“I have given them your word and the world has hated them because they are not of the world as I am not of the world.”
We are used to hearing the language of the world hating us because we are not of the world; what is sad is that all too often, the world does not hate us because we have allowed ourselves to become friends with the world and to compromise who we are—or at least who we are supposed to be. Too often there is little that distinguishes the life of a professing Christian from the life of a non-Christian either in speech or in action. How rarely we live intentionally with respect to our faith and in doing so, it makes things more comfortable with respect to the world. But as Peter wrote, when we don’t build on our faith (hence attracting opposition), we become so nearsighted that we stumble around as much as a blind person does (2 Peter 1:9) and the world cannot tell us apart.
Note too, the connection between receiving the Word of God and becoming citizens of heaven (also see Philippians 3:20). One of the things that distinguishes the Christian from members of any other organization is that God has given Christians his Word—the Scriptures. So long as we hold on to that book and so long as we treat that book as the divine and authoritative word of God, the world will not ever come close to being our friend, but instead will hate us.
How sad it is, though, that so many Christians, for the love of this world, are quick to compromise this wonderful Word that sets us apart! They compromise the truth about Christ’s deity, they compromise the truth about God’s creative work, they compromise the truth about the exclusivity of Christianity, they compromise the truth about abortion, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, and the list goes on and on and on. Do you see what we have allowed the church to do? Jesus said that it is because we have His Word, the world will hate us.
What is it about that Word that makes it so dangerous to the world? The bottom line is that because God is the author of his Word, which makes the Scriptures true, infallible, inerrant, and absolute. The world does not like being told that it is wrong—let alone that it is condemned to judgment because it clings to its sin and does not submit to the authority of God Almighty.
The mind of fallen man prefers a god of its own design, one that makes no claims or demands, one that is more like a cuddly friend to get you through a dark night than like an almighty God. They like the image of a doddering old man who is too senile to remember sins and wrongs but who is able to bestow good gifts. They want a tame god—one that is safe. The Bible shatters their illusions and presents not a safe god of man’s design, but a God who demands obedience and submission from his followers. The God of the Bible is anything but tame and senile, but he is ferocious and vibrant—active not only in the life of his own, but in the lives of those who has forsaken him, using them for his own purposes. The Bible does not present God as existing to serve man, but on the contrary, the Bible presents man as existing to serve God. The world cannot stand this—it hates the Bible, it hates what the Bible tells their conscience about their created god, and it hates those who hold to the Bible as true and right.
Oh, loved ones, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are marked by this book we call the Bible. Do not be ashamed of this even though it will bring you enmity from the world. Rejoice in this book, because it is the very Word of Life (Philippians 2:16). In this book, God reveals himself to us in all of his majesty. Those who love the darkness have chosen to live in the darkness, but you who have professed to hold to the light—do not forsake the Word which is light for the love of the shadowy realms of this world.