Passage of the Day: 1st John 3: 13 … Do not be surprised, my brothers [and sisters], if the world hates you.
My Journal for Today: The eleventh and final signpost discussed by the Apostle John in this epistle to give believers the assurance of their salvation is the obvious rejection of our Christianity by the world. Today’s verse is absolutely clear on this; and any Christian today would have to be blind, deaf, and frankly, dumb, to ignore the socio-political incorrectness of Christianity in today’s marketplace of ideas and ideals. No, Christians may not be tarred and burned by Nero’s evil empire as they were in the 1st Century at the time John penned his epistle; but there is great persecution of Christians around the world; and there is every attempt by worldly political influences, even in this great, free country, to erase the Name of “God” or “Christ” from any degree of political influence or stature.
In John’s day, the church was dealing with outside worldly influences and out-right liars about the faith. They were confronting false teachers and doctrines, dangerous heresies, and the forerunners of Gnosticism and dualism. Expressions of all of these are still found in today’s culture as well, though maybe more intensely than was experienced by John and the early church because of our era of lightning speed in information transfer. So, John’s letter to the church, helping them to establish confidence in their faith, is just a valid now as it was when he wrote it over two millennia ago.
Jesus certainly warned His disciples of such lies and false doctrines (see John 15: 18 – 19); and we know that from the beginning of human time, “the world” has been out to destroy those of faith in the One, True God. Cain killed Able for this reason (see Gen. 4 and 1st John 3: 12). Saul of Tarsus (who became the Apostle Paul) and his worldly religionists had the first Christian martyr, Stephen, stoned for his beliefs (see Acts 7). And, of course, … there was that business on the cross with Jesus, which is sort of significant to this context and discussion [and please forgive my ironic levity about such an important matter].
Again I return to today’s world, where the reality of worldly hatred of all things related to Christ and God is under attack, often blatantly and directly. Certainly seeing this, though most disquieting and challenging for the Christian, we should be uplifted by the reality it presents. Either the world is right or we, as Christians, are! And if we are right (and we are!); the challenges of the world should give us the same confidence in our faith as it did for those first century Christians who were literally torched and burned for their faith. But remember; … more Christians have been martyred for their faith in the 20th and 21st centuries than in all the combined previous centuries. So, we need to have the same “die-for-the-faith” attitude as did those first century martyrs.
Take heart, Christian! … We are IN the world; but we are not OF the world! And, … we have been saved FROM the world (see Rom. 10: 9 - 13).
My Prayer Today: Thank You, Lord … that I am saved FROM the world. Amen