That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the middle of a crooked and perverse nation…
1. This if taken generally is impossible. Even Christ did not live without blame (Hebrews 12:3). The best people are subject to most blame, for wicked people will quarrel with them.
2. But the meaning is so behave yourselves that you give no occasion of offence to your own conscience, or that of others.
II. HARMLESS. The property of Christians is to do no harm, because our nature is changed. The gospel makes us Came. Among birds, the wicked are likened to ravenous eagles, the Christians to harmless doves; among beasts, the one are like lions, the other like lambs; among plants, briars — lilies.
III. Christians that are blameless and harmless are THE SONS OF GOD.
1. The ground of this is the love of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1).
2. Those who are His sons —
(1) He renews to do His will and commandments (1 Peter 1:16).
(2) He gives them the spirit of prayer (Acts 9:11), by which we have constant access to Him (Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:8).
(3) He affords them sweet consolation (Romans 5:1).
(4) He saves from overmuch carefulness.
3. God's sons live without rebuke.
IV. The blameless and SONS OF GOD LIVE IN THE MIDST OF A CROOKED AND PERVERSE NATION.
1. The nature of this crookedness.
(1) It is in the will (Jeremiah 27:13; Matthew 23:37).
(2) In the affections. Men love their bane.
(3) In the life.
(4) As regards religion.
2. The signs.
(1) Bring thyself to the rules of God's truth; if thou do it unwillingly and shun the means of salvation, it is a sign thou art crooked.
(2) Do you tremble when the rules are applied to your lusts and corruptions.
3. The cure.
(1) Obedience to God's ordinance.
(2) Especially when young.
(3) Keep good company.
(4) Pray with the Psalmist (Psalm 119:5).
4. Why are Christians so placed?
(1) God hereby shows His power in that He can and doth preserve His children among lions.
(2) That condemnation of the wicked is hereby justified. They cannot say they were "without good examples."
(3) That ungodly men may be won.
(4) That Christians may be refined.
5. Directions for Christians so placed.
(1) Remember your calling as sons of God: don't disgrace it.
(2) Observe the people with whom you converse.
(3) Beware how you give them offence.
(4) Be warned by the example of David.
(5) Look to the duties of the second table.
(6) Use a loving carriage towards all.
V. In the midst of this nation THE SONS OF GOD ARE TO SHINE AS LIGHTS.
1. Light is —
(1) Excellent, showing the excellences of all creatures.
(3) A most comfortable thing in darkness.
(4) A quality of the surest motion.
(5) Hath a secret influence wherever it is. Herein Christians resemble light.
2. How to be a light.
(1) Communicate with the chiefest light.
(2) Use the means.
(3) Have no connection with the unfruitful works of darkness.
(4) Follow the example of those that He lights.
(5) Pray that thy light may grow more and more unto the perfect day.
(6) Enlighten thy brethren.
(R. Sibbes, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;