The Enmity Against God
October 10th, 1954 @ 7:30 PM
THE ENMITY AGAINST GOD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
10-10-54 7:30 p.m.
Tonight, I hope you brought your Bible. And in the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans, tonight speaking of the enmity, the enmity, which is against God. That text is in the seventh verse of the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans. Now, I’m going to read from the third verse; Romans, the eighth chapter, beginning at the third verse:
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin: condemned sin in the flesh,
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Now if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors – not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die; but if ye through the [Spirit] do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Now the seventh verse, and I’ll read the sixth with it, "For to be carnally minded is death,Because," my text, the seventh verse:
the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
The Enmity Against God: where do you suppose you would find it, "the enmity against God"? Well, in searching for the enmity – the deeds of violence and rebellion against God – in searching for the enmity against God, we would find it in the pit of hell. That’s where you’d find it. If you were looking for the enmity against God, you’d go to the pit of hell and there you’d find it. Well that might be right.
If you were looking for the seed of the enmity against God, where would you look for it? You would look for it in the counsels of the inferno. That’s where you’d find it. Well, that might be right. You’d look for it in the counsels of Hades. The enmity against God, the seed of rebellion and wickedness against God, where would you find it? Well, you would find it in the heart of Satan. That’s where you’d find it. The archenemy and arch adversary of all that God stands for, that’s where you’d find it – in the heart of Satan. That’s right.
Well, all of those things, I suppose, are correct. If you seek for the enmity against God in the pit of hell, I guess that’s right. The Bible doesn’t say that, but I guess that’s right. You’d find for it in the counsels of the damned, in the fallen angels. I guess that’s right. The Bible does not say it, but I suppose that’s right. If you’re looking for the enmity against God, you’d find it in the heart of Satan. I guess that’s right. I suppose that’s right.
But what the Bible says is this: the enmity against God is found in the human heart and in the human soul. And isn’t that a terrible thing to discover? And what a colossal thing to have developed on the scene of human history and in the story of human life. The enmity against God is in the human soul, and it’s in the human heart, and it’s in the human life. When you think of how God made the first man, perfect in all of his ways, devout and holy and reverent in all of his attitudes, God’s perfect workmanship [Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7, 15-25]. And look at this text: he is now the enemy of God [Romans 8:6-8]. Ah, the colossal thing that has overwhelmed him and overtaken him.
It’s the same thing as if an ancient Carthaginian had walked through the streets of his beloved city now made heaps of ruins by the Romans, looking upon the heaps of ruins, breaks into tears. Same thing as the Jew who would walk through the street of his beloved Jerusalem today and look upon the Jewish quarter of it – nothing but the most endless, indescribable debris beyond anything that you could ever find in Germany; so destroyed. So the beauty of the beloved city, the joy of the world, marred – same thing.
Some years ago, a star appeared in the sky above the brilliance of any other star that had ever been seen. It has been affirmed since then that that star was a world burning up. It was a world on fire. That’s what happened to us. Our world was destroyed; our house burned down; our humanity was wrecked. The enmity against God is in us. It’s in the human heart.
Do you notice this is a noun here? It is not an adjective – the carnal mind, the mind of the natural man. Is that enmity against God? No, sir. The Bible says the carnal mind is enmity itself against God, the carnal mind. The mind of the natural man is not black. It’s blackness itself. It is not rebellious. It is rebellion itself. It is not wicked. It is wickedness itself. It is not envious. It is envy itself. The essence of sin, what sin is, is found in the human heart! The human heart is enmity against God.
The whole structure of the man God made has fallen. He has fallen in his mind. His mind is wrath. He is fallen in his soul. His soul is destroyed. He has fallen in his life. His life is filled with transgression. He has fallen in his desire, in his heart. The man that God made has fallen, and the sentence upon that man is the sentence of death [Genesis 2:16-17, 3:1-24]. "For to be carnally minded is death," the sixth verse of that eighth chapter [Romans 8:6]. Turn over one page back, "For the wages of sin is death" [Romans 6:23]. Turn the pages backward, and in the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet said: "The soul that sins shall die" [Ezekiel 18:4]. And turn the page back to the beginning, "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die" [Genesis 2:17]. The carnal mind is enmity, enmity itself; is envy itself; is blackness itself; is wickedness itself. The natural man is the enemy of God [Romans 5:6, 10; 1 Corinthians 2:14], and the sentence of God upon that enmity is death – universal, everlasting, eternal death [Romans 5:12-14]. That is the state of the natural, unregenerate man.
Well, do you think a theology like that is ever presented and people not think about it and talk about it and look askance upon it and sometimes seek to refute it? They certainly do. You’ll sit down in any theological library and turn to those books. You’ll find all kinds of things said about the Pauline anthropology – the Pauline presentation of the natural man.
For one thing, for one thing – now you listen: for one thing, there are wonderful theologians, and there are great preachers, and there are mighty philosophers who are gifted in the language of the Book and who know the Christian faith. There are men of great scholarly erudition. There are men of great learning and power. There are men who say that this presentation of the natural man, of humanity, by the Apostle Paul, is not right. It’s not correct. It’s not so. For say they – now listen to what they say: for say they, a man is born good. The soul is born pure. The life is conceived wholly, and a man is a sinner only because he imitates a sinner. A child will be good if you will teach that child goodness. He learns to be a sinner by being taught to be sinful. But by nature we are pure and holy and uncorrupt, and we only become sinners by imitation – by being taught and trained.
Now, the Pauline Theology says that we are born fallen, undone, corrupt, and in sin [1 Corinthians 15:21-22]; that the carnal mind – that is, the natural mind, the mind that we are brought into this world with, that that is the enemy of God. And there are those two things, and they’re opposite. Now, to look at that for a moment with you. Paul says into this world we come with a disposition, with a soul, with a mind, with a body that is already corrupt, already undone, already sinful [Romans 1-3; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 2:13].
They tell me – I’m not an expert on crocodiles, but they tell me that when a crocodile is broken out of its shell, that the minute the little crocodile breaks out of its shell, that it takes a posture of attack and opens its mouth as though it were taught and trained. It’s born that way, a crocodile, to attack and to bite! I see in the paper, often, pictures of little kittens, pretty little kittens. They’re tiger kittens; and while they’re little, bitty tiger kittens, I’ll see in the paper somebody playing with those little kittens. And they’re so fluffy, and they’re so soft, and they’re so nice, and they’re so amusing. But on the inside of that little kitty, kitty, kitty, there’s a tiger heart! And the day will come when there’s nobody in anybody’s house that’d want to play with the pretty little kitty. Born that way with a tiger in its breast! A wolf may be asleep, but it’s still a wolf. A serpent may slumber among the pretty flowers, but it is still a serpent.
And Paul says however in a man’s mind and in a man’s noble life he may reach up and out – he become a poet; he become a philosopher; he become a scientist; he become a scholar – however a man’s mind may reach up and reach out, grasp the stars of the sky, take into his compass the infinitude and the magnitude of God and of space; Paul would say however the man may learn, and however he may give himself to the great revelations of God’s universe, Paul says that he is still depraved and lost and undone! [Romans 2:1-16; 1 Corinthians 1:19-23; 3:18-20; 2 Corinthians 10:5; 1 Timothy 6:20-21; 2 Timothy 2:16].
The stars are not heaven, and the sea is not God [Romans 1:18-25]! Nor does a man achieve his regeneration through scholarly erudition and philosophical learning. They’re lost, still undone.
Could I prove that in our present moment in which we live? You tell me of whom are you the most afraid. Are you the most afraid of one of those typical criminals? Could I describe him? He has a low brow; and his eyes are vicious; and he has a frame like an ape – big heavy arms and hands; and in one pocket he has a blackjack and in the other pocket he has a pair of knuckles; and there on one pant leg he has strapped a pistol, and down another he’s got a blueprint for the robbing of a bank or for the overwhelming of an innocent somebody. Do you ever tremble before people like that? I never give them a thought – never enters my mind – the typical criminal.
But there’s not a single soul in the civilized world today that doesn’t tremble for himself and his city and his country and his nation and his race! Not a single one of us today that doesn’t tremble before that awful and terrible scientist who has discovered the secret of God’s universe. He can take an atom and split it wide open. He can take a uranium atom and use it to bombard a hydrogen atom and use it to explode God’s world! And you tremble in your soul, because he’s smart, because he’s learned, because he’s a scientist, because he knows! But, the mind of man in scholarship is as depraved and wanton as it is when it’s in the brow and the thick skull of a man, heavy-handed with a club or a blackjack or a pistol in his hand [Romans 1-2]. That is the Pauline theology. We are lost, lost, depraved.
"The carnal mind is enmity against God" [Romans 8:7]. That’s the mind of the scholar. It’s the mind of the philosopher. It’s the mind of a businessman. It’s the mind of every man! The unregenerate, natural, carnal mind is enmity against God! That is the Pauline theology.
Now, I want to take one other. We could take a dozen here tonight. These things are things of the world and of God, and they’re mighty things. What about this Pauline anthropology – his doctrine of the carnality of the human mind, the unregenerate man – that he’s a fallen man, a fallen man? All right. Here’s what some of our greatest theologians and scholars and philosophers and teachers say about the Pauline anthropology.
All right, a second thing they say about it: they say that unregenerate and ordinary man – the carnal man, the man of the human race of the human family – they say that these things that happen to us now are periods. And I’m thinking of one tremendous philosopher now as he described it. He said these things that are happening to us now are caused in a great tide; and he says we go down, maybe in the First World War, and he says then we come up higher. And then he says, we’ll have another fall, in the Second World War, and then we come up higher. And he says through all of the generations and through all of time and through the passing of the centuries, mankind is going up. Now it’s going in a trough. It’ll go in a trough like the wave of a tide. It’ll be down, but it comes up; and it never goes down as low as it was, but it goes up and up and up and up. And, of course, the consummation is that some of these days, mankind, in its evolution, will come up and up and up and up until, finally, we’ll not only become angels, but as one of the men I read said, we shall become archangels in the presence of God. And we shall do it through the processes of evolving.
We’re going up and up and up, and these things that we fall into now are mistakes. They are stumblings, but they are stumblings of a humanity that is groping and seeking; and, as a corollary, we are finding and achieving, and some of these days, we shall achieve final and infinite success. Now, that’s what the philosopher says.
The Pauline theology says that however a man may go and whichever way he may turn that he produces. He reproduces himself. And that "himself" is carnality; that "himself" is wickedness; that "himself" is enmity; that, left to himself, man is a fallen creature and reproduces his kind; that the sin in our day and generation shall also be the sin of our children and their generations [Exodus 20:5, 34:7; Numbers 14:18]. And it echoes from soul to soul and generation to generation all through the centuries.
To be carnally-minded is death. "The carnal mind is enmity against God; it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" [Romans 8:7].
Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
The carnal mind sows corruption. The carnal mind reproduces itself. The carnal mind sows carnality, and the carnal mind reaps carnality. The natural man sows the natural man, and the natural man reaps the natural man. There is no such thing, Paul would say, as a carnal man sowing and reaping a spiritual man. There’s no such thing as a sinful generation sowing and giving birth or reaping fruit in a holy generation. That’s the echo and the reproduction of transgression and wickedness and sin is in our day. It was in our father’s day. It’ll be in our children’s day, and there’s no breaking of that vicious circle! According to the law of God, kind reproduces kind. And carnality sown – the human mind, the human life, the human flesh – carnality sown, the unregenerate man sows and reaps its kind, its like – reaps carnality, reaps unregeneration, reaps wickedness, reaps enmity against God [Matthew 7:15-20].
Now, I say that is a law of God in every realm of God’s created universe. It is a law of God in the realm of the vegetable world. If a man were to come to me and he were to say, "Preacher, guess what? I sowed ten acres of wheat, and watermelons came up." And another man were to come to me and he said, "Preacher, guess what? I planted onions, and I reaped turnips." I’d say, "Sir, you are slap, dab crazy! That’s all that’s the matter with you." That’s what I’d tell him, and I’d be right. It’d be a lunatic that’d say a thing like that. That’s the according to the law of God in the vegetable world: kind reproduces kind [Genesis 1:11-12].
The same thing in the animal world: that’s a fixed law of God. Dogs don’t have cats, and cows don’t have horses. According to the fixed law of God, cats have cats, and dogs have puppies, and cows have calves, and horses have colts; and that’s the law of God. That’s the law of God. God made it that way [Genesis 1:21-24; 6:18-20].
Now, that law is the same law in the realm and in the world of our manual skills, our labor. If a man has been taught law, like you, or like – if a man has been taught law, like you, I would not call you if I had to have my gizzard taken out. I would not call you. No, sir. No, sir. I’d call, I’d call Dr. Bagwell. Wouldn’t I? Bagwell. I’d call Dr. Bagwell. That’s right. That’s according to the law of God. The man in his labor, the man in his work, he does according to his kind. His hands are taught how to carpenter, so we don’t look upon him to be a watchmaker. He’s taught law; we don’t look up on him to practice medicine. He’s taught and trained in these things, and that’s his kind.
Now, that is the truth of God in the spiritual world, and that is a terrible and an awful law. It’s true in the spiritual world. What we are, we reap; what we sow is our fruit. Carnality breeds carnality; enmity, enmity; transgression, transgression, and there’s no breaking of that terrible law.
Jacob deceived his father. He took the coat of a kid, took the skin of a kid, and put it on himself; and when his blind father, Isaac, felt of him, he was hairy like Esau, red outdoor Esau. He was a hairy man like Esau. And when the blind father felt of Jacob, he was hairy like Esau, and he said he was Esau; and he stole his brother’s blessing [Genesis 27:1-46]. The years passed, and upon a day, the sons of Jacob came to their father and they said, "We found this coat," and held it up before Jacob their father. It was Joseph’s coat of many colors. And guess what blood dyed it red? It was the blood of a kid. And when Jacob saw it, he said, "A wild beast has slain my son Joseph" [Genesis 37:1-35]. That’s terrible law. David slew a man to hide his transgression; and the prophet said, "And the sword shall never leave thy house" [2 Samuel 11:1-12:23].
Maxentius built a bridge, a fake one, to drown Constantine; and he was drowned himself crossing his fake bridge. Haman built a gallows for Mordecai, but Haman was hanged on Mordecai’s gallows [Esther 5:9-7:10]. Bajazet made a great iron cage in which to place Tamerlane, and Tamerlane took Bajazet and kept him in that iron cage until he died. The emperor Valerian took a band of devout Christian people, put them in a ship, sent them out to sea and burned the ship up! Upon a day, the Gauls invaded his kingdom, he fled to a cottage, and they burned the cottage down. Henry III was stabbed to death in the very same room where he plotted the infamous massacre of the first Protestants. Alexander VI was poisoned by wine that he made for another.
Marie Antoinette, on that gorgeous bridal procession through the streets of Paris to Notre Dame when she was married to the Dauphine, later Louis XVI of France, she gave orders to her soldiers: "Go up and down the procession and put outside and send away all of the ragged and the poor and the crippled. I can’t bear them in my sight." And a few years later, down those same streets was she carried, bound to an executioner’s cart as she walked between lines of granite and stony hearts. I remember Herman Goering say, as they bombed the British and destroyed Coventry and ruined London, I remember Herman Goering say, "But I assure my German people no bomb shall ever fall over the Vaterland."
I don’t know why, but God wills that chain together. Like produces like. The carnal mind reaps carnality. What you sow, you reap [Galatians 6:7].
Let’s be a little different for the moment. A farmer wrote a letter to a newspaper, the county paper, and he said, "I dare you to print this letter." Now this is the letter – what he wrote:
Dear Editor, I plowed my field on Sunday. I planted my crop on Sunday. I cultivated my crop on Sunday. I harvested my crop on Sunday. I sold my crop on Sunday. And the harvest that I reaped and the yield I received and the price that I got was better than anybody else’s, and I did it all on Sunday. I dare you to print this letter.
The next issue of the county came out, and his letter was printed just like he had written it. And underneath, "Editor postscript: God does not always collect His debts the first week in October."
It is an inviolable link, it is an awful chain, this thing of Almighty God. Who breaks it? Who breaks it? "I’ll study, and I’ll break that chain." You’ll study and study and study, but it’s still there welded, hard, and unbroken. "But, I’ll be good. I’ll be good. I’ll break that chain. I’ll reform. I’ll do better. I’ll crawl off of this, and I’ll quit that, and I’ll break that chain!" No, you won’t. Put together by Almighty God, and it’s still there. It’s still there. "Oh, I know what I’ll do. I’ll join the church. I’ll go out here, and I’ll sit at such and such. You put my name on the roll. I want to join the church, and I’ll be a member of a church!" But that awful thing is still there wielded by Almighty God.
What breaks it? What breaks it, that terrible and awful thing, sin and death, sin and death? "To be carnally minded is death" [Romans 8:6]. "If you live after the flesh, ye shall die" [Romans 8:13]. The unregenerate man is doomed. What shall I do, and where shall I turn? Who breaks that awful chain? Who? That is the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans:
There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus . . .
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free
– has broken the chain of –
the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for our sin: condemned sin in the flesh,
– broke that terrible chain –
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us . . .
For they that after the flesh mind the things of the flesh, they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
If you be in Christ, you’re dead to sin, for the Spirit of life is the Spirit of righteousness. And the Spirit of life in a man forever breaks that awful and terrible and welded chain, for the law of the Spirit of life has made me free from the law of sin and death [Romans 8:2].
If I’m going to live, if I’m going to be saved, I can’t do it myself. I cannot. I could never study enough to learn how. I could never be smart enough to achieve. I could never run fast enough to overtake it. I could never be good enough to possess it. The holiest of men are the first to admit their dereliction. The man with the whitest garments is always the first to see the spot on his robe. The man who has the greatest diadem is the first to notice them – the jewels that are lost from his crown. We can’t do it. It comes as a gift of God. It comes from the gracious hand of Jesus.
In my hands no price I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling.
[from "Rock of Ages," by Augustus M. Toplady, 1776]
Can’t save myself; can’t redeem myself; can’t be good enough to climb those rungs of the ladder that reaches to God in the heaven – can’t, Lord; I can’t. In my weakness, in my carnality, in my flesh, in my soul, lost and fallen, Lord, I come to Thee. Master, in my hands place the gift I otherwise could never win. Lord, give me Thy Spirit, Thy grace, Thy abundant salvation. Do it, Lord, do it. And that’s all that it takes, but it takes that. I don’t try, Lord. I turn it over to You. God, You save, and You keep. My hand is open. Place in it the gift. My heart, Lord, wide open; come in, Holy Spirit of Jesus.
And that’s it. That’s it. That’s liberty. That’s freedom. That’s triumph. That is salvation. That’s the gospel. And that’s what we offer in the name of God and the Lord Jesus tonight. Will you take it? "Preacher, I can’t do it myself, but I’ll let Jesus do it for me; and I’ll hide my soul in Him. And here I am, and here I come." Somebody, to put his life in the church, however God shall say the word and open the door. While we make appeal, would you come? Would you make it now? Would you? On the first note of the first stanza, step into the aisle and down here by my side, "Here I am, Pastor, and here I come." Would you do it now? Make it now while we stand and while we sing.
THE EMNITY AGAINST GOD
This terrible things – where is it? Deepest pit of hell? Satan? In us. The human heart – life.
be trust – what man once was, is now.
As if a
Carthaginian look upon his much loved city, laid in heaps by the Romans.
As if a
Jew, wandering thru desolate streets of Jerusalem, lament the marred beauty of
the city once the joy of the whole earth.
Fallen! Revelation 18:2 is
become the habitation of devils. The
hold of every foul spirit and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
ago, a star seen blazing with brilliance, then disappeared, since affirmed, a
world on fire, burned up.
of our house, the destruction of our city, the fall of our nature.
not an adjective.
enmity, but enmity itself.
corrupt but corruption.
rebellion but rebellious.
wicked but wickedness.
structure of mankind fell. Mind, body,
soul, imagination, will, desire.
sentence upon it all is death. Romans
8:6, 7:23, Ezekial 18:4, Genesis 2:17.
Pauline anthropology (of the natural man) has been challenged as an insult to
By nature good, devoted, pure. A
child taught goodness will be good.
Learns to sin by imitation. Paul
says, born corrupt. Will sin, being
never taught it.
Young crocodile when broken from its shell, will in a moment put itself
in a posture of attack, opening its mouth as if taught and trained.
Picture of pits – young lions, tigers.
When kittens so playful. But later –
c. Wolf may sleep, but still a wolf.
slumber in flowers, but still a serpent.
nobility of men acute intellect, vast erudition. Ports, philosopher, scientist.
Enriched by culture, heir to the learning of the ages. Reached to the stars; grasp the magnitude of
time, space. But the stars are not
heave; and space is not God. Still depraved, and do tremble before the
depravity of the learned, carnal heart.
of men first to confess it.
holiest of men first to feel it.
waitest of men first to perceive the spots.
crown shines the brightest..jewel that is lost.
The ultimate issue of human life, nature, endeavor, will be victory,
evolving upward. Paul says, the
ultimate issue of human nature is death.
Romans 8:6,7,13. Galatians
carnal, unregenerate mind reproduces itself-sows and reaps transgression and
law of God. Genesis 1:12,24 “after
expects to reap what he sows. If a man
said: “I sowed 10 acres of wheat
and watermelon came up; sowed cucumber and gathered turnips.” You wouldn’t believe him.
after his hand.
World of training and labor.
hard to learn law – not expect a skilled surgeon.
carpentry – not expect a watchmaker.
World of the spirit, the soul, human life.
deceived his father, skin of a kid.
Jacob, Joseph’s coat in hood of a kid.
slew a man to cover his sin.
sword never leave thy house.”
built gallows for Mordecai.
built a false bridge to drown Constantine, drowned himself.
built an iron cage for Tamulane. In
that iron cage Tamulane carried Bajazet until he died.
filled a ship with Christians, sent it out to sea, burned it. Defeated by Goths, fled to a cottage, burned
of France stabbed to death in same chamber where he plotted cruel massacre of
Antoinette, riding to Notre Dame Cathedral for her marriage to the Dauphin bade
the soldiers command, all cripples, beggars, ragged people leave the line of
procession. Not endure this night. Later, bound in execution in cast through
the streets of same city – the crowds of stone, gravites, on each side.
Goering – England – “Never a bomb shall ever fall on the fatherland.”
terrible law – God not mocked. Romans
8:6. Galatians 6:7,8.
The farmer’s letter to the country paper: “Ploughed on Sunday, saved on Sunday, cultivated on Sunday,
harvested on Sunday, sold on Sunday.
But yield, price of all, dare you print this letter.” Next issue:
printed as he wrote it, with this postscript by the editor: “God does not always collect the first
week in October.”
terrible chain – the flesh, sin, death.
Who can break it? Deliver
us? The answer of the 8th of
of God. The grace of the Lord Jesus
Christ. The new life and nature.