Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you

by Mike Ratliff

13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. (1 John 3:13 NASB)

There are many ministries in our time that are run by people who have either forgotten that friendship with the world is a sin or they are deliberately overlooking it. If a ministry operates in such a way that the world loves it then there is at least one missing component in it. That of course is obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture is clear that Christians cannot be friends of the world. Why? Satan is the one who dominates the evil world system, which is in rebellion against God (John 14:30). Therefore, the world not only hates Jesus, but also those who follow Him. This hatred is also focused toward the Father because He sent Jesus to testify against it. Now, since this is true and clearly taught in Sacred Scripture, what does this say about those ministries who work overtime to accommodate the secular and to appeal to temporal ways and means?

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

The word hate in this passage is the Greek word μισέω or miseō. Jesus is telling us that those who hate Christians actually “detest” them. This hatred is prone to lead to persecution. He then tells us that those who μισέω Christians hated Him first. Who hates Christians and our Lord? It is the world. This is the Greek word κόσμος or kosmos. This word refers to space not time. The κόσμος is the sum total of the material universe, the beauty in it; the sum total of persons living in the world.  In other words, this is the temporal or secular.  It is the world system. Jesus is saying here that those who belong to Him are no longer part of κόσμος. No, they are now new creations and have been saved out of it. This is why it is so tragic for Christians to be in love with the κόσμος to the point they take on its ways and mind set.

Jesus tells us that the κόσμος loves those who are part of it, but since Christians are not they are hated because Jesus chose them out of it. The Greek word “chose” here is ἐκλέγομαι or eklegomai. This is an interesting word. It means to speak intelligently; to choose, select, choose for oneself, not necessarily implying the rejection of what is not chosen but giving favor to the chosen subject, keeping in view a relation to be established between him and the object. Jesus says that He has ἐκλέγομαι believers “out of” the κόσμος. The Greek word translated as “out of” is ἐκ, or ex. This speaks of the primary object formerly being in one object, but is now separated from it either in respect to place, time, source, or origin.  What is this saying that salvation causes for the believer? We must never overlook the fact that our salvation came as a result of Christ choosing us out of the world. Salvation has actually separated us from being part of the world. We are no longer “of the world.”

20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘ A slave is not greater than his master. ’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. (John 15:20 NASB)

The Greek word for slave here is δοῦλος or doulos. A δοῦλος is one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another. His or her will is altogether consumed in the will of the master. Master or Lord is the Greek word κύριος or Kurios. This is the word most translated as “Lord” in the New Testament and in the Septuagint. It means Lord, master, or owner. Jesus is the κύριος of His δοῦλος, and they should not expect that they would escape persecution if He is persecuted by the κόσμος. Conversely, those who listen to Christ will listen to His disciples as well.

21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘ They hated ME without A cause.’ (John 15:21-25 NASB)

No one is sinless my brethren. If Jesus had not come those who rejected Him would not be sinless. Our Lord is telling us that His coming incited the most severe and deadly sin, which is the rejecting and rebelling against God and His truth. Their rejecting of Him as the Messiah was deadly for them. They hated our Lord without a cause. The κόσμος hates His people without a cause as well.

26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
1 “ These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. 2 They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 3 These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. 4 But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. (John 15:26-16:4 NASB)

My brethren, the κόσμος hates all who belong to Christ. However, genuine Christians have the Holy Spirit. What does He do? He proceeds from the Father. He bears witness about Christ. He causes believers to bear witness as well. The Greek word for “bear witness” is μαρτυρέω or martureō. It essentially means to testify. In this context our Lord is saying that the Holy Spirit testifies about Him and genuine believers testify about Christ in the κόσμος. They tell of the excellent greatness of Christ and why He came and had to die on the cross. They testify about the dire need of people to be saved from the sins. This incites the ire of the κόσμος because it is seen as a direct attack on it. Jesus does not sugar coat this. He tells us that persecution will come on all who testify about Him. This is not talking about those who have created a world friendly Jesus who accuses no one and simply wants everyone to have their best life now. No, the κόσμος loves that Jesus. However, they hate the one found in the Bible. It is Him we must preach and then not be surprised when the κόσμος μισέω us.

Soli Deo Gloria!

2 thoughts on “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you

  1. Well done, Mike. ‘Tis a far, far better thing to be approved by God than well thought of by man. How rich are the glories of His grace, poured out on sinners that, while we were His enemies, we would be reconciled to YHWH!

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