The Believer, the World, and Christ: Part 1

The next few days I’m going to engage in a meditation on believers, the world, and Christ. You will not need to make sure you read them all to not get lost. Each will stand alone, but they will also relate to one another.

On a personal note, before I begin, I hear from many of you and I thank you for your kind words and support for this effort.

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 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. 20 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. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Jn 15:18–27). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Ever look at the world and wonder how it is that the world is upside down? Right is treated as wrong and wrong is treated as right. When you pay attention to it, there are disparate groups out there who hate each other and should be fighting each other, but they don’t. Instead, they unite in their focus against Christians and the church.

It is because these groups are of the world and the world may be at each other’s throat constantly, but the world unites to fight the things of Christ. The world is Mordor. The orcs and trolls will fight each other as savagely as they fight the rest of Middle Earth, but they tend to run as a pack against Middle Earth. Their hatred of the good unites them.

The same is true of believers and the world. It is not that the world hates you so much as the world hates our Lord Jesus and, to the extent we reflect him, we are hated. What then is the answer? It is most assuredly not to hate back. We are, instead, commanded to love, to turn the other cheek, and to not seek retaliation. God will judge and God will rebuke. We must love, but also stand firm for our faith. Do not confuse the world’s love with the love of Christ. Christ surrounded himself with sinners, but he said, “Go and sin no more.” It is the world’s love to love the sinner and his sin. It is Christ’s love to love the sinner and want the sinner saved from sin and death and eternal destruction.

Look too at verse 26. The Holy Spirit will guide us. We are not in it alone. And we are to bear witness to the truth that is Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus told the Apostles that they must bear witness. They do. But we must do it too. The Great Commission to go forth belongs to us as well as the Apostles. Even when the world turns cruel, we are to turn to love and try to turn as many as we can to love — not the world’s love, but the love of Christ Jesus who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was tortured and crucified, and conquered death that we might live with him for eternity.

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Erick Erickson

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