As we read our text, we see in verse 15 the condition of the world in which Paul lived. Paul described it simply as crooked and perverse. We are familiar with the word crooked. It describes something that should take one form, straight, but instead presents itself in another form, crooked. We commonly use the word crooked to describe dishonest people or dishonest business practices. The word speaks of intentional deception.
Now consider the word perverse. It doesn't simply mean wicked or bad. It literally means distorted - something that should take one shape, but has been changed to take another. That was the world in which Paul lived. It was a world where people intentionally bent and distorted the truth to make it a lie. We note that Paul's generation was no different than previous generations. They too had "... changed the truth of God into a lie, ..." (Romans 1:25) Unfortunately, our world is the same today.
It is certainly no surprise that we live in a world of lies where the truth has been bent and distorted. Our fallen world began with a lie; and its ruler, Satan, is "... a liar, and the father of it." (John 8:44) The interesting thing, however, is to note that we are not here in this world by accident. Verse 13 of our text reminds us that God is actively working in us and He has us exactly where He wants us. We are here according to His will and His good pleasure. We are here on purpose and our purpose is to be shining lights in this crooked and perverse world!
My wife loves to visit lighthouses ... and we have visited several. I'm from Kansas. Guess how many lighthouses we have visited in Kansas? That's right, none! There are no lighthouses in Kansas because there are no ships that need to be directed away from the destructive power of dark and rocky coasts. A lighthouse amidst Kansas's beautiful and picturesque "amber waves of grain" would serve no purpose. However, a lighthouse located near the violent waves of a stormy sea, guiding ships away from a dark, dangerous, and rocky coast to a safe harbor, is essential! This illustrates why God has us here. This crooked and perverse world needs us, "the sons of God," to shine as lights. The greater the darkness, the greater the need for light.
For a believer, being a light is more than living a life that is blameless, harmless, and without rebuke. We are here, as shining lights, to perform a task. In John 17, as Jesus prepares to leave His disciples to minister in the midst of this crooked and perverse world, He prays to the Father on their behalf. In His prayer He says, "... I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; ..." (verse 8) Later in His prayer, He asks the Father to "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (verse 17) The Word of Life is the Word of Truth. It is the very opposite of crooked and distorted. It is exactly what this world needs and holding it forth is precisely why we are here!
Written by Larry Quinlan