God’s love for the world is commendable because it manifests itself in awesome self-sacrifice; our love for the world is repulsive when it lusts for evil participation. God’s love for the world is praiseworthy because it brings the transforming Gospel to it; our love for the world is ugly because we seek to be conformed to the world. God’s love for the world issues in certain individuals being called out from the world and into the fellowship of Christ’s followers; our love for the world is sickening where we wish to be absorbed into the world.
So “do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father [whether this love is understood in the subjective or the objective sense] is not in him” (1 John 2:15). But clearly we are to love the world in the sense that we are to go into every part of it and bring the glorious Gospel to every creature. In this sense we imitate, in our small ways, the wholly praiseworthy love of God for the world.
Paragraphs out of the book “The difficult doctrine of the love of God” by Don Carson (Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL), 2000.