“Don’t be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you”
We must not be infants in regard to the attitudes of this sinful world. There is nothing to be gained as Christian people by being ignorant of how people function and examining motivations and attitudes. Naivety is not a virtue. We should understand how the human mind works and come to understand why people do what they do. We should also understand ourselves and how our mind works and what our motivations are.
As we have seen in the last verse, there is a godless mindset that lead us into sin and death, as happens with Cain and Abel. We are to avoid it and put on the righteous attitudes of Christ as we live our life daily in this world. We should understand our own weaknesses that we might avoid the sin that so easily besets us.
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts.”
We must turn from the mindsets of this fallen era and put on the mindset of Christ which belongs to the kingdom. This mindset is diametrically opposed to the gospel and so this will have an effect on how people view us and their attitude toward us as the people of God. The godliness we live by should be obvious and it will necessarily show up the evil that is around us, specifically the evil deeds that people follow, and this will cause guilt and a feeling of being judged and so, jealousies and rage set in. This is often levelled at the people of God and various labels are attached to us. “Sanctimonious” is a good one, and supposes that we are living to judge the bad behaviour all around, when we are simply living in obedience to Christ.
People will not like you for being a holy person. The feeling of judgment will be too great for them, and they will cast you out of their social settings and give you derogatory labels. The Apostle John tells us not to be surprised when the world turns against you for it did the same to our Lord.
“For you who believe therefore is the honor, but for those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” and, “a stumbling stone and a rock of offense.” For they stumble at the word, being disobedient, to which also they were appointed.”
1 Peter 2:7-8
We must continue to walk worthily against the odds and be encouraged by the Word of God and the people of God around us. This is why fellowship is so important, for it supports us as we help each other along the heavenly way. We cannot really manage without it, for we can become cold so easily.
“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
We must not fall into the trap of believing what ungodly people say. They sound so authoritative, but it is not of God. Jesus sent out His disciples into a hostile world and it is the same for us.
“Go your ways. Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.”
Beloved, we remember that God is with us and will never leave us. We bless His name and carry on for His sake. He will bring us safely into the heavenly fold where we will be forever blessed.