In yesterday's study, we began a discussion of Jonathan Edwards' statement that we are God's enemies in several ways. First, we are enemies in our judgments. The second way in which we show that we are enemies of God is in the natural relish of our souls. Third, Edwards says that people are enemies of God in their wills. That is, the will of God and their wills are set at cross purposes to each other. What God wills, they hate. What God hates, they desire, Edwards says that is why they are so opposed to God's government. They are not God's loyal subjects, as they should be, but are opposed to his rule in this world. Their whole desire is expressed by the psalmist: "Let us break [God's] chains, and throw off [his] fetters" (Psalm 2:3).

Years ago the greatest theologian this country has ever produced, Jonathan Edwards, wrote a discourse that developed this theme at length. It was entitled "Men Naturally Are God's Enemies” and 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.

As we noted in yesterdays study, Christ’s hearers could not have had any doubt in their minds that he was speaking of them and of those who had responsibility for their spiritual development. That fact tempts us to dismiss the parable as applying only to them and therefore not to ourselves. But let us say at the start that if that is the way we are interpreting Christs remarks, we are misreading him utterly, Jesus told the story in that Way because he was speaking to Jews. But would he not have made it equally pointed if he were telling it to us? He may have used another image we do not know what it might have been, Or he might simply have said that We, too, may be compared to vines, as Israel was. Has he not planted Americans in our land? Has he not fenced us in has he not watered and cared for us? Has he not built a watchtower? Has he not sent tenants to care for us and present our choice fruits to him when he returns for them? Of course he has, Yet we have not been faithful, any more than Israel was faithful.

The first of Christs great parables of judgment, which we looked at last week, shakes us out of our lethargy. It was meant to demolish presumption. In that parable Jesus taught that unless there has been a noticeable change in our lives, so that we now forgive others as we have been forgiven, we dare not assume that we have been born again even if we can give the right verbal answers to biblical questions. We are not saved by a transformed life; but if we have been saved by the mercy of God in Christ received through faith alone, transformation will follow as surely as spring follows winter or day follows night.

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.