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Am I the Enemy of the Cross?

October 8th, 2011 by Oleg Kostyuk

Two verses of the Bible specifically strike me. They are found in Philippians 3:18,19:

“For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things” (NASB).

What do these two verses really mean? Who are these enemies of the cross?

I always thought that only atheists, skeptics and other “non-Christians” can be the enemies of the cross. But, let us take a closer look at the texts.

The word “enemies” occurs only in 3:18. But, in Philippians 1:15-17 we discover the group of people who can also be identified with the enemies of Christ: “Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love… the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives” (NASB). The Christian missionaries of 1:15-18 who preach and proclaim Christ are the same as the enemies of the cross of Christ of 3:18.

How could one set of missionaries be both preachers of the cross and its enemies? How could those in 1:15 who proclaim Christ also be the evil workers and, worst of all, the enemies of Christ’s cross?

Paul was famous and successful in his preaching and in his church planting. He was a great leader also. The enemies of the cross of Christ wanted the fame Paul had, but they did not want the suffering that was built into loving and hard ministry. They preached Christ but not in a holy way they forgot about the cross.

Let me tell you, this passage is not even about the envy, but about the Cross of Christ. If we remember the Cross of Christ, there is no place for envy!

And if we cling to that “old rugged cross”, then the following will be said about us:

It was the cross, that instrument of shame and torture, which brought hope and salvation to the world. The disciples were but humble men, without wealth, and with no weapon but the word of God; yet in Christ’s strength they went forth to tell the wonderful story of the manger and the cross, and to triumph over all opposition. Without earthly honor or recognition, they were heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence that shook the world.[1]

I pray, we choose the Cross of Christ!

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[1] Ellen G. White, Acts of the Apostle, p. 77.

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2 Responses to “Am I the Enemy of the Cross?”

  1. On July 11, 2016 at 8:35 pm Cb responded with... #

    The passage notes that christ wanted Paul’s fame? I think there is an error here.

    • On July 13, 2016 at 9:11 am Sergio Gonzalez responded with... #

      Thanks for pointing that out, this was the result of a typo, which has been fixed. Thanks for your message!

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