I’ve been reading Steve Lawson’s Foundations of Grace and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand God’s grace in a Biblical, thorough, and exegetical way. Lawson starts in Genesis and goes through Revelation and has done an outstanding job of documenting many passages of Scripture that deal with God’s grace. Currently I am reading the chapter on the Gospel of John, which Lawson calls The Mount Everest of Theology. During my reading time this morning, I read the following:
Selective Choice. Christ has chosen His people out of the world of lost sinners. Because this divine choice does not include everyone, those who are not chosen hate the elect:
“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” – John 15:19
Jesus openly taught His disciples the doctrine of election. Making no apology, He cited this cardinal truth as a chief reason why the world hates them. (James Montgomery) Boice explains, “What is the meaning of this? It is merely the old subject of election. Christ elected the disciples to salvation. He chose them for a specific work in this world. Therefore, although the world rejects Christ’s salvation and despises His work, it hates those who have been chosen by Him for it. There is probably nothing that the world hates more than the doctrine of election. Certainly it was this more than anything else that caused the world’s virulent hatred of Christ during the days of His ministry…. Nothing so stirs up the hatred of the worldly mind than the teaching that God in sovereign grace elects some and does not elect others.” Of course, Christ’s choice was preceded by the eternal choice of the Father. (William) Hendriksen notes, “The act which took place in time was based upon an act which occurred in eternity (Eph 1:4).” The divine choosing by the Father and the Son distinguished believers from the world, stirring the hatred of unbelievers.
We all want to be liked and loved and certainly do not want to be hated. But this is just another area in which we Christians will be hated by the world. It isn’t pleasant, but it is to be expected.