Man's Enmity Against the Attributes of God
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.…

Against —


1. In sinning under a pretence of religion. Many resolve upon some ways of wickedness, and then rake the Scripture to find out at least excuses for, if not a justification of their crimes. Many that have wrung estates from the tears of widows and heart blood of orphans, think to wipe off all their oppression by some charitable legacies at their death. It is abominable when men sin for God's glory.

2. In charging sin upon God.

3. In prescribing rules of worship, which ought only to be appointed by God (Genesis 3:12; Genesis 4:9; 2 Samuel 11:35). If we find a way to lay our sins at God's door, we think then to escape His justice. But it is a foolish consideration; for if we can fancy an unholy God, we have no reason to think Him a righteous God.

3. In hating the image of God's holiness in others. He that hates the picture of a prince hates the prince also. He that hates the stream hates the fountain; he that hates the beams hates the sun.

4. In having debasing notions of the holy nature of God. God made man according to His own image, and we make God according to ours. It is a question which idolatry is the greatest, to worship an image of wood or stone, or to entertain monstrous imaginations of God. It provokes a man when we liken him to a dog or a toad.

5. In our unworthy and perfunctory addresses to God. God is so holy, that were our services as refined and pure as those of the angels, yet we could not serve Him suitably to His holy nature (Joshua 24:19); therefore we deny this holiness when we come before Him without due preparation.

6. In .defacing the image of God in our own souls (Ephesians 4:24).


1. In slighting the laws of God. Since God hath no defect in His understanding, His will must be the best and wisest; therefore they that make alteration in His precepts practically charge Him with folly.

2. In defacing the wise workmanship of God. The soul, the image of God, is ruined and broken by sin. If a man had a curious clock which had cost him many years' pain and the strength of his skill to frame, for a man to break it would argue a contempt of the workman's skill.

3. Censuring His ways (Isaiah 45:9; Job 40:2). A reproof argues a superiority in authority, knowledge, or goodness.

4. Prescribing rules and methods to God (Jonah 4:1; Luke 2:48).


1. In secret thoughts of meriting by any religious act. As though God could be indebted to us, and obliged by us. In our prosperity we are apt to have secret thoughts that our enjoyments were the debts God owed us, rather than gifts freely bestowed upon us. Hence it is that men are more unwilling to part with their righteousness than with their sins, and are apt to challenge salvation as a due, rather than beg it as an act of grace.

2. Trying all ways of helping ourselves before we come to God. Having hopes to find that in creatures which is only to be found in an all-sufficient God.

3. In our apostasies from God. When, after fair pretences and devout applications, we grow cold and thrust Him from us, it implies that God hath not that fulness in Him which we expected.

4. In joining something with God to make up our happiness. Though men are willing to have the enjoyment of God, yet they are not content with Him alone, but would have something else to eke Him out; as though God had not in Himself a sufficient blessedness for His creatures, without the additions of anything else. The young man in the gospel went away sorrowful because he could not enjoy God and the world both together (Matthew 19:21, 22). If we would light up candles in a clear day, what do we imply but that the sun has not light enough in itself to make it day l


1. When we commit sin upon the ground of secrecy.

2. When men give liberty to inward sins. God "trieth the heart, and searcheth the reins." Manasseh is blamed for setting up strange altars in the house of God; much more may we for setting up strange imaginations in the heart, which should belong to God. Hypocrisy is a plain denial of His omnisciency. Are we not more slight in the performance of private devotions before God than we are in our attendances in public in the sight of men.

3. When men give way to diversions in a duty. It wrongs the majesty of God's presence that when He speaks to us we will not give Him so much respect as to regard Him; and when we speak to Him we do not regard ourselves. What a vain thing is it to be speaking to a scullion when the king is in presence t Every careless diversion to a vain object is a denial of God's presence in the place.


1. In the severe and jealous thoughts men have of God. Men are apt to charge God with tyranny, whereby they strip Him of the riches of His glorious mercy. The worship of many men is founded upon this conceit, whereby they are frighted into some actions of adoration, not sweetly drawn. We hate what we fear.

2. Slighting His mercy and robbing Him of the end of it. The wilful breaking of the prince's laws, upon the observance whereof great rewards are promised, is not only a despising his sovereignty, but a slighting his goodness. Often this enmity rises higher; and whereas men should fear him, they rather presume to sin (Romans 2:4; Ecclesiastes 8:11).


1. In not fearing it, but running under the lash of it.

2. In sinning under the strokes of justice. Men will roar under the stroke, but not submit to the striker.

3. In hoping easily to evade it (Psalm 50:21; Psalm 10:11).

(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 as a Sovereign is Seen In
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