(17) And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Those who do not bear the mark of the beast are unable to buy or sell. In other words, those who are the servants of Christ cannot fully participate in the world’s systems, for to do so would mean great compromise in our stand for Christ.
So, because of our stand for our Lord, we are excluded, mistreated, rejected and taken advantage of by this fallen world’s economic, political and religious systems. We can see this taking place all around us, the degree of mistreatment varies based upon each particular situation the Christian is facing.
For some, it may mean simply being mocked or judged falsely; for others it may mean loss of a promotion, or even a job; there are those who may face ostracization from their circle of friends or even their families; or perhaps, losses in the legal, political, or economic systems may take place. For many Christians, especially in foreign lands, they may face physical abuse, torture and even death.
Paul described the types of mistreatment that he faced from the lost world…
1Co 4:12-13 KJV – “…being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.”
Some of the types of mistreatment he mentioned include:
- Being “reviled” (vilified) 2. Being “persecuted” (hunted down)
- Being “defamed” (spoken against) 4. “made as the filth” (garbage, waste)
- “made as the … offscouring” (scum).
Wow! Have you ever felt like Paul?
Has the world ever lied about you, and mocked you as they mischaracterized your act of honesty which looked like foolishness and naiveté to them?
Have you ever felt as though the lost world treated you like waste or scum because you choose to abstain from sinful pleasures to remain faithful to Christ?
Do you remember how “small” you felt when you were made fun of at school for carrying a Bible?
What about the feeling you had when your family turned their back on you because you had left their false religion in order to be a follower of Christ?
Our list could go one and on.
Probably, to a certain extent, we have all felt that way at one time or another. We all have been called upon to suffer abuse at the hands of the fallen world. Some of us have been greatly abused, others not so much. But in each and every case, it hurt us within and brought some type of loss into our life.
But if you notice, back in our 1 Corinthians 4: passage, we can see that Paul recognized this abuse was a tremendous opportunity to be faithful to His Lord.
- “blessed” (spoke kindly about and to his abusers)
- “suffered” (held remained firm through God’s intervention in his life)
- “intreated” (he prayed for his abusers and their spiritual needs)
By handling his abuse in this way, he was being faithful to the Lord in four ways…
- He was continuously pleasing to the Lord, before, during and after the abuse
- He was setting a wonderful example for other believers to follow
- He was showing Christ to his abusers through his acts of kindness and love towards them
- He was laying up for himself eternal rewards
May we all follow Paul’s wonderful example of faithfulness in the abusive situations we face.
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: