Knowing Our Enemy

In our Adult Sunday School Class we are looking at how to grow in personal holiness. This past week we discussed sin—its origin, nature, and characteristics. Why would we study what sin is and how it impacts us?

First, because it is wise to know your enemy. Growing up playing basketball our team would watch tape of our opponents to learn their tendencies and plays. This would give us an idea of how to defend against them and hopefully beat them. The same is true of sin. If we understand how it seeks to lead us astray we can prepare ourselves for it.

Second, when we look at the pervasiveness of sin it should drive us to the gospel. Left to ourselves, with our sinful nature, there is no hope to defeat sin at all. This foe is beyond any of us, so we must run to Christ with everything we have. In him alone is there hope for salvation.

Below is a list of some of the characteristics of sin we covered. As you read through this list it should be become evident how much you need someone greater than yourself. We are sinners by nature and by choice and this means we are already impacted by these effects of sin:

Sin is hostility toward God

  • Since sin is defined as a failure to meet God’s law and his character, sin is thus hostility to God
  • Sin is cosmic rebellion, it is nothing short of shaking our fists and spitting in the face of the one who made us and sustains us

Sin is also hostility toward others

  • When we sin against others we are showing hostility toward them
  • When we choose to sin against someone we are choosing that sin over loving that person

Sin is deceptive

  • Satan is the great deceiver and sin operates by blinding us to truth, to reality, to ourselves, to others and to God
  • Sin promises us so much like satisfaction, identity, fulfillment, joy, life, freedom but it simply cannot deliver on those promises
  • This deception is powerful because it appeals to our desires and our fallen nature

Sin is death

  • God is the source of life, he even sustains the lives of sinners, but sin is opposed to the very source of life
  • Sin promises life, it promises that we will be like God, but it only delivers death
  • The wages of sin is death, but even now those in Adam, those not in Christ, are spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2.1)
  • In the end sin leads to eternal death of body and soul in hell
  • This means when we choose sin we are choosing death over life
  • Is it no wonder that this world and culture is marked by death?

Sin is slavery

  • Sin promises freedom but it leads to bondage
  • Jesus says in John 8:34, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”
  • Since we all sin, we all are slaves to it 
  • Only Christ can free us from this slavery

Sin is anti-human

  • Man was made in the image of God and we were at that time without sin
  • In the new creation we will be without sin made in the perfect image of the Son of Man
  • This means the initial and final state of mankind is sinless
  • Far from giving us an identity, or a purpose, sin actually destroys the purpose humanity was created for—to be in relation with God
  • Sin is therefore anti true humanity

Sin is madness

  • Sin does not make any sense and it does not align with the reality of God
  • This makes sin crazy as  it fights against the basis of all reality
  • As one goes down the path of sin, a person or a culture, their madness and craziness only increases
  • So much so that God will even hand them over to it as a judgment (Rom. 1-2)

Sin is a foe beyond any of us

  • We are born into this death, this slavery, and yet we love it and choose it for ourselves
  • The impact is we stray from our designed purpose, from God, from reality, and we run toward death and madness
  • There is no strength in man to oppose such an enemy
  • We are in a sense our own worst enemy

Seeing all of this helps to put into perspective how great our savior is. Where we failed, he succeeded. Where we sin, he is holy and perfect. Where we are dead, he chose death so that he might bring eternal life to us. We have given in to sin and death, but He has overcome it. Jesus Christ is the only hope we have to see, to live, to return our original purpose, to be sane, and to be saved. All glory belongs to Christ our Lord who died in the place of sinners and who defeated our enemy by the power of his indestructible life. By better seeing sin we should be able to  turn to Christ with renewed praise, worship, and dependence.