“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.”Hebrews 11:7
Scripture repeatedly speaks of how we must hate the world and love righteousness. Just how we do this has been a challenges since the days of Noah. Noah was obedient and saw the bigger picture so to speak, he saw that choosing obedience to God was the number one priority. As we build our own ark’s we need to continually be making the choice to put God first, to choose life, to choose faith, to choose righteousness. “what does it benefit one to gain the whole world and yet forfeit their own soul?” (Matthew 16:16, Mark 8:36, Luke 9 :25).
But what exactly does this mean, for you and I? What is this world that we are to hate? Surely the Christian faith is all about love and tolerance and forgiveness.
The greatest challenge for us as Christians is for us to realise that we are called out, to a place of humility. We are not called to be greater, Jesus speaks clearly about how the leaders of this world promote themselves but, that we are to take a lowly place “Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.” (Luke 22:26), the greatest among you must be your servant ( Matthew 23:11).
Ours is a path of humility, where we build our lives on righteousness to be better than everyone else, but to better serve the people that Christ died for.
Hating the world and choosing righteousness means repenting of our own prejudices, and greed and idolatry and faithlessness and understanding that we are living under God’s grace. Therefore we are to be forgiving. One of the best descriptions of forgiveness that I have heard is: “ Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of someone else’s sin.”
This requires some time to rethink our concept of forgiveness. On the cross Jesus forgave the world saying” they don’t know what they are doing’ he accepted death, the consequence of humankinds hatred and jealousy and ignorance. He loved people who did not love him back, he loved people society didn’t love, he was prepared to live in the world and agreed to live with the consequences of sin, and in doing so he overcame.
We are not immune to the hardships of life, but we need to trust God and walk confidently in life, engaging with others and taking the risk, the risk of being offended, the risk of being undervalued, the risk of being used, the risk of being hurt.
The world we are to hate is the system where everyone is in t for themselves, where their own interests come first where they are not willing to tolerate another’s point of view, where they are not compassionate and kind and caring. a world that is not forgiving. Does everything to avoid the consequences of life, by filing it with falsehood.
Challenge – do you seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God, and do you have it the right way around? “Justice for others, mercy for others and humility for yourself.”
Let us pray.
Lord you forgave our sins on the cross and clothed us in righteousness. Teach us to walk in the righteousness that comes by faith and to love you more than our comfort, our ego and our own self interests.
In Jesus name we pray.