IN THE WORLD, BUT NOT OF THE WORLD

Scripture Reading: John 15:18-25

“If the world hates you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18,19)

We must constantly remind ourselves that we live in the world but we are not of the world. In the Bible the word “world” can mean several different things. It can mean the physical world that was created by God. In other contexts it can mean the people who exist in the world. But in the case of this passage, Jesus is referring to the world in the sense of the evil system that stands against God and His people. The world is hostile to the things of God and therefore it is hostile to the people of God. In the book of Revelation, the world is referred to as Babylon.

It is with this meaning of the world in mind that we read — “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions — is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:15-17). We must not allow ourselves to be of this world, to love the things of the world.

Paul reminds us that at one time we followed the ways of the world — “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of the world” (Ephesians 2:1,2). But Jesus chose us out of the world. We have been delivered from it — “He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13,14).

The world hated Jesus. The people of the world crucified Him. Jesus was different from the ways of the world. His message was counter to the message of the world. Because we belong to Him, we too may face hostility and even persecution. We should be prepared for opposition when we do not conform to the ways of the world. “If the world hates you know that is has hated Me before it hated you.”

Lord Jesus, when I reflect upon the hostility that You endured from the world, it grieves me. You suffered horribly for my sake. I know that You endured the cross for Me and bore the shame of my sin. Give me grace to live in the world, but not to be of the world. Enable me to endure any hostility that may come my way because I am a disciple of Yours.

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