What does it mean to be enemies of the cross of Christ?

It isn’t the knowledge that Christ was crucified for us that people are enemies of; it isn’t the physical cross on Calvary.

Enemies of the cross of Christ: What does it mean? Philippians 3:18

“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.” Philippians 3:18.

Usually, it isn’t the knowledge that Christ was crucified for us on Calvary that people are enemies of. The truth is that I become an enemy of the cross of Christ if I won’t take up my own cross and crucify my own flesh with its passions and desires; that is, if I myself am not willing to be crucified with Him.  (Galatians 5:24; Galatians 2:20.) Jesus said that I am to daily bear the cross! (Luke 9:23.) To be crucified with Him means denying myself and giving up my own will, my own lusts and desires. I may be readily willing to agree that Christ died for me on the cross, but do I acknowledge that I too must die—a death to the lusts of the flesh?

Read more here: What does it mean to take up your cross daily?

Who are the enemies of the cross?

If I am not willing to crucify my own passions and desires then I will be counted among those who are enemies of the cross of Christ! But why would I not be willing to give these things up? It must be because I still have a desire for the things of this world. Paul writes about such people: “Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.” Philippians 3:19.

If I want to live for myself, fulfilling the lusts of my flesh, then I quite naturally become an enemy of the cross. Because the purpose of the cross is to crucify self-life – my own will, my ego, my lusts.

Read more here: How can I say that I have been crucified with Christ?

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Love the cross

But on the other hand, I can humble myself, bow down and submit my will to God, so that I do His will instead of seeking my own. Then I am taking up my cross daily; then it is no longer I who live, but the life of Christ is born in me, and is manifested in me! (2 Corinthians 4:11.)

To those who love the cross it is written: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3.

When I set my mind on things above, the earthly things lose their value. I love the cross of Christ, because it is the means to bring me to that hidden life with Christ in God. By the cross I am always delivering my passions and desires into death. It is only through this death that the life of Christ can be born. This is how I am conformed to the image of the Son! (Romans 8:29.) This is the most exciting life imaginable!

So let’s love the cross and the powerful, regenerating work that it does in us! Let’s have our minds set above in heavenly places, so that we have a heavenly hope that we are working towards! Then we will never be counted among those who are enemies of the cross of Christ.

“But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.