This post is part of an ongoing series in the study of John we are doing during January. Subscribe to the blog for daily updates in the Bible Study posts. Subscribe to the podcasts to hear our discussion of the book of John throughout this month. Join us in your daily devotions as we travel through this fascinating account of the life of Christ.
“If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke 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 also keep yours. But they will do all these things to you on account of My name, because they don’t know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin. Now they have no excuse for their sin. The one who hates Me also hates My Father. If I had not done the works among them that no one else has done, they would not have sin. Now they have seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this happened so that the statement written in their scripture might be fulfilled: They hated Me for no reason. John 15:18-25 (HCSB)
One of the less popular characteristics that mark those who follow Christ is the world’s hatred. If the world hated Him, the world would hate us also. Notice that Jesus did not put a “maybe” in this promise.
If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.
Many believers and so-called leaders within Christianity try to find a way around this reality. That pattern has repeated in almost every generation. To become more appealing to the world, believers compromise the standards of the Kingdom of God. They convince themselves that if we can only make peace with the world, then the world will see how much faith in Christ has to offer them and willingly embrace the faith. This flawed and unbiblical logic can be found in the story of every failed and collapsed ministry that dots the landscape of our popular culture. There is no compromise between this world and the Kingdom of God.
Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters. Luke 11:23 (HCSB)
There can be no agreement between this world and the Kingdom of God because the two come from entirely different origins, drive toward opposite aims, and consist of two unique species.
The citizens of the Kingdom of God are born of faith. They live to obey God. They breathe the love of God. They have forfeited their self-life for the sake of the love of God and obedience to His will.
The people of this world live upon the frail reality where the self is king. Every individual of this world seeks to preserve, promote, and fulfill the self at all costs. From survival of the fittest to self-help to self-made success stories, self is the glory of this world. The world hates God because God stands in opposition to the god of self. That hatred is not rational.
But this happened so that the statement written in their scripture might be fulfilled: They hated Me for no reason
But because they hate God, they hate His people also. We will always be at odds with one another and can therefore always expect to receive persecution from this world.
It is worth asking if we have never experienced persecution for our faith and life in Christ, are we really followers of Christ? He promised the world would target such resistance upon his followers. If it has not come to our lives, is that because the world is not as dark as Jesus suggested or because we are not shining as brightly as He expected of his followers?
What do you think?
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