The offence of the cross is not ceased
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.
—1 John 3:13
If the Apostle John had been a twentieth-century country music singer, he might have sung, “I beg your pardon / I never promised you a rose garden.” The disciple of Christ is called to abandon the world’s goods and the world’s esteem to follow him.
I do not say that the statesman must throw up his office, and the rich man forsake his property. Let no one fancy that I mean this. But I say, if a man would be saved, whatever be his rank in life, he must be prepared for tribulation. He must make up his mind to choose much which seems evil, and to give up and refuse much which seems good.
I dare say this sounds strange language to some who read these pages. I know well you may have a certain form of religion, and find no trouble in your way. There is a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough—a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and is worth nothing. I am not speaking of religion of this kind.
But if you really are in earnest about your soul—if your religion is something more than a mere fashionable Sunday cloak—if you are determined to live by the Bible—if you are resolved to be a New Testament Christian, then, I repeat, you will soon find you must carry a cross.—You must endure hard things, you must suffer on behalf of your soul, as Moses did, or you cannot be saved.
The world in the nineteenth century is what it always was. The hearts of men are still the same. The offence of the cross is not ceased. God’s true people are still a despised little flock. True Evangelical religion still brings with it reproach and scorn. A real servant of God will still be thought by many a weak enthusiast and a fool.
—J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Banner of Truth, 2014), 189–192.
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