Enemies

Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.”

The Lord had some business to take care of, some issues to address, with his human caretakers in the Garden of Eden after their fall into sin. His first order of business was to create some new enemies. “Friends” may not be the right word for what happened between Eve and the devil. “Friendship” suggests a mutual concern. That is foreign to the devil’s thinking. Maybe we could say that they became allies in their rebellion. Adam and Eve had joined the wrong team, but not because anyone on that side was looking out for each other. It was every man, woman, and demon for himself.

“Enemies” fits exactly the relationship God came to establish between the first humans and the devil. The devil is a liar and a murderer. There is no middle ground to take here. You either support the devil in leading people to rebel against the only true God to their own damnation, or you fight him. God said, “I am going to make this woman (and by association, also her husband) your enemy.” That means God led Adam and Eve to repent, to have a change of heart.

God’s work of creating new enemies didn’t stop with them. He extended his promise to put enmity “between your (the devil’s) offspring and hers.” It’s frightening to think that the devil could have offspring. When God created spirits, he did not give them the ability to reproduce. But this is one of the terrible effects of the fall into sin. The devil could now increase his following, make more creatures who lived and thought like him. By nature, every human gets their start in unbelief.

But God keeps making enemies of the devil out of the devil’s offspring–sons and daughters who share the faith of Adam and Eve, not just their genes. We are those offspring. Like our first parents, God has led us to see our sin and repent of it. He has forgiven our sin and filled us with faith. He has made us enemies of the devil by converting us into the friends of God.

This description of the relationships in terms of “enmity,” or hostility, explains a lot about how we Christians experience life. First, it explains our struggle with ourselves. Spiritually, none of us have roots to be proud of. Our roots have their beginning in the spot we had on the wrong team. And those roots run deep. They are like the weeds you try to pull up in your lawn or garden. You get the top of the root. But the bottom is still stuck in the soil, producing weeds.

That’s why it is so hard for us, even now, to repent. We haven’t completely lost our taste for the devil’s point of view. In some ways he doesn’t seem so much like the enemy.

Second, this explains why we Christians get so much hatred from the world. Jesus once prayed, “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them for it.” Because God has filled us with faith and love, we do not hate the individuals on the unbelieving side. We pray, we witness, we work for them to receive the same conversion we received. But for those who will not convert, all our prayer, witness and work is regarded as an insult or attack. There is enmity, hostility toward us.

By turning people into the devil’s enemies, the Lord is doing more than waging a war. He is showing grace. “I will put enmity…” he says. He does all the work. He doesn’t wait for Adam and Eve to come crawling back to him. He goes looking for them. He doesn’t wait for them to apologize or make amends. You know the story, what came before God’s pronouncements. Adam and Eve weren’t repenting. They were hiding. They were defending themselves. They were blaming others. They do everything but repent.

So God steps in to fix this himself. He acts unilaterally. He could have wiped them out and started over. He could have shut the whole creation experiment down and lived in solitude throughout eternity. Instead, he changes them. He speaks to them here, and those words change them. They change their way of thinking about sin, about the devil, and most importantly, their way of thinking about God. They no longer run away to hide in fear. They trust him and know him as their loving Savior. Their story is also our story, for we are their offspring, and God has made us his friends by making us enemies of the devil.

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