In Philippians 3:18, Paul cautions believers to watch out for professing believers who, in actuality, walk “as enemies of the cross of Christ.” I think, for many, the word “enemy” sounds too strong – like an exaggeration. Before I was a Christian, was I really an ememy of the cross? At this point, I found Alec Motyer very helpful in his commentary on the book of Philippians:
“We are by nature in a state of enmity against God and these conditions of the emotions, conscience and mind are at the heart of that hostile nature. When we think of ourselves in our pre-conversion days, or when we look around at our non-Christian friends, ‘enmity’ against God and Christ is not a word which would all that often spring to our minds. For the most part, we did not feel hostile. It was just that we did not really want to be bothered, or to have to face the demands of Jesus, or to think too much about that rather threatening business of giving our lives over to him. But we must remind ourselves that Jesus described as his ‘enemies’ those ‘who did not want me to reign over them’ [Lk. 19:27]. We are no more the best judge of our condition than is the patient who, on hearing the doctor’s diagnosis of cancer, replies, ‘But I feel all right.’ The divine Diagnostician notes that it was ‘while we were enemies’ that ‘we were reconciled’ by the death of Christ, and that ‘the mind of the flesh is enmity against God’.”
- A. Motyer, The Message of Philippians, The Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1984), 189.