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For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, (Philippians 3:18)
Paul now begins to warn them of the ones who did not walk (περιπατέω peripateō) according to Jesus’ example but walked contrary and was what he called “enemies of the cross of Christ.”
He spoke with tears (the only record that Paul cried) because of these false teachers’ damage to God’s work. He says that he had repeatedly spoken to the Philippian believers about these persons who bring such damage to the kingdom. Paul, here, is speaking of those who confess Christ with their lips, but their lifestyles totally deny Him. They confused liberty and license. They taught loose living and practiced it. They taught about freedom from sin while actually living and teaching freedom to sin.
As enemies of the cross, they were inflated with their own spiritual abilities rather than trusting Christ. They taught a lifestyle that denied the cross, loved the world, and lived after the desires of the flesh – as Paul will show in the following verse.
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For many walk. In the Bible, the expression (Heb. הָלַךְ halak Gr περιπατέω peripateō) “to walk” is figurative and illustrative and can mean to follow a certain course of action and is often compared with a journey, as “Noah walked with God.” (Gen. 6:9; 5:22) Those who walk with God follow the life course outlined by God’s Word and will find his favor, that is, be pleasing to him. Pursuing such a life course makes you different from most unbelievers. The Greek New Testament uses the same illustrative expression, contrasting two different courses of action sought by one before and after becoming a servant of God. (Eph. 2:2, 10; 4:17; 5:2) Similarly, “running” is also used to symbolize a course of action. (1 Pet. 4:4) God tells us that the prophets in Judah “ran” though he did not send them, yet they took the prophetic course, prophesied falsely. (Jer. 23:21) Paul gives us a visual picture of the Christian course in terms of “running.” He compares it to a race that a person must run while also obeying the rules of the race if they are to win the prize. – 1 Cor. 9:24; Gal. 2:2; 5:7.
To persuade them to imitate those who were spiritually mature, the apostle Paul informs them that there were many in the church whom they should not imitate because it would be unsafe. He is referring primarily to the church at Philippi, though he has made similar statements in other letters applying to other Christian congregations. And as time has passed, it has only grown worse, as was prophesied it would. Just a few decades after the death of the apostle John in 100 C.E., divisions were common among the Christians.
Historian Will Durant states: “Faced with the hostility of a powerful government, the Church felt the need of unity; it could not safely allow itself to be divided into a hundred feeble parts by every wind of intellect, by disloyal heretics, ecstatic prophets, or brilliant sons. Celsus [a 2nd-century enemy of Christianity] himself had sarcastically observed that Christians were ‘split up into ever so many factions, each individual desiring to have his own party.” About 187 [C.E.] Irenaeus listed twenty varieties of Christianity; about 384 [C.E.] Epiphanius counted eighty. At every point foreign ideas were creeping into Christian belief, and Christian believers were deserting to novel sects. The Church felt that its experimental youth was ending, its maturity was near; it must now define its terms and proclaim the conditions of its membership. Three difficult steps were necessary: the formation of a scriptural canon, the determination of doctrine, and the organization of authority.” Today there are 41,000 varieties of Christianity, all believing differently.
Of whom I often told you. Paul was not afraid to mention church members when they were mistaken in their views or behaving badly, warning the rest that they were not to imitate their example when he was in Philippi. Paul never attempted to keep secrets or excuse wrongdoing in the church or to apologize for the faults and errors of those who claimed to be Christians. The proper way is to meet with those who are not living according to Scripture or causing divisions. If they refuse to align with the Bible in word and deed, they should be expelled. Then, without naming them, give a sermon on the issue. Then openly acknowledge that some in the church did not honor Christ and the Word of God, who have been expelled, warning against following their example.
And now tell you even weeping. Paul came to the Philippians with a natural mental and emotional state as he spoke of their errors and faults. He was not trying to publicly embarrass them or expose them to others who did not need to know. He found no pleasure in their difficulties; to the contrary, it brought him to tears. Paul wept because these brothers were facing eternal destruction, losing eternal life. He wept because they were now heading down the path of apostasy. Apostasy: (ἀποστασία apostasia) The term literally means “to stand away from” and is used to refer to ones who ‘stand away from the truth.’ It is abandonment, a rebellion, an apostasy, a refusal to accept or acknowledge true worship. In Scripture, this is used primarily concerning those who rise up in defiance of the only true God and his people, working in opposition to the truth. (Ac 21:21; 2 Thess. 2:3) He wept because these were now injuring their brothers and gave fodder to the enemies to mock them.
That they are enemies of the cross of Christ. The “cross” was the instrument on which Jesus was executed to make atonement for sin. The cross has become a symbol representing Christ and Christianity, which should never be venerated, but these were the enemy of Christ and Christianity. They had become apostates, enemies of the gospel. They were not openly denying that Jesus had not died on the cross or suggesting that his atonement was somehow not enough. When we look at 3:19, we will see that their character was not in harmony with the gospel. It says, “god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, and they have their minds on earthly things.” Living any lifestyle that is at odds with the Word of God makes them “enemies of the cross of Christ,” as Christ gave his life to make us holy. Christ died so that the renewal of our minds can transform us. (Rom. 12:2) He gave his life to take off our old person, to put on the new person. (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:9-10) These ones are enemies of Christ and Christianity, who have been taken off the path of salvation, who are unrepentantly living in sin, which evidence no faith in Christ, but rather “love the world or the things in the world.” (1 John 2:15-17) It was prophesied and historically true that there have been such enemies of the cross throughout the church’s history, even more so today. As Paul wept over this, so should we as we battle for the cross. We must realize the damage that just one enemy can inflict on the church. And we must realize these are not openly enemies; they are false friends, liberal to moderate, so-called Christians. These have given us 2.38 billion “Christians” today, with only 10-15% being conservative evangelical Christians. Over seventy percent of those 2.38 billion “Christians” are biblically illiterate. We cannot save the Titanic of 41,000 denominations and 2.38 billion “Christians,” but we can save those who are receptive to an accurate understanding of the Word of God.
 This is the idea of the whole of all activities in a person’s life. We would call it their lifestyle.
 In Watson, Marcus Aurelius, 305.
 The Story of Civilization: Part III—Caesar and Christ, pp. 614-615.