The Believer in the World -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 05:1 (Summer 1996)
Article: The Believer in the World
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

The Believer in the World

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.1

An Exposition of John 15:18–16:4


The outflow of fruitbearing comes before the reader now, since the subject of abiding in Christ for the bearing of fruit has just been traversed (cf. John 15:1–17). The new relationship to Christ means a new relationship to the world (cf. 15:1, 18). The facts of the matter are that union with Christ results in both fruit and hate! That is startling, but true.

As Leon Morris says, “It is not without its significance that the disciples are to be known by their love, the world by its hatred.”2

Two purposes seem to be in the mind of the Lord in telling His disciples of the world’s hostility. In the first place, He wishes to warn them of what will happen in the future, in order that they may remember that He predicted the world’s hatred. That would encourage them in the midst of the hostility, giving them a measure of assurance by this manifestation of His divine foreknowledge (cf. 16:1, 4). It is common for disciples, when they are experiencing difficulties in the Christian life, to wonder if they really are in harmony with the will of God in their experience. And the Lord desired to encourage the disciples when they faced the inevitable enmity of the unbelieving world.

Thus, the second purpose is simply to support them by this knowledge of His ability to predict that which is to come. To know that the omniscient divine Son is with them in their difficulties will be of inestimable benefit to them in the warfare of the Christian campaign for the souls of men.

The Antagonism of the Foe

The Reasons (John 15:18-21).

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

The section begins with the words, “If the world hate y...

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