Romans 12:2 - “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
With a world population reaching around 8 billion human beings, how many people on this planet are Christians? About 2.4 billion people identify as Christian and the other 5.5 billion identify as non-Christians. With this numerical statistic, it is easy to see that the majority of people in this world on planet earth as we know it, identify as non-believers. With that said, if God, the Creator of the Universe, who created humanity in His image, is not the spiritual father of over 5.5 billion people, then who is? In John 8:44, when Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders he said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” These are very straight-forward, strong words to describe the spiritual condition of the hearts of these religious leaders. Yet, they were Jesus’ words that he spoke directly to those who hated Him and crucified Him. It was an act of a hate crime of the worst degree. He said and did nothing to harm them, but they were jealous of Him and hated Him for His very existence, and therefore murdered Him. Have you had someone express their hate towards you, emotionally, verbally, or physically because they hate Christ?
We, as believers, should not be surprised to find that 2,000 years later, the nonbelievers of the world are still hateful towards Christians. Non-believers have a spiritual father, Satan. He rebelled against God and is against all people who represent God, just as non-believers are too. It is important for modern believers to understand that this vicious hate that was displayed towards Jesus, was also displayed to his disciples, and believers generation after generation. Before Paul was converted, he was known as Saul, the persecutor of Christians. History teaches us that he was responsible for the deaths of over 1,500 believers. Yet Paul became a believer and was mightily used by God to bring thousands of nonbelievers to Christ. Stephen, a deacon, was martyred for Christ. He was physically attacked and bit by people who hated Jesus and hated him for being a believer. Peter and James were physically beaten and jailed for being believers. Having traveled and spoken as a believer in over 20 different countries I have been cussed out, spat upon, and physically assaulted simply for being a believer, but I am not surprised by lost people acting like lost people.
Romans 12:2 tells us to not be conformed to this world. The word “world” here is the belief system of the world (cosmos) which influences the way non-believers live. We want to be transformed by the renewing of our mind daily. Each day we leave behind the thinking and practices of the world and put on the new man “Christlikeness”. By yielding to God daily, you fulfill God’s will or plan for your life.
Matthew 5:16 reads, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Believers must remember that the nonbelievers are lost. They need the light of the believer to show them the way to Christ. Many times, what non-believers see from us by way of our actions and reactions are the only light they have to show them what true Christianity is all about.
Colossians 3:13 directs us to forgive others just as we have been forgiven, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” When we are vessels of God’s grace and forgiveness towards others, we benefit and they benefit.
As believers, we need to remember who we represent most in this world, Jesus Christ. When we are attacked we want to defend ourselves, get even, physically protect our rights. Even Peter, when he had been let out of prison by the angel, went right back to preaching the gospel publicly the next day. However, representing Christ faithfully, to the non-believers we interact with daily, is our responsibility. We need to encourage and pray for other believers who are facing persecution for being Christians. We also need to remember that even Jesus said, “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 yours also.”
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