“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19 NKJV)
I like to start my articles off with a Bible verse. Perhaps that is because I write Biblical Commentary, or perhaps it is just because I want to convey a lot of things to you and I have limited space to do so. Now, both of those can be true, I do not have to choose in that case, but it is not so with some things.
You see, we cannot have divided interests when it comes to who we serve. We have to pick between serving the world and ourselves, and serving Jesus. We cannot seek the approval of the world and the approval of Jesus. You simply cannot please both, and you have no choice to not pick a side.
Dr. Adrian Rogers once shared an illustration and I will do my best to convey it — it went something like this: An unbeliever came up to Dr. Rogers and told him she wanted to shake his hand and that she loved his sermon, but she was not yet willing to accept Christ. Dr. Roger’s said, “Very well, if you choose to accept Christ, shake my right hand and if you choose to reject Christ shake my left.” The bewildered lady said, “No, I think you are confused. I don’t want to reject or accept Christ, I just want to shake your hand.” Dr. Rogers’ response demonstrates a valuable truth, he said, “No, you are confused, you can either accept Jesus or reject Him, there is no other option.”
We may not realize it, but we have to make a choice as to who to serve, because not accepting Jesus is, by default, rejecting Christ, whether we realize that or not. We can either serve the world because of the fear of man or we can serve God because of the fear of God. We cannot please both the sinful world and the sinless Savior. There is no third choice. Every moment of every day we reject Christ when we do not obediently accept and serve Him.
Now that we have this established, let’s take a look at some practical application of this for our lives. Everywhere in society we see people pulled and drawn like a moth to the flame to please other people and to please themselves. People go bankrupt trying to keep up with the Joneses, trying to please others and themselves while keeping up appearances — that everything is fine when we know everything is not fine in this world. We have a world that drowns its misery in drunkenness, drugs and orgies, a world which as Scripture says, “With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you.” (1 Peter 4:4 ESV).
We know that the Scriptures do not leave them unjudged or without redemption if they so choose, as the passage in 1 Peter 4:5-6 continues on, “But they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.”
It is not enough for me to simply lay out the case to the condemnation of the unbelieving reader, it is absolutely incumbent upon me to clearly demonstrate that those who continue in such wickedness have a remedy if they so choose, just as we who believe have been recipients in Christ of that remedy.
The grace of God in sending His Son, Jesus, to die for the sins of the world is just as necessary for the unbelieving reader of this article as it was for me. I am, on my own, no better, yet by the grace and mercy of God, I am redeemed in Christ — and you can be too, if you cry out to Him and seek forgiveness and salvation in Christ alone!
We have to stop worrying about how we will be perceived by an unbelieving world. We must proclaim the Gospel unapologetically, understanding that the day draws nearer every moment when the space to repent is no longer there for some.
I cannot tell you how much space to repent you have left, I can only tell you to, and to whom you must repent. The world hated my Master Jesus Christ, and because of that they will hate me.