As we shall see, the believer’s ENEMIES are always spoken of in Scripture as UNBELIEVERS. It is surely possible that another believer could be in opposition to us to the point of attacking us verbally or perhaps even physically, but they are never called our enemy. Let us look at a few scriptures that speak of our enemies and see what we can learn.

Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say to you, love your ENEMIES, bless them who CURSE YOU, do good to those who HATE YOU, and pray for those who spitefully USE YOU and PERSECUTE YOU” (NKJV).  It is clear from this verse that the believer’s enemy could not be a true believer, for true believers LOVE one another. The Apostle John wrote, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we LOVE THE BRETHREN. He who does not love his brother abides in death” (1st John 3:14). Again, a believer may fail to love his brother as he should, but he is characterized by “loving his brother.” The Lord’s words in Matthew 5:44 speak of an unbeliever who has an intense HATRED for true believers and manifests that hatred by CURSING, USING and PERSECUTING the Christian. This surely implies “verbal abuse” but it could also involve “physical abuse.” And we can say with certainty that this sinful abuse of the believer is one example of one “who practices sin.”

Philippians 3:17-19 reads, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you weeping, that THEY ARE THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.” Here too it is clear that our enemies are unbelievers, for they are on their way to “eternal destruction” (see 2nd Thessalonians 1:6-9) as they live a life of self-indulgence. Notice, they are not spoken of as “our enemies” but as “enemies of the cross.” Paul may be referring to “religious Jews” who were teaching people that they must “keep the Law to be saved” (see Acts 15:1-2) or to other “false teachers” (see 2nd Corinthians 11:12-15). Or he could also be referring to “professing Christians” who were “using the doctrine of grace as a license to sin” (see Jude 3-4). These enemies are even more threatening to the Christian, for they use deception in their teaching to convince believers that it’s okay to live a worldly life and all the while they are spiritually dead, “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (see Jude 12-13). They too are “practicing sin” while they pretend to be Christians. They may even speak reverently of the “cross of Christ,” but in using grace as a license to sin they are indeed “enemies of the cross of Christ” and thus “enemies of true believers.”

Ephesians 6:10-12 states, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we DO NOT WRESTLE AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, but against POWERS, against the RULERS OF THE DARKNESS of this age, against SPIRITUAL HOSTS OF WICKEDNESS in the heavenly places.” Here we learn who our greatest enemies are, for behind every persecutor or false teacher, are demonic forces (fallen angels) who are arrayed against us with the goal of robbing us of enjoying the blessings we have in Christ and of our testimony before the world. I mentioned previously of false teachers in 2nd Corinthians 11:15 and it distinctly says in verse 13 that they are “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” Verses 14-15 go on to say, “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if HIS MINISTERS also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” That passage proves that the “rulers of darkness” and “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” are working in and through men on earth to attack believers. Thank God, He has given us all the Divine resources we need to “be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” for we have the “armor of God” that we can put on as we do battle with these unseen forces of evil (Ephesians 6:13-18).

A word of caution is in order in closing. In James 5:3-4 we read, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD IS ENMITY WITH GOD? Whoever therefore wants to be a FRIEND OF THE WORLD makes himself an ENEMY OF GOD.” Here is a solemn warning to true believers who become self-indulgent and worldly. Such worldliness is “spiritual adultery” which makes us “an enemy of God.” The world 1) defiles the believer (James 1:27), 2) robs the believer of the love of the Father (1st John 2:15-17), and 3) conforms the believer to the world around them (Romans 12:2). May God’s grace keep us from becoming worldly (please read the words of our Lord and Savior in John 17:13-19).  (DO)  (562.5)