For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: (Phi 3:18 KJV)
Let’s look once more at this apostolic statement. St. Paul warns unwaveringly and seriously, ongoing and often, because the enemies of Jesus Christ’s cross endanger those they influence and threaten to pull them down into perdition if they too despise the way to salvation by becoming enemies of the cross. They are bound for destruction and will draw others down with them – rather than seeing them be saved to live eternally. That’s why St. Paul warns adamantly and will not stop. We can read how more than once he warns the Philippians. Now he does so under tears and with great emotion. This was no angry revenge or some case of sour grapes. No, St. Paul was motivated by heartfelt love for his congregation and the Church, but also for those mislead and lost – even if they are obstinate, full of guilt and lack any bit of remorse or repentance. His tears are like those his master and Lord Jesus Christ shed outside of Jerusalem, when he saw, how few inhabitants of that city were intent on those things that served true peace. Even while St. Paul is mourning on account and on behalf of these hard-hearted enemies of Jesus’ cross – they accuse him most harshly and fiendishly of being extremist and a religious fanatic, whereas they claim to be moderate, tolerant and main-stream in the spirituality of the day.
Almighty God, merciful Father – you have brought out light from the darkness. We thank you most heartily, that you have been mercifully towards us and have rekindled the light of your most gracious gospel. We plead you: Preserve and keep us in your pure and wholesome doctrine, that we would live holy according to your word as your faithful children. For Jesus Christ sake, he our saviour and Lord. Amen. (Sächsische Agende 1906)
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross; Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss. From victory unto victory His army shall He lead, Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey; Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day. Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone; The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own. Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer; Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long; This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song. To those who vanquish evil a crown of life shall be; They with the King of Glory shall reign eternally. (George Duffield Jr 1818-1888)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Wednesday after the twenty third Sunday after the high holiday of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 379 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.