Entering the Year with Enmity

In God’s merciful providence, a New Year has begun. How should we think of the year ahead? I’ll like to suggest the word enmity – a good kind of enmity. Without it, we would not have life and we would not be able to live life as we should.  

Shortly after our first parents ate the forbidden fruit and fell into a state of sin and misery, the LORD visited them in the Garden of Eden, and among the first 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 that day, but it was an enmity of the wrong kind. By choosing to trust the words of the serpent rather than the words of God, mankind had aligned itself 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. 

But thank God that in His mercy and grace, He came 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. 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 loyalty.   

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, murdered his brother, Abel, who was a seed of the woman (see 1 John 3:7-12). 

This enmity has continued up till this day and all of history can be understood in light of this enmity.  

I’ll like us to take note of three important things with regard to this enmity.  

First, 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. 

O Palmer Robertson wrote, “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.”                

Let us thank God again and again for His sovereign grace in setting this supernatural enmity in our hearts! 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). 

Second, this enmity is primarily of a spiritual kind and does not always manifest itself in an outward and physical way. And because of that, it is very easy for us to forget or lose sight of the fact that there is a spiritual war that is going on everywhere and at all times. Once we lose sight of it, we will be in danger of laying down our spiritual weapons and 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 speaking unfriendly words. Instead, he appeared to them as a friend and as one genuinely “concerned” about their welfare and he even spoke “wise” words of counsel to 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, worldliness, covetousness, lust, envy, a lack of love for God and men, 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 with the strength of the Lord.        

Third, this enmity will not last forever but will someday come to an end. The end of this enmity began when Jesus Christ came into this world to do battle with Satan. Satan bruised our Lord’s heel by getting Him crucified on the cross. 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 Christ in the year ahead! And may the thought that the battle will soon be over encourage us to press on in our enmity with Satan, sin and the world.    

Have a blessed 2023! 

—Linus Chua

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