In this short section of John’s letter, with few words, he teaches a significant lesson. The bottom line is that Christians shall not love the world, for it is passing away. It is such a simple statement, but it has a great depth found in the language that is used. While John often speaks of love, this is the one time that love is used in a negative manner.
Peter calls us to live lives that are focused upon the grace that comes forth from our faith in Jesus Christ. He asserts that in order to do so fully, we must be alert and sober-minded. This is a parallel in that we are to live in expectation of the return of Christ, the Parousia. As many were caught off-guard when Christ first came, not expecting the Messiah at that time, we are not to be caught off-guard again. Just as the prophecy was known that the Messiah was coming, we know Christ will return. So, while we wait for the Parousia, we should conduct our lives accordingly. If a parent leaves their children home alone, it is expected that the children behave as a sign of their maturity, so if a Christian behaves poorly, is it not a sign of spiritual immaturity? For the Lord is Holy, we are called to be conformed to Christ’s image and be holy in our living as well.