Newsletter 10.05.16

Dear Church Family,

Who are your enemies? To whom are you an enemy? In other words, who is against you and who are you against? As any General will tell you, these are important questions to answer. According to the Bible, both of these questions have answers for every person at every point of his or her earthly life. Let’s try to answer each of these questions for the non-Christian and the Christian.

Before God saved us by grace through faith in His Son—regardless of anything else about us, we were enemies of God Himself (Romans 5:10; Philippians 3:18). There is no neutral position. Every person who doesn’t love Jesus hates God. Furthermore, hating God goes hand in hand with hating other people (Titus 3:3). In a word, not presumably where anyone would want to be.

Our natural response to an overarching, general claim like this may be to say, “Well, that’s not fair.” However, we need to be reminded that God designed, created, and sustains all that exists and therefore He alone is endowed with the right to define mankind’s purpose and meaning. We exist to glorify God; that is, to give Him the honor and praise He fully deserves. That means, when we fail here, we are in effect rebelling against His rule. Our sin is like attempting a coup against the King of the universe—bad idea.

Nevertheless, the fact the we are still here and that we haven’t been instantaneously punished by this sovereign God should give us pause to ask, “Why?” The time each one of us has been given demonstrates God’s unmerited patience and goodness. But even greater than these, in sending His Son to die, God’s love is revealed for all those who will repent and believe in Jesus Christ.

Now, for those who are trusting in Christ, we are no longer enemies of God—we are His children. We are no longer enemies of other Christians—we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Furthermore, we aren’t personally against of any other non-Christian, but rather we love them (Luke 6:27). They may hate us and be our enemies, but they can never be our enemies while we are gripped with the beauty of the Gospel that Christ loved us and died for us while we were still against Him (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10-11). We know non-Christians are not a threat to us, which enables us to show compassion as we offer them the hope of the good news.

So then, who are the Christian’s enemies? Our enemies are no longer evil people, but evil powers (Ephesians 6:12) which we battle most intensely inside ourselves. The greatest threat to our souls is sin. Therefore, we are warned “if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).

This life is constant war, but thanks be to God by trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ we are no longer fighting a war we can’t win. In fact, because God raised Him from the dead we know we have victory in Jesus. So then, let God’s church fight like we’ll win and love like He did.

Gentry