“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 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.” (Philippians 2:14-16)
This is another one that leaves me a bit puzzled at first. Grumbling is a bit of a no-brainer for students of the Word. Scripture is clear God has as strong a dislike for grumbling as he has a great fondness of gratitude. But questioning? Anyone who has seen authority abused shivers in dread at this, and probably has even seen false teachers and spiritually abusive people use this verse used to silence opposition to their corruption. Indeed, blind obedience to human authority has gotten many a soldier justly tried and convicted for war crimes.
This verse begs–what does all things reference, who are we not to question? I suspect the answer is God and His word. Questioning can mean doubting and disputing, too. Often we ask questions or dispute over scripture, not to gain a better knowledge of God and his word, but in an attempt to get out of obeying God. It doesn’t work like that. God wants us to trust him. Sometimes we seek to understand mysteries when we should be simply following him in innocence.
We live in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. It heartens me to know that the Apostles had this opinion of the world of the Roman Empire, too–and even thought Christ would return in their life times because of the corruption of the Roman world they lived in. Yet Christ did not return as the Apostles hoped, and it took another 300-400 centuries for that corrupt empire to fall. So there may yet be time for our nation to repent.
In these frightening times, I take comfort in the fact other generations of Christians have also seen such corruption, yet the world went on as those particular civilizations fell. Today, God may choose to let our civilization fall while creation continues on, we may repent as a culture and return to Him, or He may instigate the final act of the play.
It is not for us to question this mystery or grumble against Him for the darkness. It is for us to shine in the world, holding fast to the word of life, knowing, one way or another, we shall see the day of Christ.