For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
It’s All Backward
Winners are winners, and losers are losers. It’s really that simple. If the game is over, and you’ve scored fewer points than your opponent—you lose. For it to be the other way around would just be backward!
But this backward perspective on life is what the apostle Paul proposes in our Bible reading today. Paul recognized that when Jesus died on the cross, it looked like he had lost. But the exact opposite was true—it was on that cross Jesus paid the price for our sins and saved us from the punishment we deserved. Far from losing, Jesus won the victory on the cross.
Sadly, Paul knew that many people reject Jesus precisely because Jesus’ death on the cross looked like a loss. This is why Paul wrote that “many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” After all, they think we want to be winners, not losers. And to their way of thinking, the cross equals defeat.
But, as Paul explains, those who don’t see and understand the power of the cross will end up falling short when time runs out. “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.” In other words, in their pursuit of every worldly thing that equals success and victory, in their eyes, won’t be able to save them on the last day. “Their mind is set on earthly things,” Paul wrote. But when Jesus comes again to judge the living and dead, earthly things will have absolutely zero value.
Only Jesus and his cross can save us now and forever. Yes, to this world, it’s all backward. But in the eyes of faith, the cross proclaims one simple message: victory.
Jesus, help me see victory in your cross. Amen.