Philippians 2:15

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

…that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Philippians 2:15

The words of this verse are intended to explain the result of complying with the previous verse –

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…”

By doing all things without complaining or disputing, we will “become blameless and harmless.” The word blameless gives the sense of being without fault. This then would be in relation to laws which exist, be they religious, moral, or civil. It indicates adherence to such laws so that nobody can call into question our obedience to those laws which are rightly imposed upon us. The word in Greek indicates being above reproach because of moral purity. When we act within morally pure guidelines, we will be sincere towards ourselves, in our relationship with God, and in our dealings with others. No harm will come when we so confine ourselves to such a state.

Following this, Paul explains what the result of this will be. We will be “children of God without fault.” The two are to be taken together. One can be a child of God, but bearing fault. And one can certainly have fault while not being a child of God. Paul’s intent is that because we are children of God, we are to act as such, not having fault as we live “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” The words here are reminiscent of those found in Deuteronomy 32:5, especially the Greek translation of it. That verse says –

“They have corrupted themselves;
They are not His children,
Because of their blemish:
A perverse and crooked generation.”

Moses’ words there spoke of the children of Israel who had rejected the ways of the Lord and had gone completely astray. There is no reason to assume that this isn’t exactly what was on Paul’s mind as well. The Jews in Philippi, and indeed around all of the churches, were crooked and perverse, trying to creep in among the churches and introduce heresy into the congregations.

The Judaizing factions led faithful Christians astray with their “works based salvation.” The same type of people have continued to exist in the church since then. Moses says that they are “not His children,” but Paul is speaking to those at Philippi (and thus us!) as “children of God.” Therefore, we are to live our lives as separate from such people, and yet Paul says, “among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

The idea is that we are to conduct our lives in such a manner that we will be the light that these people need in order to turn to the Lord and away from their crooked and perverse ways. The word for “shine” is found only here and in Revelation 21:11. It specifically refers to luminaries, such as the stars in heaven, or some other shining beacon. The idea we are to see here is that of a beacon which warns of disaster ahead, such as a lighthouse on a rocky shoal. Our light is to shine in order to keep such crooked and perverse people from finding their final ruin, but rather to find the truth of the ways of the Lord. It is our job to be seen in the world as such beacons.

Life application: As noted above, the words of this verse are tied to the admonition that we are to do all things without complaining or disputing. Should we fail in this, then we will be ineffective in the testimony which we are asked to present in Paul’s words of verse 15. How we conduct ourselves has importance in many ways, including leading the lost to Christ. Let us always be careful to conduct ourselves with this in mind.

Heavenly Father, the Bible says that we live in a world which is a crooked and perverse generation. Such has been the case all along, and we are told that it is our job to be beacons of righteousness to those wayward souls. Help us to be blameless and harmless in our conduct so that people will see our behavior and respond to it favorably. Remind us of who we are and what we are responsible for each day. To Your glory we ask this. Amen.

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