:

Satan (the Devil) — Liar, Slanderer, Thief, Murderer

Spirituality — How to be Spirit-Controlled Rather than Flesh-Ruled

Evil Spirits (Demons) — What Are They? What’s Their Purpose?

Demonic Spirits — How to Deflect Them

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