Man's Enmity Against God as a Sovereign is Seen In
Romans 8:7-8
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.…

I. THE BREACH OF GOD'S LAWS. If obedience be a sign of love, disobedience is an argument of hatred (John 15:14). Then in the breach of it all those attributes are despised. This enmity appears in —

1. Unwillingness to know the law of God. Men hate the light, which would both discover their spots and direct their course (Zechariah 7:11; Romans 3:10; Isaiah 28:12; Isaiah 30:10, 11). And when any motion of the Spirit thrusts itself in to enlighten them, they "exalt themselves against the knowledge of God" (2 Corinthians 10:5) and resist the Holy Ghost. Men are more fond of the knowledge of anything than of God's will.

2. Unwillingness to be determined by any law of God. When men cannot escape the convincing knowledge of the law, they set up their carnal resolutions against it (Jeremiah 44:15; Malachi 3:13; Psalm 78:10). Men naturally affect an unbounded liberty, and would not be hedged in by any law (Jeremiah 2:24). Hence man is said to make void the law of God (Psalm 119:126; Matthew 15:6).

3. The violence man offers to those laws which God doth most strictly enjoin, and which He doth most delight in the performance of. The more spiritual the law, the more averse the heart (Romans 7:8, 14). Men will grant God the lip and the ear, but deny Him that which He most calls for, viz., the heart.

4. Hatred to conscience, when it puts a man in mind of God's law. This is evidenced by our stifling it when it dictates any practical conclusions from the law. Now, since men hate their own consciences it is clear that they hate God Himself, because conscience is God's officer in them.

5. Setting up another law in him in opposition to the law of God (Romans 7:23). This men do when they plead for sins as venial, and below God to notice.

6. In being at greater pains and charge to break God's law than is necessary to keep it. How will men rack their heads to study mischief, wear out their time and strength in contrivances to satisfy some base lust, which leaves behind it but a momentary pleasure, attended at length with inconceivable horror, and cast off that yoke which is easy and that burden which is light, in the keeping whereof there is great reward.

7. In doing that which is just and righteous upon any other consideration rather than of obedience to God's will, i.e., when men will obey Him only so far as may comport with their own ends.

8. In being more observant of the laws of men. The fear of man is a more powerful curb to retain men in their duty than the fear of God. What a contempt of God is this; it is to tell God I will break the Sabbath, swear, revile, revel, were it not for the curb of national laws, for all Thy precepts to the contrary.

9. In man's unwillingness to have God's laws observed by any. Man would not have God have a loyal subject in the world. What is the reason else of the persecution of those who would be the strictest observers of God's injunctions?

10. In the pleasure we take to see His laws broken by others (Romans 1:32).

II. IN SETTING UP OTHER SOVEREIGNS IN THE STEAD OF GOD. If we did dethrone God to set up an angel, or some virtuous man, it would be a lighter affront; but to place the basest and filthiest thing in His throne is intolerable.

1. Idols.

2. Self. This is properly the old Adam, the true offspring of the first corrupted man. This is the greatest anti-christ, the great anti-god in us, which sits in the heart, the temple of God, and would be adored as God; would be the chiefest as the highest end (2 Timothy 3:2). Sin and self are all one; what is called a living in sin in one place (Romans 6:2) to self in another (2 Corinthians 5:15).

3. The world. When we place this in our heart, God's proper seat and chair, we deprive God of His propriety, and do Him the greatest wrong (Colossians 3:5). The poor Indians made a very natural and rational consequence, that gold was the Spaniards' god, because they hunted so greedily after it.

4. Sensual pleasures (2 Timothy 3:4). A glutton's belly is said to be his god, because his projects and affections are devoted to the satisfaction of that, and he lays in not for the service of God.

5. Satan. Every sin is an election of the devil to be our lord. As the Spirit dwells in a godly man to guide him, so doth the devil in a natural man, to direct him to evil (Ephesians 2:2, 3). What a monstrous baseness is this, to advance an impure spirit in the place of infinite purity; to effect that destroyer above our preserver and benefactor.


1. In challenging titles and acts of worship due only to God.

2. In lording over the consciences and reasons of others. Whence else springs the restless desire in some men, to model all consciences according to their own wills and their anger.

3. In prescribing rules of worship which ought only to be appointed by God.

4. In subjecting the truth of God to the trial of reason.

5. In judging future events, as if we had been of God's privy council when He first undertook any great action in the world.

6. In censuring others' state (Luke 12:14).

(S. Charnock, B. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

WEB: because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God's law, neither indeed can it be.

Man's Enmity Against God
Top of Page
Top of Page