Can you explain “enmity?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

The word “enmity” appears eight times in six passages in the King James text. As you might have guessed, it is etymologically related to “enemy,” both derived from the Latin “inimicus” (literally, “not friend”). “Enmity” can be generally defined as “a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism.” Look at the following references and light commentary to see how this concept is presented in the Holy Bible:

  • Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Here described is the spiritual battle between what God is doing with man, and what Satan is doing with man. Ultimately, Jesus Christ will take on human flesh to defeat Satan, but Satan will cause God’s Son great suffering at Calvary.
  • Numbers 35:20-23: “[20] But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die; [21] Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him. [22] But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or have cast upon him any thing without laying of wait, [23] Or with any stone, wherewith a man may die, seeing him not, and cast it upon him, that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm:….” These regulations in the Law of Moses distinguish between murder (premeditated killing) and manslaughter (any accidental taking of life). Notice how verse 23 links the words “enmity” and “enemy.”
  • Luke 23:12: “And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.” Pontius Pilate was a Roman governor of Judaea; King Herod Antipas was an Idumean (Arab) who dabbled in Judaism (Jewish religion). They were greatly different from each other religiously, politically, nationally, et cetera. Yet, their hatred for Jesus Christ eventually united them, outweighing their dislike for each other!
  • Romans 8:7: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Victorious Christian living is impossible for any believer in Christ who thinks like a “carnal” (fleshly) man, a “lost” man (2 Corinthians 4:3-4), or a “natural” man (1 Corinthians 2:14). That sinful mindset is opposed to the renewed mind Father God has given us in Christ (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:1-11).
  • Ephesians 2:15-16: “[15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:….” The animosity between Jew and Gentile in “time past” (see verses 11-12) has been done away because of the formation of the Church the Body of Christ in the “but now” (see verses 13-22; also read into chapter 3). Whereas Jews and Gentiles were once at odds with each other, so diametrically opposed to each other, they can currently become one group of believers by trusting Paul’s Gospel of Grace: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This Good News of uniting believing Jews and believing non-Jews will result in a body of saints who would have otherwise never been in fellowship to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • James 4:4: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” This runs along the lines of Romans 8:7, which see above. First John 2:15-17 adds: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” As long as any saints of any age (time period) set their affection and adoration on “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4), they are associating with the Devil when they should be communing with the Lord (cf. Ephesians 2:1-3).

Also see:
» Can you explain, “Standing against the blood of thy neighbour?”
» What does “suborned” mean in Acts 6:11?
» What does “kicking against the pricks” mean?