A Christian and a Lost World
The great mass of people make few, if any claims to being religious, but such irreligious people need to be brought to Christ. This is necessary if their lives are to have real meaning and if they are to have hope of eternal life. Amid the great mass of people who are lost there are Christians who sustain a relationship to them. This relationship is treated in the book of Philippians, and it is to this that this article directs attention. What is a Christian in relation to a lost world?
First of all, Christians appear as moral discerners (Phil. 1:9-11). Necessary to his moral discernment, a Christian must abound in knowledge. This necessitates diligent study and meditation. This understanding and knowledge of truth enables a Christian to be in the position of distinguishing things that differ, so that he may put his approval on the things that excel in their value. Being thus filled with knowledge and discernment, a Christian can have the wonderful fruits of righteousness. When one makes the proper differentiation relative to matters of moral or spiritual nature, he, the Christian, can be sincere (pure), void of offense (not stumbling oneself nor causing others to), and filled with the fruits of righteousness (the state of heart and life resulting from yielding to God's will). A Christian is a debtor to the extent that he should demonstrate to the lost world that moral and spiritual discernment makes life mean what God intended it should.
Next, Christians' lives must be consistent with the gospel (Phil. 1:27). The expression manner of life refers to one's conduct; it must become the gospel of Christ. One will be met with fierce opposition at times, but he must be controlled by the gospel in such times. When one, as a Christian, is unfrightened in the face of determined opposition, but lives the gospel under such conditions, his conduct is an evident token or sign of the opposer's loss of well being and of the believer's deliverance or salvation. Because a Christian is a citizen of heaven (Phil. 3:20), he cannot, consistent with this heavenly citizenship, mind earthly things (Phil. 3:19). Consequently, he must set his affections on things which are above -- where Christ is seated at the right hand of God ( Col. 3:1-3). If we hope to show the world that is lost the way of truth and righteousness, we must live what the gospel demands of the believers.
Christians are also lights in the midst of a lost world ( Phil. 2:12-18). God works in Christians, to will and to work for His good pleasure. This happens when one yields himself to the mold or pattern of the gospel (Rom. 6:17). The world in which the Christian lives is crooked (curved; refers to moral matters) and perverse (distorted or twisted in a moral or spiritual sense). For this reason, Christians should do everything without murmurings (showing one's displeasure or complaining) and questionings (reasonings within oneself, a mental rebellion against God). This lack of murmurings and questionings is necessary if Christians are to be blameless (without fault), harmless (unmixed in the sense that evil or sin is not consistently a part of their lives), and unblameable (without moral blemish or spot). If one's life is thus adorned, he will be a light in the world. Literally, the word light means light-giver, shining in the spiritual darkness of the world. As the will of Christ is obeyed in one's life, he shows to the world that light which causes men to glorify God (Matt. 5:16). Thus a Christian holds forth the word of life. He makes men see the word that gives life to men. One illumined by the word of life becomes a light-giver to the world. This is what God intended, for He prepared good works for us to walk in (Eph. 2:10).
Christians should also give themselves to prayer (Phil. 4:6-7). Problems face every person, but a Christian has a different attitude than the person who walks without God. Christians are not distracted nor drawn in different directions, for their affections are above and their hearts are ruled by God. Consequently, in nothing are Christians anxious, but in everything with prayer and supplication they let their requests be made known to God. This they do with thanksgiving. Christians do all within their power, and then leave the rest to God, having made known their requests to Him. Why? Because they can cast all their cares upon the Lord, knowing that He cares for them (I Pet. 5:7). When one conducts himself according to this rule, he leaves the outcome with God, and inwardly he has the peace which passes understanding to guard his heart and thoughts in Christ (Phil. 4:7). This life of prayer and complete trust in God, with their consequent peace, have a tremendous effect on those who observe Christians. In relation to the lost world, each Christian should endeavor to show that calm, peace, and faith in God result in such a well-ordered and happy existence, even in the midst of trouble and trials that cause others to despair and faint.
Truth Magazine V:7, pp. 9-10