Born of God (continued)
The Inevitable Antagonism Against Heaven
The next thing, of course, is the inevitable antagonism. It was not very long after the birth of the Lord Jesus before it broke out. The kingdom of satan knew who He was, and what He was. That kingdom had many a powerful instrument and means at hand, and Herod was one such. We are not to know what happened during the thirty years of His boyhood and young manhood - that is passed over. It would not be surprising if there were many narrow escapes even then. But we do know that, from the moment of His stepping out from His anointing at Jordan, to take up this work of bringing "the other sheep," bringing the other sons to glory, all hell was on His track. Whenever He came into a place, the atmosphere became charged with antagonism. We perhaps know something of those atmospherics, but how infinitely worse it must have been for our Lord, with His very sensitive spirit, to have known this terrible hatred and animosity of the evil powers toward Him, and working through men. Oh, the constant, almost monotonous repetition: "They sought to destroy Him ... they sought to destroy Him ... they sought how they might destroy him." That was the atmosphere in which He lived. Why?
Well, it might be put down to many causes, but the fundamental cause was this: He belonged to Heaven, and the destiny of the Heavenly One and the heavenly ones is to possess this world and govern it, by the final abolishment of its prince and his whole kingdom. And they know. Said they: "I know Thee Who Thou art, the Holy One of God" (Mark 1:24). And they know every one who is holy, in that sense. There is an inevitable antagonism in the spiritual realm. Often it cannot be traced to any physical, material, or temporal cause, or to people; it is just there in the air. We know something of the antagonisms of a spiritual kind that the Christian has to meet in this world, without provoking deliberately or knowingly or really, by words or deeds. When you are born again, somehow or other the consciousness comes alive that you are a speckled bird, a marked man or woman. And so John says about these that are born of God: "For this cause the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not" (1 John 3:1). It "knoweth" us not. There is a deeper meaning in that word "knoweth" than just being aware of us, knowing who we are. It is being able to place us; being able to explain us, being able to trace us, as to what we are and where we came from. To the world there is something about us that is inscrutable; and that constitutes an antagonism.
Do not try to cut out that kind of antagonism. Be careful not to give unnecessary offence; try to "commend yourself to every man's conscience in the sight of God' (2 Corinthians 4:2); do things honorably before all men (Romans 12:17); give them no occasion for accusing you fairly as a Christian. But when you have done all, do not think that you will not meet this antagonism - if you are a child of God you will. You just cannot avoid it. Do not try to eliminate it; recognize that as a part of the very fact, a wonderful evidence of the fact that you are in the company of Jesus Christ. The world knew Him not; therefore it knows us not.
(continued with # 35)