A Very Good Reason for Christians to Love Their Enemies

Man is at enmity with God (Rom 5:10). The natural man hates God (Rom 1:30; 1 Cor 2:14), and he tries to suppress the truth about God (Rom 1:18) because God exposes man for being evil (Gen 6:5; Jn 3:19; Eph 5:11). Not only did God do this by giving man the Law of God, but then He sent His only begotten Son (Jn 3:16), the Law keeper without sin (Heb 4:15; 7:26). Men hated Jesus (Jn 7:7) and those who followed Him (Jn 15:18–19).

Jesus’ followers are called, “Christians (Acts 11:26).” Christians are born in the flesh as sons of Adam, sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2). Lost in a world of sin, it is the prerogative of the Holy Spirit to find Christ’s wayward sheep. Intermingled with reprobate unbelievers, the Spirit fills a preacher of the Gospel and directs his beautiful feet to the place of God’s choosing. The man of God has the ministry tasks of prayer and proclaiming Jesus Christ (Acts 6:4; Col 1:28), as Savior and Lord of all (Acts 10:36).

As ambassadors for Christ, believers endeavor to reconcile men to God (2 Cor 5:18–20). They plead and persuade the enemies of God, everywhere, to repent of their sins and turn to Christ in faith (Acts 17:30). The result of their labors is mixed. The field is ripe for harvest (Jn 4:35), but there are both weeds and wheat. God planted the wheat, but the enemy has sowed the tares (Mt 13:25–26).

In God’s predetermined plan (Acts 2:23), the weeds would grow up with the wheat and only when the final day of the harvest arrives does the separation occur (Mt 13:27). The wheat will be gathered and saved, while the tares will be gathered and burned (Mt 13:40).

The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19). Some people belong to Christ (1 Cor 3:23), and some people do not belong to Him (Jn 10:26). Those who belong to Christ were bought for a price (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23). They were purchased with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet 1:19), in His subsitutionary death on the cross (Lev 16; 1 Pet 2:24), where He demonstrated His love for His bride (Rom 5:8; Eph 5:25), His church (Mt 16:18), the Israel of God (Is 49:6; Gal 6:16).

While we were still enemies, Christ loved us and gave Himself for us, in laying down His life (Jn 10:11, 15). Having died in union with Christ (Rom 6:1–11), Christians are raised to new life in Him. From death to life, the believer now joins in the sufferings of Christ and lays down his life for the sake of others (1 Jn 3:16–17). Jesus taught His disciples to love their enemies, praying for them and doing good to them (Mt 5:43–44; Lk 6:27, 35).

The Christian sacrifice, for the benefit of others who are enemies of God, is for them to experience the same kindness the believer received while still an enemy (Rom 2:4; 11:22). The goodness and kindness of God has a powerful effect. But who will believe our report that God is good and compassionate toward those who are suffering in this sinful world?

The Christian is not omniscient. He does not know who is elect and redeemed, but he knows the ministry entrusted to him as a stewardship. He tells others of his wonderful Savior. Some believe and others do not. The Christian suffers for the sake of the elect (2 Tim 2:10), that is, until Christ is formed in those who hear and believe. Like the Apostle Paul, they grieve the evil they inflicted on Christ’s church before conversion, but they now serve with gladness, in response to God’s mercy and grace.

Christians venture into enemy territory when they go out into all the world (Mt 28:19–20; Acts 1:8). The mission is to reconcile lost sinners to King Jesus (Rom 5:11; 2 Cor 5:18–20). His excellencies are made known to others. What Christ did for us, while we were enemies, is the motive for us to demonstrate love for our neighbors, many of whom are still enemies of God.

By loving our enemies, in the manner of Christ, we serve God as did Jesus. By preaching Jesus Christ to His enemies, we speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), so that they might come to have peace with God. We pursue peace with all men that they might know the love of God in Christ Jesus (Ps 34:14; Rom 14:19; Heb 12:14). Peace with God positions the Christian as a blessed peacemaker for others to have the same peace that passes all understanding (Mt 5:9; Phil 4:7).

The result of our attempt at loving our enemies, the enemies of God and Christ, may result in the likeness of burning coals to be upon their head (Rom 12:20), but that is only their seared conscience reaping havoc for those who despise the love and truth of God shown to them (1 Tim 4:1–3; Heb 6:4–6).

The cost in loving others as Christ loved them can be high (Mt 5:10–12; Heb 10:32–36); but our God supplies all we need for a life of ministry in this world, for every good work prepared for us beforehand (2 Cor 9:8, 11; Eph 2:10).

Our eternal investments, to be made with the resources God has entrusted to us, are never made in vain (Mt 10:42; Mk 9:41; Lk 16:9). It only matters that we use what has been our blessing, to bless others, knowing that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

Have you been spent while in service to Jesus? He is able to make grace abound to you again and again. Give and it shall be given unto you, and that may be the joy of welcoming an enemy into the church of Christ, the true friend of sinners.

David Norczyk

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

February 3, 2021

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher