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WILLINGNESS TO BE THOUGHT STRANGE FOR CHRIST’S SAKE

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WILLINGNESS TO BE THOUGHT STRANGE FOR CHRIST’S SAKE

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“They think it strange.” (1 Peter 4:4)

The child of God can hardly expect to be regarded by this world as “one of themselves.” The humble child of God would not wish this friendship (James 4:4). He (or she) would be troubled if such were the case. If the difference between a saved soul and an unsaved is the difference between life and death, and between light and darkness (and God says it is), there should be a striking contrast of standpoint, attitude, wishes, and everything. The Lord Jesus repeated many words in John 17, but not many sentences, yet He saw fit to repeat, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (vv. 14, 16), and in the previous conversational address He said, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own.” (John 15:19) If any one is in Christ, there is a new creation. Is it so or not? If we accept this divine description we expect a remarkable change in manner of life. The daily walk is the test, more than an occasional conference or even a weekly meeting. And as a result, the believer may expect to be misunderstood. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 2:14) If we walk in the Spirit we shall appear strange to those who are in the flesh and know Him not. (1 Cor. 2:15)

The Lord Jesus put it plainly when He said, “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household ?” (Matt. 10:25). Are we of .His household or not? He was despised and rejected of men: do we expect to be exalted and honored? The aim of the enemy is to blind the men of this age, and he seeks to deceive the Lord’s people as well. But are we prevailed on by his fair speeches, as to gaining men by meeting them half way? Surely our eyes have been opened to see that Scripture knows nothing of this. The Lord Jesus was reproached (Rom. 15:3), and His people are encouraged to go forth unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach (Heb. 13: 13) Men will say to us, “Why cannot you still be with us?” The Holy Spirit has given us the answer, “The time past of our life may suffice.” (1 Pet. 4:3, Isa. 8:12) We are no longer to do “the will of the Gentiles,” but the acceptable will of God. (Eom. 12:2) The societies of this world are not for those who are “in Christ Jesus.” Its politics, arrangements, and pleasures are out of place, and have become saddening and distasteful to the conscience of the one who loves the Lord.

But this part of separation, though precious, does not exhaust our privileges. The devil has refined temptations, and mixed them with as much apparent spirituality as he can put into them, to decoy those who own their Lord’s Name. And we must be willing to be thought strange when we stand aloof from much that is verbally associated with the Name of Christ. Romanism hardly illustrates the point at issue, the evil is too glaring. But many who would rightly draw back from all identification therewith are willing to be in a “state-church,” and to acknowledge as spiritual fathers (forgetting Matt. 23:9) those who tolerate disguised Romanism, yet, and those who deny the inspiration of Scripture. Many doubt the very truthfulness of Christ and yet remain professedly Christian organizations, and some who honor His Name remain there too. Hence when separation for Christ’s sake is consistently maintained, it is misunderstood. “They think it strange” not only applies to the openly unbelieving world: it is harder still to be misjudged and thought “too narrow” by those who profess His Name. But do we not love Him more than any of “these” (John 21:15) ? If so, let us be very firm, yet equally humble. Pride of love is a most unlovely thing.

Strangers and pilgrims (1 Peter 2:11) are not to adorn themselves, or their houses, and settle down in this “present evil age.” Yet if there is a readiness to avoid the fashions of this sinful world, brethren, and sisters more especially, will be misunderstood. And the temperament of the latter is probably the more quickly wounded by the hints and glances of others. It is not natural to rejoice when counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name, (Acts 5:41), but it should be. We are all inclined to fear what others say, especially when they are others we know and love. But is Christ to be first or second? Many children of God have yielded to changing fashions, but willingly or without heart concern at first, but with a gradual self-persuasion that we must not be too peculiar, and the flicker of a holy conscience has been allowed to die out in this matter, and the Holy Spirit, grieved, has not compelled obedience, the Lord Jesus does not seek forced service. ‘Tis, “if ye love Me, keep My commandments.” Christ must be First, or we grieve the Holy Spirit. Likeness to the world in its present fashions is a disgrace, yet many are engulfed and irritated when these things are mentioned. Everything shows an unhealthy condition, and the Holy Spirit must be more grieved than we realize.

Many believers thought the apostle strange when he did not adopt human methods of man-pleasing. But he continued, “having obtained help of God.” And so should God’s people today. (I Cor. 11:1) Look at his seeming failure, and rejection in the latter epistles. The trials may be real on this account, but the chapter which says “They think it strange” adds “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice.” (1 Pet. 4:12, 13) The trials are not forever: the glory is! And God is faithful today. And faith believes Him, and reposes in His faithfulness. A willingness to obey the Lord with humble graciousness of manner, and to leave results with Him is a great need today, Shall we not trust God for grace to seek to please Him thus?

Old Faithful Defender


Nominal lukewarm Christians are perhaps worse enemies to religion than professed infidels, and are generally the most bitter persecutors that the people of God meet with.

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van maandag 1 augustus 1966

The Banner of Truth | 20 Pagina's

WILLINGNESS TO BE THOUGHT STRANGE FOR CHRIST’S SAKE

Bekijk de hele uitgave van maandag 1 augustus 1966

The Banner of Truth | 20 Pagina's

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