Ungodly Men will Never Understand Godly Men
Christians in that first-century world faced such great challenges. The pagan world had such a profound impact on mankind that even their religions were given over to sensuality. When men became Christians there was an immediate change which the former friends could not understand.
Peter described this when he said, “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you” (1 Pet. 4:3-4).
A document from early in the second century describes the church. It is rather lengthy but you will be blessed by reading it.
“They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life.
They are poor yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things and yet abound in all; they are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of and yet are justified; they are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good yet are punished as evildoers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred. To sum it all up in one word—what the soul is to the body, that are Christians in the world” (The Epistle to Diognetus).
Brother and sister in Christ, remember that the world has never understood our lifestyle or worldview. While we live in the same world, our values make us stand in marked contrast to the rest of the world. Reread these words and see just how different we are from others. It is just as Peter said—they will think we are strange because we are not like them.
We would be wise if we take time to make sure that while we are in the world, we are not of the world. We are in the world, but the world is not in us.