A New Year of Enmity

By bro Linus Chua

In God’s providence, a New Year has begun. How should we think of the year ahead? I’ll like to suggest one word – enmity. What! Enmity, of all words? Yes, enmity. Not just any kind of enmity, but a particular kind. Without this enmity, we would not have life and we would not be able to live life as we should. Give me a few moments of your time and let’s explore this theme of enmity together.

Shortly after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and fell into a state of sin and misery, the LORD God visited them in the Garden of Eden, and among the first few things He said were these words, “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.” (Gen. 3:15)

An enmity already existed before God entered the Garden, but it was an enmity of the wrong kind. By choosing to trust the words of the serpent rather than the words of God, man had aligned himself with Satan, the great enemy of God, and was now in a state of enmity with God. Adam and Eve became friends of the devil and enemies of God. What a dreadful and deadly state to be in, for to be an enemy of God is to be in a state of death.

But blessed be God, who came in His mercy and grace to break up this fiendish alignment by injecting enmity between the Satan and mankind. Adam and Eve needed to learn again who their true enemy was. Their loyalties had to undergo a radical transformation and renovation. Not God, but Satan was to be the object of their hatred and enmity. Similarly, not Satan, but God was to be the object of their love and affection. 

But not only did God inject enmity between Satan and our first parents, He perpetuated this enmity between the seeds throughout succeeding generations. In fact, this enmity appeared in the very next generation when Cain, who was a seed of the serpent or child of the devil, murdered Abel, who was a seed of the woman or child of God (see 1 John 3:7-12).

And this enmity has continued up till this day. All of biblical as well as human history can and should be understood in light of this enmity. I’ll like us, however, to take note of three important things with regard to this enmity.

Firstly, this enmity is not naturally handed down by ordinary or natural generation. All men, by nature, are enemies of God, and all parents naturally bring forth children who are at enmity with God. It is only when God sovereignly works in the heart of a person that he or she will be at enmity with Satan.

I like what O Palmer Robertson wrote on this, “God himself sovereignly sets enmity within the heart of the natural descendants of the woman. By the process of natural birth, the fallen woman brings forth a depraved seed. But by grace, God establishes enmity within the heart of particular descendants of the woman and these individuals may be regarded as the woman’s seed.”              

Brethren, thank God again and again for His sovereign grace in setting this supernatural enmity in your heart! And thank God for His promise to us that our children too will experience this enmity in their hearts (Gen. 17:7, Acts 2:39).

Secondly, this enmity is primarily of a spiritual kind and does not always manifest itself in an outward and physical way. And because of this, it is very easy for us to forget or lose sight of the fact that there is a spiritual enmity and war that is going on everywhere and at all times. Once we lose sight of this enmity, we will be in danger of laying down our spiritual weapons and thus becoming vulnerable to the attacks of Satan. Worse still, we may end up fighting on the wrong side!

When Satan tempted Adam and Eve, he did not appear to them as a hostile enemy with a drawn sword and fierce words. Instead, he appeared to them as a friend and as one genuinely concerned about their welfare with wise words of counsel for them. Our first parents were deceived. They fell and brought ruin to this world.

The New Testament calls us to be watchful and alert, and always ready and equipped to do battle with the evil one. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Let us especially be watchful for complacency, pride, a worldly approach to life, covetousness, lust, envy, lack of love (for God and for man), indifference to the things of God, ingratitude for blessings received, laziness especially in spiritual exercises, etc. Spend time this day to carefully think about where the spiritual battles are currently raging in your heart and life, and prayerfully seek to do battle in those areas in the strength of the Lord.      

Thirdly and lastly, this enmity will not last forever but will someday come to an end. The end of this enmity began when Jesus Christ our Lord came into this world to do battle with Satan. Satan bruised our Lord’s heel by getting Him crucified upon the cross. But little did he know, the cross would be the very means by which his own head would be crushed.

Our Lord rose from the dead, ascended up on high, and is seated on the right hand of God even now, reigning with all power and authority over the whole universe.
He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. And He will do that through His body the church which continues to do battle on this earth. Victory was secured by the cross work of Christ. What is left is the outworking of that victory in this present age. 

May we be found faithful warriors of His in the year ahead! And may the thought that someday the battle will be over encourage us to press on in our enmity with Satan, sin and the world.  

Blessed Enmity! Blessed New Year!