“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:14-18).
Hold on. Let me get this straight. Paul is commanding us to live blameless and innocent lives right smack dab in the middle of our crooked and twisted world. Right?
“So how, in heaven’s name, does he expect us to do this?” I’m so glad you asked! Let’s look closely at Paul’s answer, or yet again, God’s answer. It’s found in the first half of v. 16.
How do you “shine” in a sick, perverted, darkened world? By holding fast to the word that gives life! The key for us is the meaning of the word translated “holding fast.” It can mean to “hold fast” in the sense of guard and protect, but also to “hold forth” in the sense of make known and proclaim. Here, though, there is also the idea of “giving heed to” or “fixing one’s attention upon” (see 1 Timothy 4:16; Acts 3:5). Thus we are to explore it, explain it, embrace it, protect it, offer it to others by making it known, and focus upon it with dedication and devotion.
The “word of life” is both the good news of the gospel of what God has done for sinners in Jesus Christ as well as the word of revelation found in Scripture that explains what that gospel is. It is the word of “life” because it is there that we find truth regarding where life may be found, namely, in Christ. But it is also the word