The world hates Christ and the Christian because the deeds of the world are judged or reproved by the righteous life and the open testimony of the Christian (John 7:7; 1 John 3:13). Citizens of the heavenly kingdom may expect to have tribulation in this world (John 16:33), for their characters, ideals, aspirations, and conduct all bear silent witness against the evil of this present world (1 John 3:12). The enemies of the heavenly kingdom persecuted Christ, the King, and they may be expected to persecute His loyal followers (John 15:20). “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).
Since the entrance of sin there has been “enmity” between Christ and Satan, between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world, and between those who serve God and those who serve Satan (Gen. 3:15; Rev. 12:7–17). This conflict will go on until “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ” (Rev. 11:15; Dan. 2:44; 7:27).
Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). Christ warned those who would be His disciples that they would be “hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Matt. 10:22), but He added that whoever “loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt. 10:39). Christians suffer for the name they bear, the name of Christ. In all ages, as in the early church, those who truly love their Lord have rejoiced at being “counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41; Peter2:19–23; 3:14; 4:14).
But whatever life may bring, the Christian is to rejoice (Phil. 4:4) knowing that God will work all things for his good (Rom. 8:28). This is particularly true of temptation or trial (James 1:2–4), because suffering develops patience and other traits of character essential to citizens of the heavenly kingdom.
Jesus said In the sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).
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In His service,
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