“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19
Nobody desires to be hated. Here in John’s Gospel, Jesus is speaking to His disciples and reminding them that they have been chosen. In similar manner all believers have been taken out of the world and placed into the kingdom of God. That means that we not only are different, but we are to act different.
Nothing that is happening in our world today should surprise us. We believe in total depravity. We know that man has a sin nature. And those who are outside of Christ are slaves to sin instead of slaves to righteousness. We know that the world needs Christ. It can be tempting for us to join a cause or join a movement, and we do empathize with the injustices all around us.
As Christians we believe the first reform needed for culture is the one that is always needed, a reform of the heart. Many today are convinced that the ends justify the means. Do whatever is needed to force change. A Christian doesn’t live that way. We live according to God’s Word. And at times that can seem lonely for we must live in such a way that we do not blend in. In blending in, the Gospel loses power and effectiveness for true lasting change.
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:11-12
We long for people around us and in our world to find the hope the peace and the forgiveness in Christ that we have found. They will not see that in us if we adopt a, “if we can’t beat them, join them,” attitude. Sin in the world should grieve our hearts, but even more than empathy with others, sin should grieve our hearts because it grieves God. Let us by how we live point people to our Savior.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16