"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 15:19(NASB)
In the beginning when Adam disobeyed the Lord, our relationship with God was broken. From the moment that sin entered the world, Adam died spiritually, and every one of his descendants has been born with a sinful nature, dead in trespasses and sins, and in bitter conflict with God and all that is holy. Instead of walking in the light of our Creator God, we came into the world as sons of disobedience, walking according to the course of this demonic world system, with a carnal mind that despises God and hates His Christ.
But God in His love, pity, mercy, and grace sent Jesus, His beloved Son, to be the propitiation for our sins, and all who believe on His name are saved by grace, through faith. All who believe on Christ are rescued from the bondage of sin, set free from enslavement to Satan, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and are adopted into God's family; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. And because we are not of this world system, we are hated by the world. Because we have been redeemed, we are not of this world. We are living in the world but we are not of the world.
Believers in Christ are aliens in this world. As part of the new creation in Christ, we are no longer part of the old creation in Adam; we are no longer part of this fallen world system. The Lord Jesus warned us that as servants of God who have been born from above, we will be hated by the world in the same way that the world hated Jesus when He walked this earth: "If you were of the world," He explains, "the world would love you - because the world loves its own." But we are not of the world because He chose us out of this world.
Jesus identified with our sinfulness by dying on the Cross so that sin could be removed from our account and we could identify with Christ's righteousness, and not the unrighteousness of our former nature. Unregenerate man remains hostile towards God and the Lord Jesus, and the antagonism unsaved men have towards God is expressed in hatred towards all that believe on His name.
John witnessed how the world hated Jesus during His earthly ministry and experienced increasing hatred towards Christians following Christ's Ascension into heaven. In his first epistle, he reminds his brothers and sisters in Christ that being hated by unsaved men and women should not ever surprise us, because the message of redemption is an offense to prideful men: "If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as one of its own. But because you do not belong to the world and I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you."
Jesus warned us, during His earthly walk, that His followers would be hated of all men for His name's sake, and all who follow Christ would also be hated by the God-hating, Christ-rejecting, sinful world. The world is filled with two groups of people; the saved and the unsaved; sons of the light and the sons of darkness; children of God and children of the devil who refuse to practise the righteousness of God but love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.
For many centuries, Christians have been hated by unbelievers because of the Person in who we have placed our faith. Throughout history, believers have been persecuted by those of the world because their hope and values are rooted in Christ and truth, love, and grace. Many years later and after much persecution, John told us not to be surprised by the animosity the world expresses to believers. Rather, he encourages us to continue to show forgiveness, love, kindness, and grace towards those that hate and revile us, just as Jesus did when He told is to pray for those that despitefully use us.
We are to live in the world as children of God but we are not to become part of this world, for we have been redeemed out of this world and have a heavenly inheritance that is kept for us in heavenly places. May we walk in the light of Christ and not in the darkness of this world, and speak the truth in love to those of this world who are perishing.
Heavenly Father, as I walk through this life toward my heavenly home, I pray that I would be a worthy ambassador for Christ, reflecting His love and truth to all I meet. Help me not to be surprised when I receive hatred from the world, knowing that the world hated Christ first, but may I rest in Your love, walk in the truth of Your Word, and finish the work You have for me on the earth before You call me home. In Jesus' name, AMEN.