Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Chapter 3 is concluded with some advice on how to press on. He has talked about the treasure of knowing Jesus, obtaining His righteousness, pressing on, and holding true. Now Paul gives a warning and instruction.
If we are going to press on we should not be like those who walk as “enemies of the cross of Christ.” Those are very harsh words! What makes them an enemy? They glory in shameful things and all they care about is satisfying their cravings. They want a quick fix and whatever makes them happy here and now. As they focus on only themselves and their pleasure the reality is that in the end they will loose it all.
On the other hand Paul says to imitate or keep our eyes on good examples, and on what is eternal. Unlike the enemies of the cross, we should live for the eternal, remembering that worldly pleasures fade but our citizenship in heaven and we have MUCH to look forward to! We don’t just seek glory and pleasure here and now, but we count the cost and wait for a future glory and hope. This is how we can “stand firm thus in the Lord.”
Paul hasn’t settled for temporary or earthly pleasures. In fact he has sacrificed his comfort and freedoms for the sake of the gospel. Like he said in chapter 1, he knows that to live is Christ but to die is gain. The earthy pleasures and comforts won’t last, but our glory in Jesus will.
Let’s rejoice in the fact that our Savior is coming back one day! He will make us new and right every wrong. We don’t have to despair when we see our country or world falling apart, because we know that we are just passing through. Hebrews 13:14 says “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” How can we seek that city? Let’s set our minds on the eternal today.