“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.” (Colossians 3:1-2 NKJV).
The Bible commands Christians to walk in love and pursue peace with all people (Eph. 5:5, Heb. 12:14).
The Bible states:
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom. 12:18 NKJV).
“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” (Rom. 14:19 NKJV).
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Eph. 5:1-2 NKJV).
However, the Bible cautions Christians on friendship, fellowship or association. While Christians should love and seek to live peaceably with all people, we are not expected to befriend, fellowship, or keep close company with all people
The Bible admonishes:
“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” (Prov.12:26 NKJV).
“Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.” (Prov. 22:24-25 NKJV).
“Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1 Cor. 15:33 NKJV).
In all his epistles, Apostle Paul seriously warns Christians to note and separate from those among them who are not walking or living according to Christ’s teaching and example which he had set for them (Rom. 16:17, 1 Cor. 5:11).
Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 3:
6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.
7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you. (NKJV).
In the first part of this piece we began to examine Paul’s description of the professed believers and ministers but who are “the enemies of the cross of Christ” by their doctrine and lifestyle.
Paul describes them as those “whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame–who set their mind on earthly things.” (Philip. 3:19 NKJV).
And he admonished true Christians to note and avoid or withdraw from such lest they follow their evil doctrine and lifestyle.
First, Paul describes the enemies of the cross of Christ as those “whose god is their belly.”
This implies that they are professed believers who trust in themselves, in their self-righteousness, goodness, performance or good works, but not in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The enemies of the cross of Christ are those who profess to be in Christ but are still clinging to their own righteousness which is from the law, and not the righteousness which is from God through faith in Christ and his finished work on the cross (Philip. 3:9 NKJV).
Moreover, the enemies of the cross of Christ are those who profess to belong to Christ but will not submit to His lordship or live for Christ.
Paul states that: “Christ died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Cor. 5:15 NKJV).
Rather than living for Christ, the enemies of the cross of Christ live only for themselves, pursuing, fulfilling and gratifying the desires, lusts or passions of the flesh. Paul warns genuine Christians to note and avoid such believers.
Paul admonishes in Romans 16:
17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (NKJV).
Second, Paul describes the enemies of the cross of Christ as those “whose glory is in their shame.”
These are professed believers who delight in iniquities, boast in the flesh, and glory in their good works of the law and not in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Like the immoral believers in Corinth, they trivialize or make light of sins and rejoice in those things of which they should be ashamed of.
In his epistle, Paul rebuked them, saying, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles–that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.” (1 Cor. 5:1-2 NKJV).
Similarly, many professed born-again believers today are now very relaxed and comfortable in unrighteousness, and even vaunting their achievements, possessions, or riches amassed through ungodly means. They are simply the enemies of the cross of Christ. Why?
Because they belittle and despise the huge price Christ paid for sins on the cross by their attitudes toward sins!
Lastly, Paul describes the enemies of the cross of Christ as the believers “who set their mind on earthly things.” (Phil. 3:19 NKJV).
The born-again believers are crucified to the world and the world crucified to them through the cross of Christ.
Paul states: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal. 6:14 NKJV).
Any believer who boasts in anything else other than the cross of Christ is ignorant of the power and blessings of the cross of Christ!
The born-again believers are dead, buried and raised together with Christ.
Paul writes in Romans 6:
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (NKJV).
The cross releases the believers to walk in newness of life, to live as one who is truly dead to sin and the world, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11).
Having being raised together with Christ you are expected to seek and set your mind on heavenly things, and not on earthly things.
The Scripture commands: “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.” (Col. 3:1-2 NKJV).
Any believer who continues to seek and live for the perishable and fleeting materials things of this world is demeaning and denying the power of the cross of Christ in his life.
Beloved, pursuing and clinging to the things of this world, chasing after the current trends of this world, or seeking to be conformed to the fashion of this world is a disrespect or contempt of the cross of Christ. Why?
Because you are crucified to the world and the world to you through Christ’s death on the cross (Gal. 6:14)!
Therefore, seeking to be conformed to this world or setting your mind on earthly things is an utter denial, rejection, or belittling of the victory Christ won for you over the god of this world through His sacrificial death on the cross.
This is why Paul refers to the believers who pursue, love, cling to, or set their mind on earthly things as the enemies of the cross of Christ and also warns you to note them and not walk like them.
Paul admonishes, “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thess. 3:13-14 NKJV).
Friend, it is wise to heed this admonition!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for crucifying me to the world and the world to me through the cross of Christ. Holy Spirit, teach and help me to always set my mind on things above and not on things on earth, in Jesus’ name. Amen.