You need to make sure that you are not an enemy of the cross. There are dire consequences.
Let me explain from Philippians 3:18-21. This passage teaches us the difference between enemies of God (or the cross) and citizens of the kingdom of heaven.
Some walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. They have enmity with, are in opposition to the cross of Christ–not just that they don’t like it or just refuse to accept the message of the cross, but enemies conveys that they are actively opposing the message of the cross.
What is the message of the cross? It is at least:
- the shed blood of Jesus Christ;
- the forgiveness of our sin;
- the breaking of the bondage to sin;
- the release from eternal torment and damnation apart from Christ;
- the fullness of life on this earth, filled with hope and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
And yet, some live in opposition to this! Philippians 3:19 describes the enemy of the cross.
Their end is destruction.
This makes sense because the cross represents the release from eternal torment. If you live as an enemy to the cross of Christ, then you are heading down a road to destruction.
Instead of destruction, though, Jesus made a better way: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)
Their god is their belly and they glory in their shame.
Belly is a way to refer to appetites/desires of a person. Those who live as enemies of the cross are letting their desires take the place of God. “They glory in their shame” can be understood in at least a couple ways:
They glory or boast in things they should be ashamed of.
We see this today:
- The high school student bragging about girls he slept with;
- The drunkard celebrating his activities from the past weekend;
- People not only engaged in sinful behavior but parading it around.
They improperly boasted in glorious things
Some commentators think this passage refers to those who claimed to be associated with God but truly were not. They lived under the law and found their worth there.
Some Bible translations say “their glory is their shame.” The understanding is that they were boasting in things like circumcision and dietary laws they followed—things that would have been to their glory as the people of God—but because of how they spoke about it or because of their pride, they were actually shaming themselves.
Their minds are set on earthly things.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? The enemy of the cross doesn’t have an eternal perspective, so they can only set their minds on earthly things. Life is all about their desires, and the current situation becomes life or death to them because they have no other framework from which to evaluate it.
This is the life of an enemy of the cross. Does it describe you? If so, the good news that God has graciously allowed you to be a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. The next post will describe how that status affects your life.