For non-believers in the world, the greatest argument against the Christian life is the regular hypocrisy among Christians. Of course, we are not perfect people, and the Christian life is certainly one of struggle.
The greatest sign of being a believer is that you feel remorse and seek repentance when you doing something that you know is sin. But this remorse and repentance is not the end-all of the Christian life, particularly since we are called to live a life in the light. Paul says:
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 (Philippians 2:14-15).
We are called to be light in this dark world. We are not perfect, but we should make the constant strive to live like Christ, or in the words of Paul, work out our salvation with fear and trembling (verse 12).
Paul is not suggesting here that we have to earn our salvation in some way, but rather, that we are always striving for sanctification in our life. We should be people that have something inside of us so bright that our life becomes an expression of the love and character of Jesus. Let’s look at the statements Paul makes above.
Without Grumbling or Disputing
Though the common way to live in America is to work in a job we hate in order to have fun on the weekends, the Godly manner is rather to treat our occupation as a calling. Not just a calling to preach the Gospel, but to enjoy the work we do. Rather than complaining about our difficult day, perhaps we should rejoice that we have a job earn money to pay our expenses and probably have a little fun in the process. Can you imagine a workplace where people were grateful for the opportunity to work and quietly did their job? That would be a place a peace, and the ones who do complete their work in that manner have a subtle joy to themselves that show peace and love instead of turmoil. Show yourself blameless and innocent in this manner.
Living above reproach means that we are living our life as God commands and with integrity. The best example of a person that is not living above reproach is the classic road-rager with a Christian fish bumper sticker. I have also seen people with the fish on the business card but offering discounts on services for paying cash to keep the sale off the books. Living above reproach, rather, means that we obey the laws regardless as to whether someone is watching or not because you know that there is a God in heaven who seeks all things anyway.
We should not live our life seeing what we can get away with because we do not believe the rules, whether they God’s rules for morality or man’s laws that do not conflict with God’s. Paul reminds us to follow the laws of the government:
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves (Romans 13:1-2).
By always doing what is right, including obeying the speed limits, we prove ourselves to be children of the light.
Crooked and Perverse Generation
We are living in a crooked and perverse generation. A mantra I have heard recently in my time out west was that if “a cop didn’t see it, I didn’t do it.” That is a wicked way of living and it is one that only lives to serve yourself. A life of love, however, is one where you place the needs of others even before yourself. In a crooked generation, the people are always looking out for only their interests and anything that they can do to get ahead is worth it for their gain. We need to live contrary to this world that we were pulled from. Paul writes further:
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart (Ephesians 4:17-18).
We are specifically commanded to walk contrary to how we did as we were not saved. We should work to always be honoring God in what we do and by doing so, we will live a life without fault and cause the people around us to question what is it about us that looks so bright. And with that, our answer is simply that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and gave me hope.