[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our New Uploads page.]
In the mildest of his epistles (in terms of rebuke and correction), the apostle Paul nonetheless warned the Philippian saints of “enemies of the cross of Christ” (3:18–19), which he at one time was. He thereby vividly aligned those who lived contrary to the Gospel with the former Saul of Tarsus in his most zealous days of persecuting the Lord. Notably, Paul here made the cross the apex, summary, and symbol of Jesus’ earthly life and work (His purpose in coming, His doctrine, His church, et al.).
In this context the apostle specified three identifying marks of these enemies, who still thrive all about us:
- “Whose God is the belly”—These are those who live only to satisfy fleshly appetites. They live by the philosophy, “If it feels good, do it.” The gross breakdown of sexual morality in our nation over the past half-century is a graphic manifestation of “belly-worship.” “Bibliolatry” also reveals itself in hedonisms ranging from road rage to alcohol consumption, drug addiction, gambling, and various criminal acts (some of which, politicians in the highest circles of power are guilty). As America has increasingly cast aside the Bible (and God with it), its righteous restraints of continence and self-control have increasingly vanished. “Belly-worship” is simply unmitigated selfishness, which is a good working definition of Secularism and Humanism.
- “Whose glory is in their shame”—Glory here refers to that of which men can justifiably be proud, thus things men ought to honor. The enemies of Calvary have turned things upside down, proudly parading behaviors which they should count disgraceful. No more apt description than this could be drafted of the homosexual practitioners and their defenders. In step with them are those who advocate removing all restraints in the entertainment media on nudity, sexual acts, and cesspool language. All who participate in and boast of any evil deed have thereby made themselves “enemies of the cross.”
- “Who mind earthly things”—These live only for time, with little or no thought beyond (which is why their “bellies” are their god). Theirs is the old Epicurean credo: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor. 15:32). Humanism, its modern incarnation, denies the immortality of the soul, the Resurrection of the body, and the realm of spirits.
Paul prefaced the foregoing list by saying of such practitioners, “whose end is perdition.” That is, they will suffer the unrecoverable loss of their souls in Hell. Jesus will say to them: “Depart from me…into the eternal fire” (Mat. 25:41).
[Note: I wrote this article for and it appeared in the Denton Record-Chronicle, Denton, TX, August 23, 2013.]
Attribution: From TheScripturecache.com, owned and administered by Dub McClish.