Author: Ron Graham
Enemies of the Christian
—Being on guard
The following lesson is a warning to us about the dark side of our faith and hope. In God we trust, and there is no dark side to him (1John 1:5) However there is much darkness in the world and "the whole world lies in the evil one" (1John 5:19-20). So we have enemies all around, sometimes in surprising places.
- Christians do have enemies. If it were not so, then how would Jesus have said, "Love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44)?
- There are five kinds of enemies of the Christian. A Christian may not have all five kinds, but every Christian has enemies of some kind, and enough of them to keep him on guard at all times.
1 Satan the Devil
- Satan is mankind's worst predator. "Your enemy, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1Peter 5:8)
- Satan is the ruin of the world. "The whole world lies in the evil one" (1John 5:19-20)
- The devil has "his angels" the demons (Matthew 25:41).
- Satan, however, can be thwarted. He is not invincible. The power of Jesus can, as he says, "open people's eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in me" (Acts 26:18)
2 The World
- Whilst the devil and his angels lead the enmity against the people of God, there are plenty of mortals willing to assist him. The "world forces of this darkness" work together with "the spiritual forces of wickedness" (Ephesians 6:12).
- As we saw before, "The whole world lies in the evil one" (1John 5:19-20) so that many people of the world are among the enemies of Christ.
3 Family and Friends
- The scriptures say, "Do not trust in a neighbour, do not have confidence in a friend, from her who lies in your bosom guard your lips. For son treats father contemptuously, daughter rises up against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man's enemies are the men of his own household" (Malachi 7:5-6).
- Jesus repeats this warning (Matthew 10:34-37).
- This does not happen to us all, but many Christians do taste the bitterness of it.
4 Fellow Christians
- Paul seems to be referring to certain church members when he says, "I tell you even weeping, they are enemies of the cross of Christ" (Philippians 3:17-19).
- In the controversy about eating meat sacrificed to idols, Paul shows how some Christians became the enemies of others: "By sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ" (1Corinthians 8:10-13).
- James spoke of violent "quarrels and conflicts among" the brethren (James 4:1).
5 Our Own Selves
- As if there is not enough to contend with, we can sometimes be our own worst enemy.
- Paul describes this when he says, "I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner..." (Romans 7:22-23).
- Of course Christ can set us free from this enmity with ourselves, as Paul goes on to point out (Romans 7:24-25, 8:1-2).