Marvin L. Weir
The Bible does not promise that living our lives in this world will be easy. In fact, God’s Word makes it very clear that a Christian’s citizenship that matters most is not of this world. Paul says, “For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). Even though a child of God realizes where his citizenship lies, it does not keep him from fretting over enemies and evil doing. No one in his proper mind desires to be used, abused, or treated badly. Such unwanted and undeserved treatment, however, does occur on a regular basis to those who are striving to live godly lives. As a result of such “undeserved” treatment, a child of God may begin to question God’s love for him. One may ask, “What have I done to deserve this treatment” or “why does God not care for me anymore?” Another may observe, “The harder I try to do what is right – the more persecution and ridicule I receive.” Let us think for a moment about our enemies, evil doing, and why we many times receive treatment we do not deserve.
God makes it very clear that Christians will face opposition and have enemies! As a member of Christ’s body, I must accept this truth. Paul reminds Timothy, “Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). One will note the Bible does not say “might,” “could,” or “possibly” – but “shall.” The Lord taught His followers, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 10:22). Again, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus declared, “Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12). Christ, the Master teacher and perfect One, had enemies. As His followers, we must not think it strange that we also will have enemies. Jesus gives an explanation in John 15:18-19: “If the world hateth you, ye know that it hath hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
Coffman, commenting on John 15:19 observes: “Inherent in the world’s hatred of Christ was also the undying hatred of the apostles and the divine message they delivered to men. In this lies the reason why unregenerated men have authored whole libraries of rejection and hatred against the Gospel of John. Given the two facts, (1) of what unregenerates are in themselves, and (2) of what the glorious Gospel of John is, and the hatred of this Gospel becomes absolutely inevitable. Can anyone believe for a minute that the word of Christ through the apostles is treated with any less bias and hatred than that which marked the world’s treatment of Christ and the apostles themselves?”
Christians are in opposition to the world! If one is not going to be a friend of the world, the world will not be a friend to him. James warns those who will listen in saying, “Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God” (Jam. 4:4). The most remembered verses are probably these verses penned by John: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).
Paul makes it absolutely clear that a Christian cannot have fellowship with a worldly person. Why? A worldly person and a Christian should have nothing in common. “Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? for we are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you” (2 Cor. 6:14-17). Paul reminds the Ephesian brethren to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). The world will not take kindly to such actions; thus, the world will be our enemy.
The secret is to endure! Christians can have the strength to do the Lord’s will (Phil. 4:13). God will not allow us to bear more than we are able to bear (1 Cor. 10:13). As we face Satan and this world let us remember, “If God is for us, who is against us” (Rom. 8:31)?