The Apostle Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, laid out a great treatise for Christian living in Phlp. 2:1-4. The first verse establishes the basic principle that a Christian ought to live and act as a Christian should. The next three verses lay out specific application according to this immediate context of scripture.
On the day of His ascension back to Heaven Jesus told His apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:15-16). What did Jesus mean when He told the apostles to preach the gospel to everybody everywhere?
The apostle Paul advised the Ephesians, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15-16). He exhorted the Christians at Colosse similarly, “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Col. 4:5-6). The wise man wrote, “Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.” (Prov. 4:26-27).
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matt. 5:14). In the immediate context of this verse Jesus set His followers in contrast with the rest of the world. This verse calls attention to a world that exists in darkness due to sin. The lives of followers of Jesus, in contrast, radiate the light of righteousness. The difference between His followers and the rest of the world is so stark that Jesus uses the illustration of a city built on a hillside. At night, when the sun goes down and the residents of the city light their homes for the evening, the city naturally stands out in the surrounding darkness. There is no way to hide a lit up city situated high up on a hillside at night. Its light calls obvious attention to itself.
Gary L. Hutchens