A True Light
A True Light
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing ,15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)
The Church shines like stars in a dark universe. Her very nature demands that it be clearly seen. She should be eminently conspicuous to the world around her. Never meant to be an unnoticed or quiet institution, she is to radiate godliness to the surrounding culture.
Paul exhorted the Church to emulate the humble attitude of her Lord. He described first-century society as “crooked and depraved” (cf. Phil. 3:18-19). Recognizing that the Church cannot escape being surrounded by evil, she has an obligation to remain distinct from it. Faultless and irreproachable behavior should mark the conduct of Church members (cf. Matt. 5:16 and 1 Pet. 2:11-12). This way of life was intended to bring about a certain result. The world could not help but notice the difference. True Christians conspicuously “shine like stars in the universe.” Their conduct validates their message.
The Church’s ability to hold out the word of life, in all its manifold glory, requires she remain noticeably different from the world. The drastic contrast between the Church and the world gives her the right to speak the word of life. Should the Church lose that distinction, she forfeits her right to speak at all, and the world will have no reason to look or listen to her words.
When Christians display a contentious spirit, their attitudes ill befit the gospel. Some believers, mirroring the world, develop an entitlement mentality and demand that others in the Church meet their needs, pay their bills, or resolve their self-incurred crises. Their unsettled disposition takes the form of perennial complaint, which is, perhaps, one of the easiest of worldly sins to copy. Meekness, on the other hand, is a rare public virtue.
Church leaders must re-draw the line that has been blurred between the Church and the world. Surrounded by a crooked and depraved generation, the Church bears the obligation to guard her purity and call the world to repent and believe the gospel.