Yesterday we looked at the first two points that Jonathan Edwards suggested explain how we are God’s enemies. Today we will explore the other ways.

Years ago the great American theologian Jonathan Edwards developed this theme at length. His sermon was entitled “Men Naturally Are God’s Enemies,” and it was based on Romans 5:10 (“For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son. . .”). Most of us, when we take a text like that, focus on the good part—in this case, on the wonder of the death of Christ. Edwards did not go about things in that way. He saw that no one could appreciate the death of Christ, the second part of the verse, until he understood that he was an enemy of God, the first part. So in that discourse he examined how we are God’s enemies until regenerated.

There is a natural connection between the parable of the two sons and the parable of the wicked tenant farmers because each has to do with a vineyard, representing God’s kingdom or church. But there is a progression from the first to the second also. In the first parable the fault of the son who is disapproved is his hypocrisy. He said he would obey but did not. In the story of the tenants the disobedient spirit of the religious leaders is exposed as being so evil that it will result in the murder of the landowner’s son, who is obviously Jesus.

As I noted yesterday, the parable of the two sons is not merely about salvation— that is, of believing on Jesus—but also of Christian service. Christ’s answer is in terms of doing or failing to do the will of the father, rather than other matters.

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.