1. Is the cross a nice piece of jewelry hanging on a necklace?
2. Is the cross some personal trouble or discomfort you must bear?
3. Or, is the cross a reference to the work of God in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Check out this amazing essay by A. E. Knoch:
CLICK HERE: https://www.concordant.org/expositions/the-evangel/the-word-of-the-cross/
ALSO SEE THIS: https://www.concordant.org/expositions/the-evangel/the-cross-of-christ/
FROM PHILLIPIANS 3…
17 Become imitators together of me, brethren, and be noting those who are walking thus, according as you have us for a model,
18 for many are walking, of whom I often told you, yet now am lamenting also as I tell it, who are enemies of the cross of Christ,
19 whose consummation is destruction, whose god is their bowels, and whose glory is in their shame, who to the terrestrial are disposed.
20 For our realm is inherent in the heavens, out of which we are awaiting a Saviour also, the Lord, Jesus Christ,
21 Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation, to conform it to the body of His glory, in accord with the operation which enables Him even to subject all to Himself.
Galatians 6:14. In this passage Paul writes, “Now may it not be mine to be boasting, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
WHO ARE THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST?
- They are not imitators of Paul. They don’t use him as a “model”.
- Their walk leads to destruction.
- Their god is their bowels.
- Their glory is actually their shame.
- They are totally into things terrestrial.
- They are not awaiting a Saviour out of the heavens, who will transfigure our body of humiliation. Etc.
Who are the enemies of the cross?
Since we know “the cross” refers to what was accomplished on that day… the “enemies of the cross” must be those who rely on their own accomplishments…. Those who rely on themselves… those who rely on their own “good works”… those who don’t see that “all is of God” (Romans 11:36). They take pride in nothing at all.
Notice that Paul did not say “enemies of the kingdom”, “enemies of the temple”, “enemies of the church”, enemies of good works”, “enemies of the ‘revolution’”, etc. No.
Paul referred to enemies of something God was doing in Christ on that day, the day Christ died for our sins.
The word “enemies” is not tossed around lightly. In the Old Testament, you might find references to “enemies of Israel.” But it’s not a word that shows up too much in the bible. So, when “enemies” is used, we should open our eyes, and take note.
One of the most striking mentions of “enemies” is found in I Corinthians 15:20-28.
There you’ll find four “enemies” listed which God promises to abolish and defeat.
The first three are “rulership”, “authority” and “power” … And God, through Paul’s prophecy, promises to ABOLISH ALL RULE, ALL AUTHORITY, AND ALL POWER.
Would it be too much to suggest that rulership, authority, and power are not just “enemies of God” but also “enemies of the cross”.
We suggest that the very presence of rule, authority and power, proves that the cross of Christ has not fully accomplished its work, YET. But that day is coming.
You see, Christ must reign, UNTIL He puts all his enemies under his feet. And these three, (rule, authority, and power) are clearly ENEMIES. As long as rule, authority and power are needed, enmity between the creature and the Creator exists, somehow.
And consider “the last enemy”: DEATH.
Death is the 4th enemy listed in I COR. 15:24-25… and it’s to be abolished too.
Dare we say that death itself is an enemy of the cross? Indeed, it is the reason for the cross. Death appeared to win, when Christ, the Savior, died.
Death seemed to win, on the cross. But then, 3 days later, the purpose of the cross was revealed. It was to defeat death (the wages of sin).
The final victory of the cross of Christ, will be the ABOLITION OF DEATH altogether.
“For even as in Adam, all die, so in Christ, shall all be vivified.” (I COR 15:20-28)
The cross, is the sum of all human works and deeds. Everything we build, accomplish and do, ends in disaster. Death seems to reign supreme in humanity and all the towers of Babel we build.
But the resurrection is God’s bold sentence on death’s shallow victory.
Yes, Christ met His demise on the cross. But death lost its grip when God raised Him from the Dead.
The “enemies of the cross” don’t see that the accomplishments of Christ’s sacrifice will include them. Nothing they do or say can undo the resurrection. Christ died to save, even his enemies. Christ died to save even “the enemies of the cross.”
For now, they can boast in their own accomplishments. But death awaits even the mighty of this world.
All the Caesars of Rome are now dead. All the empires of history have past. The tower of Babel is no more.
Even the current empire of America’s dominance will pass also.
Death reigns supreme, for now.
But the work of God, in the cross of Christ, will reconcile all, (Col 1:20).
The majority of humanity, especially the religious, are not happy with this message. They are “enemies of the cross”.
But we don’t rely on them. Instead, “we rely on the living God, Who is the Saviour of all….” And just before Paul wrote these words, he said “for this we labor and suffer reproach, because we rely on the Living God….”
The enemies of the cross, seem to think that something is owed to them. Their own personal accomplishments deserve to be rewarded. And they want that reward. In fact, they demand it.
Who are the “friends of the cross”???
The friends of the cross, look not to their own achievements, but instead, realize that all blessings actually come from what Christ achieved on that day. They are humbled.
They know, they can add nothing to their salvation. Even the “good works” they do, is “God working in you to do…” (Phil 2:13).
The great religions of the world, including Christendom, are actually “enemies of the cross”.
Some consider the “cross” as a symbol… like a nice piece of silver or gold jewelry to be hung on a necklace.
Some consider the “cross” to be some personal burden, that you must bear in order to purify your soul.
But, the “cross” is neither a symbol of club membership, nor an idea that you must suffer personally to gain some spiritual reward. No, the cross is what changes everything. The cross is the foundation of our message. We are saved by what Christ did on the cross. The proof that it changes everything, is the resurrection.
Death’s final defeat is “written in the cards” as they say. Christ’s resurrection guarantees its end.
His resurrection is like a down payment, an option on humanity, “for even as in Adam…”
…so in Christ.”
He is the Firstfruit of them who repose”.
The enemies of the cross, can see that they were involved in the messy deal of His death.
The crown of thorns. The beating that ripped the skin from his back. The nails pounded into his hands and feet. The spear that pierced his side. All of it.
THAT is their true accomplishments. Blood and suffering. Not life and vitality.
The resurrection happened IN SPITE of man’s sin and offence. It is God’s great achievement. And we cannot add one whit to it.
If we can see this, we stand in awe.
The cross is our message. The cross is our hope. The cross is God’s pronouncement on our accomplishments.
“For even as in Adam, all die… so in Christ shall all be made alive”.