Monday, March 8, 2010

Philippians 3:17-21 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

In Philippians 3 the enemies of the cross of Christ are noted by four characteristics. First, they are those whose end is destruction. These enemies have as their final end the destruction prepared by God for all unbelievers. This does not refer to extinction or a time of completion of suffering but rather a horrific, eternal, conscious eternity of torment (Matt 25:46). Second, their god is their appetite. The appetite and lusts of the flesh are their passions. They worship their “bellies” and that which satisfies their cravings. Third, their glory is in their shame. They not only glory in the wickedness of others but they glory in doing the wickedness themselves. The only thing these enemies of the cross of Christ have to boast in is their own wicked shame. Fourth, they set their minds on earthly things. Those who have their minds set on earthly things are, as Paul says, enemies of the cross of Christ. Notice the enemies of the cross of Christ are characterized by deeds of action. They prove by what they do that they are not cherishers of the cross of Christ but enemies of the cross of Christ.

But Paul contrasts them with true believers who have been transformed by the cross of Christ and are no longer enemies of God but are friends of God. It is these true believers who cherish the cross and marvel at the grace of God manifested in the death of Jesus in place of wretched sinners whose citizenship is in heaven! It is from heaven, Paul writes, from which we as believers await a Savior—Jesus Christ—who will descend and transform our humble bodies into conformity with the glorious body of the LORD Jesus Christ. This is only possible by means of the exertion of the power that Christ has to subject all things to Himself.

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