Living the Antithesis in College

Antithesis. Anti-thesis. Against a viewpoint. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the direct opposite.” God tells us what the antithesis is in Genesis 3:15. He says to Satan: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Enmity between the children of the Devil and children of God. That is, hatred, war, and conflict between the elect and the reprobate—no love, friendship, or acceptance. There must be a clear separation between the two.

Now that we know the antithesis is, let’s see how we can apply it to life in college. A place where many of us Young Calvinists (including me) currently reside or frequent.

You’re in one of your Gen Ed classes that you have to take—Introduction to Physics. The class is set up so that you have to work with a group of three other people to get the labs and quizzes done—and you have to stay in those groups for the whole semester. So of course you’re in a group chat with everyone to complete the work outside of class as necessary. On nights that the lab reports are due, your phone blows up with texts within the group chat—and the language being used is terrible. The other students aren’t happy with the teacher for assigning them this or that, so they use filthy language to express their anger, using swear words as frequently as the words ‘I’ and ‘it.’

Sound familiar to you, college-goer? Have you had similar experiences? As a Christian who has been called by God to live an antithetical life, what are you supposed to do in this situation?

The easiest solution, and the one that I tend to fall back on all the time, would be to ignore the language and stay silent. So easy to do when it’s all through texting. You can hide. What the other students are saying might make you feel not so good, but you can just let them continue and not do it yourself. Right?

Here’s the question I must pose for myself: is ignoring someone living the antithesis? Is it doing the opposite of what they are doing? Is it combating the lifestyle that the Devil works so hard to promote?

The answer isn’t always easy for me to hear. In fact, I push against it most of the time. I hate hearing that I’m wrong, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. However, ignoring sinful actions is NOT living antithetically—instead, it is living apathetically. Ignoring is saying to everyone else, “I don’t care. I don’t care about what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter so I’ll just leave everything alone.”

But it does matter! When you’re in a situation where people are using the worst language that is not glorifying God at all, you must step up and defend God and His glory—He demands it. In living a separate life holy unto God, we have to identify and acknowledge what the wicked are doing that is not holy, but then there is another part. We have to then explain why that is wrong and combat against it. Instead of just saying, “Yup that’s wrong” and continuing on with life, we are required to say “That’s wrong, this is why, and this is what I must do instead.” We must constantly fight the fight and run the race!

I could go on and on about so many different scenarios that I have run across and been put through in college—the people I’ve talked to, the classes I’ve taken, the books I’ve had to read. For many of us, college is one of the first places where we really have to exercise our antithetical life to the fullest. It is so important for us to be aware of our calling! But that would have to spill over into more posts. So instead I’ll refer you to a couple articles about how we are called to live antithetically in these ungodly times:

I’ll conclude with a necessary resolution that the psalmist brings out in Psalm 101:3— “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”

Grace Medema

The call to sanctification

When the Lord brings us home to our eternal rest, we will see him as he is. We will behold the holiness of our great God with our own eyes. We will be able to do this because his image will have been fully restored in us. This is our hope. Because we live in this hope, we are called to sanctification. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).

Sanctification is the act of God in us, delivering us from the dominion of sin so that we may live unto him in good works. We are sanctified in principle. We have God’s seal of ownership on us, the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 brings this home; “In whom [Christ] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” That we are sanctified in principle does not mean that we are sinless, but rather that our attitude toward sin changes and we strive more and more toward sanctification in this life. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1, 2).

Sanctification implies separation. We are the temples of God. We are called not to defile the temple of God, but to be separate (2 Corinthians 6:16, 17). This is the antithesis. You are not living a life of sanctification when you are not living the life of the antithesis. Paul in Romans 1 describes our life of separation as reasonable service. This is reasonable because of what he has done for us, namely delivering us from our sin by providing a Mediator.

With sanctification comes the calling to testify of our hope. We will look at this next time.