So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me. [NASB1995®]
These are Paul’s final days, he is already drawing close to the goal, and he has kept the faith, and for him it is cause for joy. But there is another reason for Paul’s rejoicing, and it is that the church in Philippi (and it is our calling as well) are lights in the midst of a corrupted world filled with darkness.
How can we be lights? By working out our salvation (understanding here the process of sanctification that God is doing in us) with the greatest seriousness and commitment (fear and trembling).
Paul gives us some brief, but practical, advice on what it means to be “light”.
Do all things without grumbling (complaining, discontentment, lack of enthusiasm) or disputes (questions, criticisms). That should be our attitude towards others, and above all, towards the will of God.
Be blameless and innocent: the children of God should be transparent, open, and in spite of their imperfection, blameless, so that no one can say anything against them, nor do they need to live hidden with hypocrisy.
Hold fast to the Word of Life: clinging to the grace and forgiveness found in the Gospel, remembering that we were darkness and now are light, because He wanted to make it that way.
Meditate: Those who have believed in Jesus have “come into” the light, and we “are” in the light, in order to “be” light. May God help us to shine with His love in this world!
Scripture quotation taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Translation by: Emily Stader