Jesus saves from the true enemy

Published 8:36 pm Friday, May 5, 2017

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

Recently I was talking with a friend who was describing how he deals with conflict in marriage. He said, “You have to keep reminding yourself, ‘This woman is not my enemy.”

That’s wise advice, for husbands and wives! Indeed, your spouse is not your enemy, but you do have an enemy. Ephesians 6:9-10 tells us to put on the full armor of God, that we might stand against the schemes of the devil. He is the real enemy.

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In the Bible, we are first introduced to him in Genesis 3. There, he proves to be exactly as Jesus describes him to be in John 8:44 — “a liar and the father of lies.” He says to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1) In reality, God had told Adam and Eve, “You may eat of every tree in the garden.” (Genesis 2:16) That is, every tree but the one that would harm them.

You see, God’s commands are always for our good. They protect us from harm. God has given us all good things to enjoy. Sin happens when we turn away from those good things to partake in things that will harm us, because they are outside of God’s will.

As God says in Jeremiah 2:13, “For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” In other words, when we sin we are choosing to turn away from a fountain of living water to drink from a toxic stream. The stream seems enticing, but it brings death.

And guess what? All of us have dipped our cup into that stream and drank from it. We are all sinners, and sin brings death. But here is good news: God is a God of grace, and he offers us forgiveness and life.

After sinning, what did Adam and Eve do? They “hid” from God. But what does God do? God seeks them out. Jesus said that he came “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

By the end of Genesis 3, we have the first promise of what Jesus will eventually do, as God says to the serpent, “He will crush your head, but you will strike his heel.” Satan will eventually strike the heel of Jesus at the cross. Jesus will be inflicted with the venom of our sins. But Satan’s strike will not be mortal — Jesus was raised to life!

By contrast, Jesus will “crush the head” of the serpent. It will be a mortal blow. Evil and death will die, and Jesus and the eternal life he brings will reign. Jesus will return and rule in a new creation. In the meantime, he is making new creations out of people who trust in him. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Have you experienced the forgiveness of sins and the new life that Jesus brings? His heart of love is open to you.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.