Technically, there is only one enemy: the devil, Satan, the enemy of God. Originally, he was the archangel of God, whom God placed as the leading authority in the universe. But he became proud and rebelled against God. As God’s enemy and as our enemy, Satan attacks us in different ways and we need to take different measures to fight the different attacks.
Revelation 12:8 And the great dragon was cast down, the ancient serpent, he who is called the Devil and Satan, he who deceives the whole inhabited earth; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him
“Satan” is the Hebrew word for adversary. Satan is the devil (the accuser). He takes the lead to accuse us before God day and night. He is constantly asking God to allow him to attack us in our outward situations, and God, in His sovereignty, gives the devil a certain amount of leave to attack us, because God knows exactly which circumstances that we need in order to turn to Him and gain Him.
Romans 7:11 For sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me
When man ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a satanic element came into man. We, as men, are created as containers. We were intended to contain God, but the wrong element came into us. This element is sin. It is not a benign element; on the contrary, it actively works within us to try to deceive us and to turn us away from Christ. We commit sins, which is just to say that we do things that do not match who God is, because we are sinners. Romans 7 speaks a lot about the law of sin and of death. This means that although there always an intention in us to do good (because God created us as good people), we feel compelled to do bad things anyway. This is the active working of sin within us.
John 12:31 Now is the judgement of this world; now shall the ruler of the world be cast out.
What is the world? The world is the satanic system created to entrap and ensnare us. The problem with the world is that it often appears to be very good. Religion, for instance, is a part of the world. Man has a very real need to be entertained, to be fed, to be clothed, and to live a normal life. But Satan has used these things to create a system that supposedly gives us what we need. But the things in the world never satisfy us because God intended to satisfy us with Himself, and nothing and no one else can do so. So what is the world for us personally? The world is anything that takes God’s place in our life.
Romans 7:18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but to work out the good is not.
The world and Satan are fully outside of us. Sin is in us, but it is still not a part of us. But the flesh is a part of us. The flesh is the part of our being that is fallen and allies itself with Satan, the world, and sin. When God created man, He intended that the leading part of man would be his spirit. But when Eve chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the soul deserted its proper function and joined itself to the body. This became the flesh, and it is out greatest problem.
So how can we fight against all of these enemies? Tune in next week, because that will be the topic that I write about.