“Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Daily reading assignment – 1 John 1-3

A personal greeting: Today is Sunday, November 26, 2017 and many believers living in these United States are traveling this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  For those who are able, I trust you are planning to worship with your church family today.  After undergoing two surgical procedures in the last three weeks, I am looking forward to attending worship with the Hillsdale Baptist Church family this Sunday morning!

Today’s Scripture reading is the First Epistle of John, chapters 1-3.  It is an understatement to describe this brief epistle as rich in content and application.  I find 1st John both challenging and convicting.  Penned by the apostle John to the early church nearly 2000 years ago, the principles and precepts in its pages are as applicable today as they were in the first century.

John is writing to a persecuted church and the testimony of the apostle who was an eyewitness and companion of the Lord Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry is powerful (1 John 1:1-5).   Exhorting believers to walk in the light of God’s truths and in accord with His commandments, John comforts the saints with the assurance of God’s forgiveness writing, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

In chapter 2, John addressed heresies and disputes that sowed doubt and discord in the 1st century church.  The contradiction between sincere believers and those who merely professed to be Christians is explained by John:

1 John 2:3-5 – And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

Some claimed to be believers but continued in sin and others departed from the church.    Of these John writes,

1 John 2:19 – “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued [remained] with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest [made clear] that they were not all of us.”

I close today’s devotional commentary with John’s reminder that the natural inclination of lost sinners is to reject God and despise those who walk in righteousness (1 John 3:11-13).  The righteous character of the children of God arouses the hatred of the children of this world.

1 John 3:13 – “Marvel not [do not wonder or be afraid], my brethren, if the world [humanity, under the devil’s influence] hate you [holds animosity].”

There is a natural antagonism between good and evil, and the children of God and children of the devil.  To be hated by the world was not merely a future possibility, by the end of the first century it had become a present reality.  John admonished believers, the world will hate you (John 15:18-19)!

I close with a quote by author Edmund Hiebert.  Hiebert writes,

“Whenever the [church] acts so as to expose the greed…hatred, and the wickedness of the world, it must expect rejection; and if it should go so far as to interfere with its evil practices, as Jesus did…it may expect suffering and brutal death…’History confirms that the hatred of the world is most aggressive whenever the life and witness of the church are vital and Spirit-empowered.” 

Edmond Hiebert, “The Epistles of John – An Expositional Commentary” (Greenville: Bob Jones University Press,1991), p. 155.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith