Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.…
I. IN GENERAL.
1. It is to be understood of nature and not of actions only. Every action of a natural man is an enemy's action, but not an action of enmity. And as waters relish of the mineral vein they run through, so the actions of a wicked man are tinctured with the enmity they spring from. Godly men may do an enemy's action, but they are not in a state of enmity. They may fall into sin as a man into a ditch, but they lie not in it. But a natural man is in a state of universal contrariety.
(1) All times. It is Called a "root of bitterness," for while it remains a root, it will remain bitter.
(2) In every sinful act. Though the interest of particular sins may be contrary to one another, covetousness and prodigality cannot agree, but they are all in league against God. As all virtuous actions partake of the nature of love to God; so all vicious actions are tinctured with inward enmity.
(3) Against all the attributes of God. For sin being an opposition to the law of God, is consequently a contrariety to His will, and His understanding, and therefore to all those attributes which flow from His will, as goodness, righteousness, truth; and His understanding, as wisdom, knowledge.
2. This enmity is habitually seated in the mind (Ephesians 2:3; James 3:15). The mind thus infected is like those eminent persons that spread the contagion of their vices to all their attendants. The other faculties, like common soldiers, fight for the prey and booty; but the mind, the sovereign, fights for the superiority, and orders all the motions of the lower rout. There is —
(1) As opposed to desire. Thus man hates God, because he turns from Him. By sin we stand indebted to God, and therefore have an aversion from Him; as debtors hate the sight of their creditors, and are loath to meet them. God's purity is too dazzling for sinful men, and therefore they cannot look upon God, but are like sore eyes that are distempered with the sun.
(2) A detestation opposite to love (Colossians 1:21). This is —
(a) Natural, which we call antipathy. Sin being the greatest evil, is naturally most opposite to God, who is the greatest good. So that God can never be reconciled to sin, or sin to God.
(b) Acquired, which is grounded upon diversity of interests. The interest of a sinner as such consists in gratifying the importunities of his lusts; and the interest of God lies in vindicating the righteousness of His commands. This is either direct (John 15:24) or implicit. Men love not the things that God loves, and therefore may be said to hate Him.
II. IN PARTICULAR —
1. Negatively. We hate not God —
(1) As God. Which is impossible, because God, absolutely considered, hath all the attractives of love; as a man cannot will sin as sin, because it is purely evil, and therefore cannot be the object of the desire. We never yet met with any so monstrously base as to hate a creature as a creature, or man as man; not a serpent as a creature, but as it is venomous.
(2) As Creator and Preserver. Hatred always supposes some injury, or the fear of some; and our hatred doth evaporate when we find our supposed injuries recompensed by benefits. What servant can disdain his master for feeding him? or what child hate his father for begetting and maintaining him?
2. Positively. We hate God —
(1) As a Sovereign. Man cannot endure a superior; he would be uncontrollable (Psalm 12:4; Exodus 5:2). We hate God as a lawgiver, as He prohibits sin (Luke 19:27). It is impossible that man should do otherwise, because it is as natural to us to abhor those things which are troublesome as to please ourselves in things agreeable. The sea foams most, and casts up most mire, when restrained by some rock, or bounded by the shore:(2) As a Judge. Fear is often the cause of hatred. All men have a fear of God, not of offending Him, but of being punished by Him. Corruption kindles this enmity, but fear, like a bellows, inflames it. This hatred of God is stronger or weaker, according as the fear is, and therefore in hell it is in its meridian and maturity.
(3) In His very being. When this fear rises high, or men are under a sense of punishment. All men are actuated by a principle of self-preservation, and when men look upon God as a punisher of their crimes, if they could, by the undeifying of God, rescue themselves from those fears, there is self-love and enmity enough against God in them to quicken them to it. Did none of you ever please yourselves in the thoughts how happy you should be, how free in your lustful pleasures, if there were no God? Now all hatred includes a virtual murder. If he who hates his brother is a murderer, he that hates God is a murderer of God. Man would have God at the greatest distance from him, and there is no greater distance from being than not being (Job 21:14; Psalm 14:1).
(S. Charnock, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.