THE WORLD WILL HATE YOU
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
To be saved from death and sin through the precious blood of Messiah remains a marvelous miracle (1 Peter 1:18-19), for through faith and by grace we immediately receive the undeserved privilege to be reckoned righteous before the Judge of the whole earth, (Rom 3:23-26). Yet, ‘Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him (Jesus Christ),’ (Rom 5:9). In addition to, and one could say to the immediate effect, this divine act of justification also affects our position in the world, ‘For He (the Father) delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,’ (Col 1:13). [Insertions added by the author.]
Salvation inevitably leads to transition! Rebirth transfers us to a new Kingdom (John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:3), and even though it transpires in the unseen spiritual world, it immediately effects our daily lives. This current evil age (Gal 1:4), and the fallen world we live in, are under the rulership of Satan, (1 John 5:19). Inevitably, being transferred into the Kingdom of God put us in enmity with the world. We should thus not be surprised if we encounter resistance; in fact, we can be pretty sure that we will.
If we walk by the Spirit and act in obedience to God’s commandments in His Word, it will without doubt affect our immediate environment (1 John 2:3-6; Rom 8:1-8). The world’s conduct stems from ‘the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life,’ opposing the love of the Father, (1 John 2:16). In fact, the apostle Peter writes, ‘For the time already past for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued the course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you,’ (1 Peter 4:3-4).
Acting in righteousness and bearing the fruit of the Spirit as we walk in obedience will thus, without doubt, affect immediate relationships, not only at the workplace, but also in our immediate family. We are light and salt, (Mat 5:13-16). Light exposes darkness, and when our light shines it will inevitably expose the deeds of unrighteousness. Those whose deeds are exposed will either come to the light to be healed or they will resist it, ‘For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as being wrought in God,’ (John 3:20-21).
A conflicting war between light and darkness will become evident as we walk out our faith in our daily lives. Obedience to the truth will become a mirror to those who prefer darkness above light, engaging us in unforeseen battles in places we do not expect, (Eph 6:12). Let us therefore gird our minds for action and keep sober in spirit, (1 Peter 1:13). Our Lord and Saviour warned us that the world would hate us, just as the world hated Him (John 15:18). In fact, He added, ‘Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also,”’ (John 15:20).
We are not left ill prepared. We have those who have run the race before us, and we will fix our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:1-3), for in Christ Jesus we are equipped with a full armour to enable us to STAND FIRM against the schemes of the enemy.
We can protect ourselves from stumbling by girding our loins with the truth. Let us guard our hearts by acting in accordance with righteousness even though we might be wronged. Let us be willing to follow in obedience to represent the gospel of peace in any place, even if it might be very inconvenient and difficult. While we stand in the battle, we can protect ourselves from verbal attacks by standing firm in our faith, persuaded by the Word rather than believing insults. Our minds should constantly be swayed towards our position in Christ, so let us take our thoughts captive and renew our thinking according truth, and thus stand firm in our salvation. If we have to attack the unseen forces of darkness coming against us with lies, we have a two-edged sword, the Word of God, to ward off personal attacks. Moreover, if we enter into prolonged battles, let’s keep ourselves in prayer continually. (Eph 6:13-18)
If God is for us, who is against us?