For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as the enemies of the cross of Christ. – Philippians 3:18
Thinking of others who live as enemies of the cross of Christ brought the courageous and passionate Apostle Paul to tears.
Thinking, and writing to the believers, about the many people who live as enemies of the cross of Christ filled Paul with sorrow and tears. Not with rage or frustration? Not with self-righteous indignation or judgment? Not with hate or condemnation? But with tears? Yes, tears. Tears for all the lost and broken lives of people, the enemies of the cross of Christ, who would not choose to receive the love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation of Jesus Christ. Tears for all the people who allow their pride to keep them shut off from the power of humbling themselves before God. Tears for all the people who stay locked in, and blinded by, their own private hell, and wreak havoc in the lives of others here on earth. Tears for all the people who refuse to acknowledge their need for forgiveness and the sacrifice of Jesus – the sacrifice that made it possible for all of us to receive God’s perfect and full forgiveness through His death on the cross. Tears for all the people who choose death instead of life. Tears for all the people who choose destruction rather than the full, free and abundant life, now and eternally, in the presence of our loving Abba, our Holy God.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). He cried for the many lives in God’s holy city who had rejected their true and holy King. He cried over their rejection of what would bring them true and eternal peace. God had come to them in human form – teaching them, healing them, feeding them, revealing Himself as their Deliverer. Jesus had come to them as the ultimate fulfillment of all prophecy for their long-awaited Messiah. Jesus had come as the fullness of God’s grace and truth. Jesus had come to offer the fullness of God’s love, salvation, mercy, forgiveness, redemption and eternal life. Yet, in their stubbornness and pride, they remained enemies of God. And Jesus wept for them, as I believe He weeps for all who still reject Him and the sacrifice of His life on the cross for our reconciliation with our holy God.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood shed on the cross. – Colossians 1:19, 20
What brings us to tears? Not to fear. Not to hatred. Not to judgment. Not to religious pride. But to sorrow?
May our God fill us with the love, concern and compassion that He has for all people. May God move us to tears for the enemies of the cross of Christ – whether we know them as our family members, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors. May God move us beyond tears to acts of sincere, tangible and compassionate love for all who are lost and still live as enemies of the cross of Christ. May we pray for them. May we lovingly, honestly share our faith with them. May we share our own very real need for the forgiveness, salvation and eternal life that the cross of Christ has brought to us!
And may we all be brought to tears of joy as many who were once, as were we, enemies of God, come to the fullness of faith in Jesus Christ – receiving His salvation and gift of eternal life that came through the cross!