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What does it mean to be an enemy of God?

An enemy is one who lives in opposition to another, hating that other and seeking to harm him. God is love, but He still has enemies. The good news is that we do not need to be enemies of God and we can rest assured He has victory over every enemy.

Often the first being that comes to mind when we think of an enemy of God is Satan. And this is true; Satan and his minions are opposed to God, His work, and His people (John 8:44; Ephesians 6:11–18; 1 Peter 5:8). We might also think of concepts like sin and its resultant death as enemies of God, since they are things from which He saves us in Jesus Christ and which He will destroy in the end (1 Corinthians 15:54–58; Revelation 20:14–15).

People can also be enemies of God. In fact, humans' natural sinful state is in opposition to God. The Bible uses the word "enemy" to describe a person's relationship with God before they give their lives to Christ. Romans says that "while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Romans 5:10). Another verse describes people before salvation as "alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds" (Colossians 1:21). Before a person is saved, he is living in opposition to God—as an enemy of God—because he rejects or denies God's existence and His character as revealed in Scripture. The person's actions and goals directly oppose God's.

Romans 1:18–32 gives a thorough description of people who are enemies of God: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. … For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God … Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator … They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." While God's desire is that none should perish and all will reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9), He is also just and honors the choices of those who reject Him by giving them over to their flesh.

Even though our natural state is separate from God, God has never intended to leave us there. We do not need to remain enemies of God; God gives each person the choice of whether or not they want a relationship with Him. While we were enemies of God, He reconciled us to Him by the death of His Son (Romans 5:10). Ephesians 2:1–9 puts it this way, "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience … and were by nature children of wrath … But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

God loves the world and sent His Son, Jesus, to offer joy and hope and eternal life to anyone willing to have faith in Him (John 3:16–18). Those who reject Jesus Christ remain under God's wrath (John 3:36). God is loving and merciful, making the way of reconciliation with Him possible and extending the offer of salvation to all. God is also just and will not let the wickedness of this world go unpunished: "The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies" (Nahum 1:2).

Ultimately, God will have victory over His enemies: "For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death" (1 Corinthians 15:25–26). In the end, Satan, the demons, people who chose to live in rebellion to God, and even death will be defeated by God (Revelation 20:13–15). The enemies of God are no match for Him. After God defeats His enemies, His people will live free of pain and sorrow: "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4)

Do not remain an enemy of God; become part of His family today.


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