ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST
When Paul wrote to the saints at Philippi (Philippians 1:1), he reminded them that many who walk are “the enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Philippians 3:18). Verse 19 describes them, saying, (1) “whose end is destruction”; (2) “whose god is their belly”; (3) “whose glory is their shame”; and (4) “who mind earthly things.)” Paul reminded the saints that “our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” (Verse 20). Verse 21 contrasts what Jesus can do as opposed to what these “enemies of the cross of Christ” cannot do.
Jesus described His enemies as “those…which would not that I should reign over them.” (Luke 19:27). These enemies are described in Matthew 13:25 as those who “sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” Jesus put forth the parable of the tares (Matthew 13:24, 25, 36), proclaiming, “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom;” (Verses 37, 38). He said, “the tares are the children of the wicked one.” “The enemy that sowed them is the devil;” (Verse 39). It is clear that the devil is the enemy of the cross of Christ. The tares are the servants of the devil, and they attempt to hinder and disrupt the good seed and plants. They will be gathered up and burned at the end of the world. (Verses 40-42; 25:30, 41, 46). One may easily see that all who serve the devil are enemies of the cross of Jesus. All who have not obeyed the gospel (Romans 10:16) are under the influence of Satan, and are “a disobedient and gainsaying people.” (Verse 21). Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, p. 50, describes gainsayers, “to speak against…contradict” and particularly, in verse 21, “to oppose one’s self to one, decline to obey him, declare one’s self against him, refuse to have anything to do with him.”
“The saints and faithful brethren in Christ…at Colossee” (Colossians 1:1) were reminded that they “were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works.” (Verse 21). They were enemies of the cross of Christ, because they were following their father the devil. (John 8:44). However, they had repented and turned from Satan to God. Borrowing Paul’s words to the saints at Rome, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17, 18). We ought to be thankful when people stop sinning, and begin to live righteously. These Colossian saints had been reconciled to God. The gap between man and God due to man’s sin had been bridged. Cf. Isaiah 59:1, 2. They were no longer hopelessly and helplessly lost (Romans 6:23). Due to the love from above (Romans 5:6-10), when one obeys Jesus (Hebrews 5:8, 9), believing in Him (John 3:16; 8:24), repenting of sin (Acts 3:19), confessing the Deity of Jesus (Acts 8:370, and being baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:1-5; 1 Corinthians 12:13), sins are forgiven, and one is saved.
Prior to salvation, all are enemies of the cross of Christ, “murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.” (Jude 16). Verses 18, 19 further describe them as “mockers…who…walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate them-selves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” Others had been dishonest, walking in craftiness, handling the word of God deceitfully, blinded. (2 Corinthians 4:2-4). 2 Peter 3:3ff speaks of scoffers, walking after their own lusts, questioning the second coming of Jesus, being willingly ignorant of God’s creation, the end of the world, and the beginning of the new heaven and earth.
“He that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth”, John 12:35), “because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” ( 1 John 2:11).
Who are a few of the present day enemies of the cross of Christ? First, like those at Antioch who “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel”, they may walk disorderly (2 Thessalonians 36), that is, not according to God’s order. Second, Jesus said some “shall deny me before men.” Matthew 10:33). Atheists, infidels, agnostics, and the like (Psalm 14:1; 53:1), are unquestionably in this class. There are a number of people in the pulpits who by their erroneous doctrines place themselves in these camps. Some deny the Genesis account of creation (Genesis 1; 2), in spite of the abundance of many infallible proofs of such. Jesus said of these people, “him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33; 2 Timothy 2:12). Third, some “profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, becoming abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” (Titus 1:16). These people place other things before the will of God, becoming idolatrous people who refuse to obey God, and become castaways or worthless. Fourth, some, like Peter, may say of Je-sus, “I do not know the man.” (Matthew 26:69-75; Again, read 10:9, 10). Fifth, there are others who deny the faith. (1 Timothy 5:8). This writer has heard some make the remark, “They teach that where I go, but I do not see anything wrong with it.” Sixth, some even deny that Jesus is the Christ in spite of the number of times He is proclaimed to be such in the word of God. For example, Matthew 1:1, 16, 18, and many more. 1 John 2:22 says, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is anti-Christ, that denieth the Father and the Son.” Seventh, Jesus is the anointed Messiah (Acts 4:27; John 1:41; 4:25), in spite of current day deniers. Eighth, there are those, like the Galatians, who are removed from the true gospel to a false, vain, man-made doctrine. (Galatians 1:6-9; Matthew 15:7-9). Ninth, consider the names given to many churches today. Write the names you see, and, using a good Bible concordance, see how many you can find. Cf. 1 Peter 4:11.
God’s plan for redeeming man has been totally changed to fit what man thinks. For example, the Jews on Pentecost who were convinced that they had murdered the Son of God, asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). They were NOT told to “believe only.” Neither were they told to “Say the sinner’s prayer.” Nor were they told, “Nothing! It has already been done for you and finished on the cross.” Peter, preaching “the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), “began to speak…as the Spirit gave him utterance”, and he answered, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins,….” (Acts 2:38). One can read of the need to have faith (John 3:16), but not “faith only”, except in James 2:24, where it says, “not by faith only.” (See also. Verses 14, 17, 20, and 26). Jesus had sent the apostles forth to preach belief AND baptism to be saved. (Mark 16:16). We see, therefore, that belief, repentance, and baptism were answers given by Jesus and His faithful preachers and teachers in answer to what they must do to be saved. Acts 8:35-39 inform us of one other thing that is necessary to salvation. When the Ethiopian eunuch said, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?”, he was told, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” “He answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Immediately, “he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water,….” One who does what these inspired accounts teach will believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, repent of sins, confess one’s faith, and be buried in baptism, at which point one will be freed from sin (Romans 6:1-5, 17, 18), and added (Acts 2:41, 47) to the church (Acts 2:41, 47; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:22, 23) of Christ. (Romans 16:16; Matthew 16:13-19).
Some claim that the church is unimportant, then wonder why people are ceasing to attend their services. Why would Jesus die to build something that is unnecessary? (Matthew 16:13-19; Ephesians 5:25; Acts 2). “He is the savior of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23). This requires one to be in the church to be saved, making it most important! The church or kingdom is where Jesus would commune with His disciples (Matthew 26:29), and does. (1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:17-34). Important? Yes! Very much so!
Beloved, search the scriptures (John 5:39; Acts 17:10-12) to know what is right, and obey the same so that you are not an enemy of the cross.