Tag Archives: enemies of God
None of us likes to be told that we enter life as ENEMIES of God! But that’s the testimony of Scripture. True, every person is a creation of God and is made in the image of God. But as we saw in our previous post, CREATION does not equal REDEMPTION.
I’ve been studying Ephesians 2 recently and here is what we learn about our B.C. (before Christ) condition:
There are two, and only two, categories of human beings: (1) those who are by nature (and practice) belong to their father, the devil (Jn. 8:41; Acts 13:10), and (2) those who by conversion and redemption are now children of God (Jn. 1:12; I Jn. 3:10).
We dare not waffle on the truth of CONVERSION. I heard of a very cautious clergyman in Detroit who once challenged his congregation with these words: “Dearly beloved, unless you repent of your sins in a measure, and become converted in a degree, you will, I regret to say, be damned to a more or less extent.” Biblical conversion moves one out of the category of enemy into the category of child, redeemed by the finished work of the Lord Jesus.
Let’s not leave those verses in Ephesians 2 too quickly. Notice some of the awful statements about our pre-conversion condition: “dead in your transgressions and sins”; you “followed the ways of this world”; you were “by nature deserving of wrath”; etc. Those expressions are the death-nail to human pride. When one says, “Yes, Lord, that is indeed my condition,” he or she is on the fast track to forgiveness and fellowship with God. And conversion leads to FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD!
What must it mean to be called a “friend of God”? If our view of God is low, then that expression means very little. But if we think of God as the Almighty Creator of the heavens and the earth, the One who sent His own Son to die for our sins, the One who grants us the very next breath of air in our lungs, then becoming His friend has to be the greatest gift one could ever have!
“But,” some might say, “doesn’t God love everybody? Aren’t all people friends of God? Don’t we come into the world as friends of God?”
Great questions! Here’s what the Bible teaches: Before conversion, we were not friends, but enemies of God! Romans 5:10 says, “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!”
There is no spiritual neutrality, no religious Switzerland. We come into this world as wrath-deserving sinners who begin to practice our rebellion as soon as possible! Yes, we are children of God in the sense of CREATION. But creation does not equal REDEMPTION! The Apostle Paul calls his listeners on Mars Hill “the offspring of God,” but then calls them to repent and believe in Jesus! (Acts 17).
(to be continued)
In a few days I get to lead a group of young people through the topic of being a friend of sinners, like Jesus was (Mt. 11). In our six-part study, we have already seen that we need a theology of lostness (we come into this world as enemies of God and under His wrath) and we need a theology of friendship (we need to learn to listen to our unsaved friends without resorting to conditional friendships).
Let’s notice a third aspect of being a friend of sinners and it is that we need —
Session #3- A Theology of WORLDLINESS!
James 4:4 says, “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.” We are not to be a friend of the world (in the sense of siding with the pagan system opposing God and the things of God), but we are to be friends of sinners! We need a clear understanding, a definitive doctrine of the world, that guides us is walking that fine line between those two imperatives.
Many Christians genuinely fear falling into sin if they intentionally become friends of sinners. But we can love sinners without compromising our Christian convictions. I’ve done a serious study of the “world,” a term used 17 times by the Lord Jesus in His high priestly prayer in John 17. That word cosmos (in the Greek) can be translated the planet, the people of the planet, or the pagan system opposing God and the things of God. Here’s my translation of John 17, attempting to insert the best translation of that word.
“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the planet began.” (v. 5). … I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the pagan system. (v. 6). … I pray for them, I am not praying for the people of the planet, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. (v. 9). … I will remain in the planet no longer, but they are still in the planet, and I am coming to you. (vv. 10-11). … I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the planet, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. (v. 13). … I have given them your word and the pagan system has hated them, for they are not of the pagan system any more than I am of the pagan system. (v. 14). … My prayer is not that you take them out of the planet but that you protect them from the evil one.” (v. 15). … They are not of the pagan system, even as I as not of it. (v. 16). … As you sent me into the people of the planet, I have sent them into the people of the planet. (v. 18). … My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the people of the planet may believe the you have sent me. (vv. 20-21). … I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the people of the planet will know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (v. 23). … Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the planet. (v. 24). … Righteous Father, though the people of the planet do not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.” (v. 25).
There are ten conclusions that we can draw from looking at John 17 in this way:
1. The full deity of the Lord Jesus is foundational. He had the Father’s glory before creation (v. 5) and was loved by the Father before the creation came into existence (v. 24).
3. Jesus personally prays for each of us (v. 9).
4. He is leaving the planet, but we are staying here (vv. 10-11).
5. He says these things while here on the planet so that we might have the full measure of His joy. Now. Here. (v. 13).
6. We should not be surprised that the pagan system hates us, for it hated Him! (v. 14).
7. Jesus prays for our protection not our escape from this planet (v. 15).
8. We have been sent/commissioned by the Lord Jesus to the people of this planet (v. 18).
9. The unity of Jesus-followers can lead the people of the planet to belief in Him (vv. 20-23).
10. The people of the planet do not know the Father, but Jesus does (v. 25).
Being a friend of sinners does not automatically mean being a friend of the worldly system! And our mission is in this world! Although we long for the Lord’s return for us, we are not to embrace a kind of evacuation theology that shirks our ministry here! (to be continued)
In asking the question, “What in the world is the Jesus-follower?”, we have been looking at Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17 and His seventeen uses of the word “world.” And, at the moment, we are noticing what He means by the word “world” in His prayer! Let’s continue asking what He means by that word in our seventh occurrence of it. We read in John 17 —
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”