Introduction to Enmity in the Bible
Enmity is an emotion which can refer to hatred, resentment and hostility between two individuals, groups, or a nation and their opponents. In the Bible, the notion of enmity is used to describe the relationship between God, His creation, and the forces of evil or sin. Bible writers used enmity to emphasize the fact that all human beings have sinned and have to turn to God for forgiveness. This theological concept was very popular in the Old Testament, where God warns His people that enmity would come upon them if they disobeyed Him. The New Testament also talks about enmity and how it affects the spiritual life of believers.
Meaning and Origins of Enmity in the Bible
The concept of enmity in the Bible originates from the Greek word protonymia, which means “hostile feelings between two or more persons, or between a person and a nation”. In the Old Testament, the term refers to both human and spiritual relationships and can be used to refer to not only physical, but also emotional and spiritual enmity. In the New Testament, the term is used in the context of spiritual relationships, mainly between God and humanity, as well as between human beings and Satan.
Examples of Enmity in the Bible
The best example of enmity in the Bible is found in the story of Cain and Abel. In this story, God commands Cain to offer a sacrifice to Him, and Cain becomes jealous when God accepts the sacrifice of his brother, Abel. This leads to a deep-seated enmity between the two brothers, and it ultimately leads to Cain murdering Abel. In Revelation 12:17, the Bible speaks of the spiritual warfare between Satan and God’s people. Satan is referred to as “the Devil and Satan”, and he is determined to wage spiritual warfare against those who serve God.
The Divine Source of Enmity in the Bible
The enmity between humans, both in the Old Testament and New Testament, is often attributed to a divine source. In the Old Testament, God often carries out the punishment of those who disobey His will. In the New Testament, Jesus warns that those who do not accept Him as their Savior will suffer enmity from God. In many passages, such as Matthew 24:9, Jesus warns that “those who hear the word of God but do not do what it says will be cut off from among the people”.
Effects of Enmity in the Bible
The enmity that is talked about in the Bible has both physical and spiritual consequences. In the Old Testament, the consequences of hatred and enmity against God can be seen through the events of the Exodus. The empire of the Pharaohs was destroyed by a series of plagues, including hail, famine, and pestilence, all designed to teach the Israelites the consequences of their disobedience. The New Testament also speaks of the consequences of enmity towards God, telling us that those who reject the Gospel will be condemned to hell for eternity.
The Resolution of Enmity in the Bible
In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the resolution of enmity is found in the Gospel. The Old Testament offers multiple messages of hope to God’s people. For example, in Isaiah 61:1, it states, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” The New Testament teaches that the resolution of enmity comes through faith in Jesus Christ. In Romans 5:10, Paul writes, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Theological Application of Enmity in the Bible
The theological application of the concept of enmity in the Bible is that we can learn to resolve our enmity with God through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches us that we must repent of our sins and turn to God in order to receive forgiveness and eternal salvation. The Bible also teaches us that enmity between God and humanity is a consequence of sin and disobedience, and that turning to God can help to resolve this enmity.
Biblical Examples of Enmity and Resolution
The Old Testament provides many examples of how enmity can be resolved through faith in God. For example, the story of Abraham and Isaac is a great example of how two brothers, who were in enmity, were able to gain reconciliation through Abraham’s faithfulness to God. The New Testament also speaks of how the enmity between God and humanity was resolved through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Romans 5:8 states: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Finally, in Ephesians 2:14-16, Paul speaks of how the enmity between God and humanity was removed through the work of Jesus Christ: “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of enmity, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.”
Applying Enmity and Reconciliation to Everyday Life
The reconciliation between God and His people and the resolution of enmity is a powerful message that can be applied to everyday life. When we look around our world, we can see how enmity and hatred exist between different groups of people. However, it is important to remember that, just as in biblical times, the grace and mercy of God is available to us in order to resolve our enmity with one another. Through prayer, repentance, and faith we can learn to walk in the light of God’s love in order to resolve our differences.
Making A True Effort to Resolve Enmity
In order to truly resolve enmity, it is important to learn to turn away from sin and to pursue a life of love and forgiveness. Through prayer, scripture reading, and developing a relationship with God we can learn to turn from our sinful ways and instead seek after the Lord’s will. By accepting Christ’s great gift of forgiveness and grace we can learn to forgive one another and turn away from the bondage of the sin.
The Need for Humility in Resolving Enmity
When it comes to resolving enmity, humility is essential. If we come to the table with an attitude of arrogance and pride we will never truly be able to resolve our differences. Instead, it is important to remember that we all need God’s grace and mercy in order to be reconciled with one another. We must come to God with an attitude of humility and thanksgiving in order the be able to truly forgive one another and move on in our relationships.
Learning to Forgive Regardless of Circumstance
Finally, it is important to remember that forgiveness and reconciliation must be offered regardless of the circumstances. In order to truly resolve our differences, we must be willing to lay aside our pride and personal desires and instead rely on God’s grace and mercy to lead us to a place of reconciliation. When we come to God in humility and repentance, He will be able to give us the strength to forgive and move on.