ENEMIES OF THE CROSS Philippians 3:1-21
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” (v8)
Paul turns the attention of the Philippians from himself and those like him who are passionately pursing the things of God, to warn them about those who are on another path altogether. He identified them as dogs. (v2) Why did he describe them so? Perhaps these people, like some in Corinth, were engaging in over indulgences with food and shameful sexual conduct, falsely believing that such physical appetites could be indulged without damage to their spiritual life. Or perhaps they were simply opting for an easy-going version of the gospel rather than embracing the true gospel, which calls for long-haul discipleship marked by the cross in order to live life like Jesus. Neither the Script of the story of Jesus’ humble and self-giving servanthood nor that of Paul’s renunciation of all things for Jesus’ sake has any role for self-seeking stardom. One thing is sure. It’s extremely sobering to realize that anyone believing in Jesus Christ might be an enemy of the cross. Yet it seems there are such individuals among us. Those who emphasise triumphalism to the exclusion of suffering service, those who bypass the atonement and encourage attempt to reach heaven through self-effort, those who put happiness ahead of holiness, are “enemies of the cross.” It would be good to pause and remind ourselves that any reduction of Jesus’ gospel marks us as being not one of His friends but one of His enemies. A sobering thought indeed.
PRAYER LINE: Help me, Lord, not to temper with the truth. Let nothing ever bring me to that point in Jesus’ Name.
Faith steps in when pride steps out. (EDWJ)