What should be obvious from just a cursory reading of these verses is that being identified as an “enemy of the cross of Christ” is a bad thing. Hence the reason Paul then states (in verse 19) “Their end is their destruction”. IOW: those identified in this way come judgment day will suffer the eternal destruction of being thrown into the “lake of fire” (or hell). What however may not be so obvious from what Paul says in these verses is who those receiving this identification includes. It includes believers – or those who were (at one time – or for a period of time) claiming to be followers of Christ (Christians). Hence the reason Paul relays such news with “tears”. For those who genuinely love Christ (as Paul certainly did), it is hard to hear that “many” who (also) claim such love, will one day betray Him (and becomes His “enemies”). And notice, that is what the text says (“many” – not few). Many who claim to follow Christ now, will end up betraying Him later.
How You Become An Enemy Of The Cross (And How Also You Prevent It –or stand firm against it – Phi 4:1 = IOW” What I just got done saying is the way to do it):
And 4 things represent that way (the way to become an enemy– and their opposite, the way to prevent it)
- You don’t listen to or seek to imitate your earthly shepherd/spiritual leader.
The first way (however) to prevent becoming an enemy of Christ = Use more mental energy! Listen to and imitate the function/principles (not form) being established through the teaching and behavior of your shepherd (Heb 13:17 = His approval of you matters to Jesus letting you in heaven)
- You refuse to accept that God’s laws/requirements are non-negotiable.
The second way (then) to prevent becoming an enemy of Christ = Accept God’s laws/ways as absolute and non-negotiable (and build your life/safety upon such certainty – Mat 7:24).
- You can’t say no to food or hunger.
The third way (then) to prevent becoming an enemy of Christ = Confess your overeating as idolatry, hate it as sin and die to it (i.e. get control over your emotions/feelings).
- You worry more about missing out on worldly things than missing out on heaven.
The fourth way (then) to prevent becoming an enemy of Christ = Worry about missing out of heaven (more than the things of this world) and spend your days shoring up that worry by what you do (1Co 9:23-27).