1 John 3.1
In our last post on 1 John we marveled at the greatness and magnitude of God’s love. But that isn’t the only issue of importance in this first verse of chapter 3. As recipients of this unfathomable love we have become citizens of a future realm where we will dwell with Christ in the throne room of heaven. This current redirection of our hearts and minds to a life beyond is changing how we think of all that is yet to come. We are “strangers” here on earth and “foreigners” waiting to be taken back home. This readjustment makes us stand out as members of a group that is different. We seem to be filled with joy regardless of the situation, given to an unusual concern for others, living by a “philosophy” that doesn’t fit well in the existing society, and confident that the plans of our God will turn out to be the best. We don’t do certain things that our neighbors, albeit with an uneasy conscience, do on a regular basis. We give a good share of our hard earned cash to organizations that have humanitarian purposes not consistent with our present world. To put it mildly, we are different. While we don’t wear something like a bonnet to identify our religious tradition, other things reveal that we don’t belong indiscriminately to the current culture.
So what does the history of the Christian church say about people like us? Well, early on we were “on stage” at the local coliseum to face the lions. Or we were expelled from our homeland to waste away some where in the four corners of the earth. Back at home we were mocked for our faith, faced by taxation to support causes contrary to what we believe to be moral, and derided by those who believe something else. In fact, the one who began the Christian movement was publicly crucified while the crowds jeered. It is exactly as the apostle John wrote in 3:1, “The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” He is the perfect model for those who have decided to affiliate with the Christian cause. Since the world rejected him (the NJB has, “did not acknowledge” him) they will reject us as well. I know you understand that I am not making a case for ostentatiously promoting our difference from the contemporary culture, but only for being true to our convictions and where they differ, to pay the price.