March 27, 2022

A Light in a Perverse World

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy

In Thanksgiving Commemoration of 34th Anniversary of GBPC

Dear brethren, today we worship the LORD with hearts full of gratitude and praise for our salvation and our fellowship in the church, which He has graciously bestowed upon us. God’s gracious guidance and blessings have enabled Gethsemane to grow strong and stay united hitherto, for the work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Singapore and in several other countries. Let us “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4).

An appropriate response that would reflect our sincere appreciation for His salvation and strengthening to serve Him would be to dedicate ourselves to do His will concerning us in the days ahead. We particularly want to recall and meditate on His plan for His people revealed in His desire concerning His children in Philippians 2:15 – “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”

Herein is God’s expectation of how His children ought to be in this world of sin and violence. There must be a marked difference in their conduct from that of the unregenerate people of this world. Christians ought to shine as lights in this dark world. That would be possible if and only if they are what the Spirit of God urges them to be in today’s text.

First and foremost, as sons of God, Christians ought to be “blameless”. The original Greek word for “blameless” (amemptoi) carries the idea of “above reproach”. All God’s children must know that it is our Father’s will that we live a life that is not marred by accusations of misconduct. We must not allow any occasion to be charged with wrongdoing. This is not to say that we will not be falsely accused of wrongdoing. But rather we must not be insincere professors of our Christian faith. We Christians must be like Paul, who said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1).

Secondly, as sons of God, Christians are encouraged to be “harmless”. The original Greek word for “harmless” (akéraios) appears only one more time in the New Testament, in Matthew 10:16 – “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” The idea denoted by the word seems to be “without guile”. Christians are exhorted here to bear an untainted testimony.

A person who is truly justified by faith will surely pursue a sanctified life. The evidence of a sanctified life is expected in all God’s children. How could those who live unsanctified lives be truly said to be “sons of God”? Those who have become the sons of God by faith will have a desire to live a holy life, and will constantly seek to lay aside every sin that does easily beset them. God’s children will not become sinless immediately, but they, being guided by His Spirit and truth, will endeavour to please their Father by walking in holiness and bearing a good testimony.

A commitment to live a holy life is necessary, for all children of God are exhorted to be “without rebuke”. To be “without rebuke” is to live without giving any cause for complaints against oneself. Oh, how careful every child of God ought to be in this world, which is full of temptations and provocations! So, be watchful and be prayerful to bear a good testimony at all times.

Therefore, Christians are not to merge with the world in such a way that nothing about their faith and commitment is discernible to others. Such an idea of the Christian life is totally unbiblical. In fact, genuine Christians, being committed to a “blameless and harmless” life, will find themselves at odds with the rest of the society that is lost in their sins and unbelief.

According to the Scriptures, the world is “crooked and perverse”. Moses had used similar words to describe Israel who had gone astray - “They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation” (Deuteronomy 32:5). The Scriptural description of the world we live in is grim and sobering. It cautions Christians that the world’s sentiments and aspirations are perverted in the sight of God.

Hence, Christians cannot be an unobtrusive or harmonious part of the world by being similar in appearance or behaviour. To blend in with the world, in God’s sight, is to be dark as the world. He expects us to be quite the opposite. He exhorts us to shine as lights in this dark world.

In the Bible, “light” symbolises the Gospel of salvation, truth, holiness, wisdom, joy, and everything pleasant and bright in the sight of God. So, Christians are appointed by God as lights to declare and demonstrate to the world His character and purposes by all that they say and do. This has been underscored by the Lord Jesus. He said to all who followed Him, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

When we shine as lights in this dark world, we don’t become isolationists. The Bible does not teach us to live a hermit’s life by moving out of society. Rather, we are instructed to engage with others, not by following after their ways, but by showing them the light of Christ and His truths via our words and deeds. The designated place for light is the darkness where it is needed. Let us live in our societies as God’s luminaries to guide those who grope in sin’s darkness unto His salvation, joy, wisdom and peace.

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
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SingPost Centre
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(next to Paya Lebar MRT station)
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33 Ubi Crescent
Singapore 408584
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