DAILY DEVOTIONAL, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2022

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that you may come to be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, (Philippians 2:15)

By leaving the grumbling and disputing out, one can make a major difference in this sin-darkened world by setting aside the negative outlook and thoughts.

Paul means that they have not given those around them any reason to bring reproach upon the church by living a blameless life. Innocent means unmixed or pure. The Greeks used (ἀκέραιος akeraios) as wine not mixed with water. It is the thought of something sincere and without defect. It describes the believer that does not have a thought or motive in their heart that does not belong there.

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Children of God.  We are to have a family resemblance. We are called to be reflectors of the image of our Father in this world. Perfection is the goal of every child of God (Matt. 5:48), and while even Paul states that he has not reached that point, it is his goal that he strives for (Phil. 3:12), it should be the goal that every believer seeks.

The world of the first century was, just as the world of today is – one that the world’s people (γενεά genea) is diametrically opposed to the plan of God. The word crooked (σκολιός skolios)[1] carries the understanding of outward perverted conduct of the world, crooked in heart, mind, and actions. It is bent completely out of correct alignment. The word perverse (διαστρέφω diastrephō) carries the idea of being warped, perverted, and turned out of the way. It is a perfect passive participle in this sentence and carries the understanding that this is something that was done to the world and is complete in its action.

If they were to take the positive outlook in their dealings with this perverse generation of people (as we should also), they would stand out from the rest. They themselves would not shine but appear to the world as children of God. Jesus taught that he is the world’s light-giver (John 8:12), and his followers were to be the (φωστήρ phōstēr) a Greek word that is used for the heavenly bodies – stars, sun, moon, etc., reflecting the light of Christ.[2]

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Just as a match can be seen over a great distance in a totally dark night, a believer who is living the mind of Christ will reflect light that draws the world’s attention.

We should pray for God to “Help me do everything without griping and complaining, so that I have a blameless and faultless testimony to all. Help me to live a clean life as Your child, so I’m a light in a dark and lawless world.”[3]

More in-depth Insights

that you may come to be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,

That ye may come to be blameless. Blameless: (Heb. תָּם tam; תָּמִים tamim; Gr. ἄμωμος amōmos; ἀμώμητος amōmētos; ἀπρόσκοπος aproskopos) means, “perfect, blameless, sincerity, entire, whole, complete, and full.” Of course, Noah, Jacob, and Job were not literally perfect. When used of imperfect humans, the terms are relative, not absolute. However, if we are fully committed to following a life course based on God’s will and purposes, fully living by his laws, repent when we fall short, he will credit our righteousness. – Gen. 6:6; 25:27; Job 9:20-22l Ps. 119:1; Pro. 11:20; Phil 2:15; 1 Thess. 5:23.

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And innocent. The Greek word (ἀκέραιος akeraios) means that which is unmixed; and then pure, innocent. The sense is pure, guiltless, being in a state of ritual cleanness, or free of guilt and sin. They should be without treachery, cunning, deception, or pretentiousness, natural and simple. This disposition or character would prevent Christians from harming others emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically.

The children of God. John 1:11, 12 clarifies ‘all who receive Jesus, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.’ Not all have or will accept this invitation, as Paul says, “at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.” (Rom. 9:27; 11:5) Paul reminds us ‘that we were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.’ (Eph 2:12) Paul states that “it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” (Rom. 9:8) Those who become reconciled to God through faith in Christ “will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” (Rom 9:26; see Gal. 3:26-29) Paul elsewhere states, “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (Heb 9:15; see Lu 22:20) “And if children, we are also heirs, heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer together so that we may also be glorified together.” (Rom. 8:17; see Heb 3:1) These ones are declared righteous before God. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:1-2) Jesus’ half-brother, James, tells us, “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (Jam. 1:18) Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Theologian Millard J. Erickson says of being born again, “The work of the Holy Spirit in creating a new life in the sinful person who repents and comes to believe in Christ.”[4] And finally, the apostle Peter tells us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” – 1 Peter 1:3-4.

WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE WAITING ON GOD WORKING FOR GOD

 Without blemish. The Greek word (ἄμωμος amōmos) means to be free from moral defects,  blameless, faultless in the sense of being holy or pure.

In the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Perverted attitudes, thoughts, and habits come from those inclined to criticize, complain, whine, grumble, fault-finders, and those who constantly pervert what someone says or does. They seek every chance to hinder the truth and righteousness. We cannot know for certain who Paul is referring to here, but it is likely the Jews in Philippi. Imperfect humans are mentally bent toward evil, have a treacherous heart, possess bad traits and flaws. (Genesis 6:5; 8:21; Deuteronomy 32:5; Jer. 17:9) The pre-flood people, the Israelites in Moses’ day, the Jews in Philippi, are examples of human imperfection that plague us all until the time of Christ’s second coming. Those alienated from God are cynical opponents of the gospel, and some of them have done more than any other to mock the truth and prevent the spread of the gospel.

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Among whom you appear as lights in the world. Here, the Greek has the sense of duty or obligation by action and word. We are to live among those of the world and must be vigilant to preserve our cleanness as illuminators. The apostle is compelling them to maintain their blameless Christian life and be innocent. They need to take every opportunity to share the Word of God and to be living by that Word, serving as illumination to those around them.

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[1]  This word is where we get our word Scolios – is a medical condition in which a person’s spine is curved from side to side. Although it is a complex three-dimensional deformity, on an X-ray, viewed from the rear, the spine of an individual with scoliosis can resemble an “S” or a “?”, rather than a straight line.

[2]  See Matthew 5:14-16; John 9:5; 2 Corinthians 4:6; and Ephesians 5:8.

[3] Elmer L. Towns, Praying Paul’s Letters: Book Seven in the Series Praying the Scriptures (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., 2008). Pages 180-181.

[4] Millard J. Erickson, The Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 168.

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