“Not as Cain, who was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:12-13).
An ancient proverb states that you can judge a man’s character by who his enemies are. That is also true in the spiritual realm. The world loves its own, but since Christ chose believers out of the world, the world hates them (John 15:19).
Christians are rejected by the world but accepted by God.
That this is true should come as no surprise to any student of God’s Word. After all, the world hated Jesus so much that it killed Him. We, as His followers, can also expect hostility. “If the world hates you,” Jesus said in John 15:18, “you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” “If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul,” He added in Matthew 10:25, “how much more the members of his household!”
From the beginning of history, the unrighteous have hated the righteous. The apostle John noted the tragic story of unrighteous Cain, who murdered his righteous brother Abel in a fit of jealous rage (1 John 3:12; Gen. 4:1-8). In Acts 7:52 Stephen asked his accusers, “Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.” Stephen’s accusation aptly summarized the sad history of Israel, “who kill[ed] the prophets and ston[ed] those who [were] sent to her” (Matt. 23:37).
Peter noted the reason for the world’s hostility to Christians when he wrote, “[Unbelievers] are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you” (1 Peter 4:4). Christians’ lives are a threat because they rebuke unbelievers’ sin and remind them of coming judgment.
Have you experienced the world’s hostility, opposition, prejudice, rejection, or even persecution for your stand for Jesus Christ? If so, that’s evidence that you belong to the One who also suffered rejection by the world.
Suggestions for Prayer
Pray that God would enable you to rejoice in the face of persecution (Acts 5:41).
For Further Study
Read Philippians 1:28. What should your attitude be when you are rejected by the world?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.