16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Sharp men are jewels when their sharpness is of the order prescribed by Christ-
There is sharpness enough in the world, but unmixed with the dove element, it turns to diabolism, to man's distress.
Bro Roberts - Second Voyage to Australia
Subtle as serpents
...if we affirm, that he obtained his knowledge by observation -- by the use of his eyes and ears upon things transpiring around him -- then we confirm the words of Moses, that he was the shrewdest of the creatures the Lord God had made.
"Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree?"
This question shows that he was aware of some exceptions. He had heard of the Tree of Knowledge and of the Tree of Lives, which were both in the midst of the garden. He had heard the Lord Elohim, and the other Elohim, conversing on their own experience of good and evil; and, of the enlightenment of the man and woman in the same qualities through the eating of the Tree of Knowledge; and of their living for ever, if obedient, by eating of the Tree of Life.
In reasoning upon these things, he concluded that, if they did eat of the forbidden fruit, they would not surely die; for they would have nothing more to do than to go and eat of the Tree of Life, and it would prevent all fatal consequences.
Therefore he said, "Ye shall not surely die." The Lord God, it is evident, was apprehensive of the effect of this reasoning upon the mind of Adam and his wife; for He forthwith expelled them from the garden, to prevent all possibility of access to the tree, lest they should eat, and put on immortality in sin.
The reasoning of the serpent operated upon the woman by exciting the lust of her flesh, the lust of her eyes, and the pride of life. This appears from the testimony. An appetite, or longing for it, that she might eat it, was created within her. The fruit also was very beautiful. It hung upon the tree in a very attractive and inviting manner.
"She saw that it was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes."
But, there was a greater inducement still than even this. The flesh and the eyes would soon be satisfied. Her pride of life had been aroused by the suggestion, that by eating it their eyes would be opened; and that she would be "made wise" as the glorious Elohim, she had so often seen in the garden.
To become "as the gods;" to know good and evil as they knew it -- was a consideration too cogent to be resisted. She not only saw that it was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, but that it was "a tree to be desired as making one wise" as the gods; therefore "she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat." Thus, as far as she was concerned, the transgression was complete.
Elpis Israel 1.3.
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
"whosoever shall confess in me before men, in HIM will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven;" and "whosoever shall confess in me before men, the Son of Man also will confess in him before the angels of the Deity."
36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
This is the way the Prince of Peace spoke when on earth. The doctrine He taught is distasteful to the natural mind, and, by the purity of its principles, and astonishing nature of its promises, excites the enmity and incredulity of the flesh. Loving sin and hating righteousness, the carnal mind becomes the enemy and persecutor of those who advocate it. The enmity on the part of the faithless is inveterate; and where they have the power, they stir up war even at the domestic hearth.
If the believer will agree to be silent, or to renounce his faith, there will then be "peace and love" [Jude 2; cf 2 Cor. 13:11] such as the world, that "loves its own," [see John 15:19] is able to afford. But the true believers are not permitted to make any compromise of the kind. They are commanded to
"contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3);
and so long as they do this, they may lay their account with tribulation of various kinds.