Christians, throughout the centuries, have been persecuted, rejected and martyred for their faith. What are some of the reasons why the world hates us? Paul Nyquist in his book Prepare: Living Your Faith in an Increasingly Hostile Culture lists 3 reasons.
Isaiah 11 & 12
2 Corinthians 2.1-17
3 Reasons the World Hates Us
2 Corinthians 2.1-17:
Why the World Hates Us
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.
As Christians, we represent Christ to a dying world. For those who respond to the Gospel in saving faith leading to a changed life, we are “the aroma of life leading to [eternal] life” (emphasis added).To those who reject Christ we are the “aroma of death” because instead of responding to the truth and light we offer with repentance, they respond in rejection and anger.
This should help us understand why even those we care about can become so hostile when we commit our lives to Christ and begin to share what He’s doing in our lives.
Christians, throughout the centuries, have been persecuted, rejected and martyred for their faith. As Americans we have been somewhat insulated from that truth, but as I discussed yesterday the culture we live in is changing rapidly. More and more believers are experiencing job losses, harassment, persecution and even arrest for standing on biblical principles.
Paul Nyquist in his book Prepare: Living Your Faith in an Increasingly Hostile Culture says:
One of the more difficult truths for us to grasp is that the world hates us. The world doesn’t tolerate us— even though toleration is a supposed value of our society. It doesn’t like us. No, it hates us. Jesus makes this plain in John 15:18– 27.
He goes on to say:
As relational creatures, that truth can gnaw at us. We crave acceptance. We long to be loved. We desire to be esteemed, valued, and respected. We can yearn for those things from the world. But Jesus says that acceptance will never happen. The world doesn’t love us. The world doesn’t even like us. The world hates us.
Jesus lists three reasons the world hates us in John 15. Nyquist explains them this way:
The first reason the world hates us is because we’re different. “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” (v. 19) … if we don’t conform to the world, the world holds zero tolerance for us.
The second reason the world hates us is because we bear Christ’s name and identify with Him. Jesus says in John 15:20-21, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant 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 all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”
The world hates us because Christ in us exposes their sin … the world hates that. They hate having their sin exposed, so they hate us. They hate us because we’re different from them, we’ve identified with Christ, and Christ in us exposes their sin.
Our responsibility is to be prepared for it when it comes and not be surprised by it. To read more about how to be prepared, see yesterday’s post, “Are You Prepared?”
Today’s Other Readings:
Isaiah 11 & 12:
For He Has Done Excellent Things!
These chapters change from primarily a prophecy about God’s dealings with His people in the immediate future to the fulfillment of His promises to bring ultimate salvation and peace through the work of Jesus Christ.
Chapter 12 contains this beautiful hymn of praise:
1 And in that day you will say.
“ O LORD, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘ For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’”
3 Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
4 And in that day you will say.
“ Praise the LORD, call upon His name;
Declare His deeds among the peoples,
Make mention that His name is exalted.
5 Sing to the LORD,
For He has done excellent things;
This is known in all the earth.
6 Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”
Once we were sinners, separated from God, objects of wrath because of our sin and rebellion. But when we called upon His name, He answered, saved us, forgave us, cleansed us and brought us into His family! We, too, should “sing to the Lord for He has done excellent things”!
They Quickly Forgot His Works
What a sad statement, “They quickly forgot His works” (v. 13). Let’s not be like the children of Israel, “forgetting” all the great things God has done for us: the bondage from which He saved us, the miracles He performs, and the love, mercy and grace He has shown to us and continues to show us. Let’s remember how great a salvation we really have—how He saved us when we were helpless to save ourselves!
Wisdom for Parents & Others
Verse 5 says, “Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.”
In order for men to rule or lead righteously they must seek godly counsel. This doesn’t just apply to political or church leaders. We also lead as moms and dads, as older sisters and brothers, as friends, as employers, in ministry, in the home, and in other situations. We should never be so proud to think that we have all the answers. We need to be growing and seeking wise counsel throughout our lives.
What About You?
Have you experienced persecution and animosity from family, friends, co-workers or others? How did you respond? How are you preparing yourself to respond in the future? I hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments area at the bottom of this post.
In the next few days, we’ll talk about the importance of good doctrine, ask ourselves whether we’re shining the light of Christ or whining like the rest of the world and more.
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