“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 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
If there is one thing that is natural to all human beings is that we want to be liked by other people. We want to be loved and accepted by others. After all, who wants to live their life being hated and despised by others. Being rejected and mocked by others. It would not be a happy life in the least bit. This is why we often try do things and say things that please people. Say things that people like in order to get on their good side. This often comes with much compromise on things you care about or like. Whether you say hate a movie that you actually liked in order to avoid being made fun of. Or you change your mind on some political issue to keep your friends. We as humans have a tendency to want to compromise on our values to make others happy. It is one thing if it’s some worldly value that you created, but what if the values you believe in didn’t come from you or this world? What if you hold to the values created by the Creator Himself? The very values, truths, and standards found in His word. Would you compromise those values? As a Christian, our worldview is not our own, it comes from the very Word of God. We are called to hold fast to His word daily, to live on His word. Scripture is filled with timeless undeniable truths that we as christians must hold dear. However, much of these truths run against the course of the world, which then leads to much conflict between the world and the Church.
The world hates biblical truth and anyone who professes it, which is why there is so much conflict between the Church and the world. The Word of God shows and says that the ways of the world are wrong, which puts them under God’s judgment and wrath. To the worldy person, this is deeply offensive, because they love their ways but hate the ways of God. As a result the world tries it best go after the Church and shut it down completely. They do this by calling us bigots, religious nuts and even go as far as to use the power of the government against the Church. This puts tremendous pressure on Christians in how we should live, and unfortunately many who profess Christianity have caved to the pressure. On things like marriage, sexuality, and even the life issue, professing Christians have compromised on those issues to appease those in the world. Pastors around the country and the world throwing out biblical doctrine for an ideology that attracts more and more people to their pews without any calls to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Churches are becoming more worldy by throwing a legit rock concert during worship singing songs that have little to no substance. People in these churches are taught that they good enough and don’t need to change at all and Jesus came just to simply make your life better. This is all done to appear appealing to the world. To look attractive in order bring more people in. In order to be accepted and liked by the world. This kind of phenomenon is not the work of God but the schemes of Satan. Satan wants the Church to be destroyed and he uses any tactic he can to do so. This is why the most dangerous people to the church on not atheists, but professing Christians who lead people astray. But here’s the question, should we seek the world’s approval? Should we expect to be accepted by them?
Jesus answers this in John 15:18-19 where He says the world will hate us because it hated Him. The reality is that the world will never truly like the Church, it will always hate us because it hates Christ. So to answer the questions, no we should not be seeking the approval of the world. Why would we seek the approval of someone who hates us no matter what? Instead, we are to hold fast to the truth of God’s word. To the truth of the Gospel which has the power to save sinners. The reality is that we are not good enough, we’re not enough, and that’s okay. Christ did not come make good peoples lives better without any change necessary, He came to make dead people alive. Wicked people justified before God. That’s what Christ came to do, to save sinners.
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
— 1 Timothy 1:15
This is the Gospel and we must hold firm in it. Yes, it’s easier said than done, and we will fail many times in this regard. It can frightening to go against the world like this. But one thing we must remember is that God is our strength.
“Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.”
— Isaiah 12:2
When we trust in Him and His strength, we will be able stand tall and stay firm in the truth of the Gospel no matter the cost to us.
It is a natural human trait to compromise values for the sake of approval. However, we as christians are natural people. What I mean by this is that we are no longer our old sinful wicked self, but we are a new creation alive in Jesus Christ.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
— 2 Corinthians 5:17
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
— Ephesians 2:4-5
Therefore, we no longer live like the world, but strive to live like Christ. We as christians hold to these values no matter what the cost may be. This is because there is too much at stake. Souls are on the line. God chooses to use the preaching of the Gospel to save His elect, so the Gospel must be preached. Truth must never be compromised regardless of the consequences. As the late German reformer Martin Luther once said:
Truth at all cost, peace if possible.
So christian, stand firm in the faith, seek God in times of despair and trouble. Praise Him in good times and bad times. And remember that one day, Christ will return and all things will be made new. Until then, remember this Christian, to live is Christ and to die is gain. May all glory be to Christ.