Monday, September 13, 2021

How Should Christians Treat God's Enemies?

What is an enemy?

  • a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something
  • a thing that harms or weakens something else


Who is an enemy to you? Who is actively opposed to you or trying to cause you harm?

You might think of:

  • a specific person in your life
  • domestic political parties that oppose the way of God
  • foreign nations or regimes that are not operating by the direction of the Lord
  • terrorists
  • Satan and the demons


Are Christians allowed to be an enemy to someone else? Are we supposed to be actively opposed or hostile to someone or something?

As we’ll see below, Christians are to love their enemies, practice non-violence in general, and extend grace to all. But we are also supposed to take a firm stand against what is clearly in opposition to the Lord. Just because you name something as your enemy and actively oppose it doesn’t mean you have to fight your enemy in the same way or with the same attitude they fight against you.


Are God’s enemies our enemies?

Matthew 12:30 – Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”


Jesus tells us to pick a side. When we come to Christ, we give Him our loyalty and move solidly to His camp. We cannot continue to be friends with God’s enemies. We need to make it clear that we stand for Christ and stand against His enemies… while also still extending grace to His enemies because that’s what Christ does!


Who are God’s enemies?

Romans 5:6-10 - You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!


The Apostle Paul describes God’s enemies as ungodly, sinners. We were God’s enemies before we accepted Christ’s death on our behalf. Those who have not yet placed their trust in Christ are still God’s enemies. He will bring His wrath against them.


Philippians 3:18-19 - For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.


The enemies of God care only for earthly things, fulfilling their physical desires. What they hold up as being good is actually shameful in the sight of God. He will bring destroy them.


James 4:4 - You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.


Being a friend of this sinful world is being an enemy to God.


Exodus 23:20-22 - “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you.”


If you obey the Lord, He will be an enemy to your enemy. Those who try to harm you will find themselves answering to God.


How do we oppose our enemies?

Matthew 5:43-45 - “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

We love and pray for our enemies.


Matthew 26:52 - “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.


We do not use violence.


Ephesians 6:12 - For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.


We remember that even though we do have physical, human enemies who are opposing us and trying to do us harm, they are motivated by spiritual powers and so the way we fight against them should be spiritually.


Romans 12:17-19 - Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.


We leave punishing God’s enemies to God. It is not our place to punish.


2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 - God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.


We are patient as we wait for God to punish His enemies. This passage tells us we might need to wait until Christ comes again for Him to bring justice to His people.


So, are Christians never to go to war? Are Christians never to serve in their nation’s military?

Christians have debated this issue ever since Roman soldiers began converting from paganism to Christianity. Let me simply ask some questions to help you think about this issue:


  • Can God use human armies to punish His enemies?
  • How will you answer the Lord at the Judgment when He questions you about your use of violence?
  • Would you be serving your nation’s interests or the Lord’s in your service? Where does one stop and the other begin?


Romans 14:23 - everything that does not come from faith is sin


In Romans 14, Paul discusses a couple of issues Christians disagree on. His conclusion is that every Christian should be fully convinced in their own mind before they do something. As it applies to this discussion, if you have any doubt about serving in the military, DO NOT DO IT. It would be a sin for you.


But also, do not judge the one who is fully convinced they are doing the right thing by serving in the military. You are not the Person they will answer to.




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