“In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah . . . and his wife Elizabeth . . . Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.” Luke 1:5-6
It makes a great deal of difference in what times and amid what circumstances and influences, a man lives. In days when godliness pervades society — it is not remarkable that one should live righteously. But when the times are ungodly, and the prevailing spirit is wickedness — the life which is holy and devout shines with rare splendor, like a lamp in the darkness.
Such were the times and the spirit of “the days of King Herod,” and such were the lives of the blameless elderly people, who are here mentioned. Amid the almost universal corruption of the society and religious leaders — they lived in piety and godly simplicity.
The lesson is — that it is not necessary for us to be and live like other people — if other people are not holy. The prevailing standard of living ought not to satisfy us — if the prevailing standard is below Scripture. No matter how corrupt the times — we should strive to live righteous and godly lives.
Nor is this impossible. God is able and willing to give us all the grace we need, to enable us to live a true and holy life — in the most unfavorable circumstances! God makes no mistakes in planting His people in this world. He does not put any of us in a spiritual climate in which we cannot grow into spiritual beauty and strength; and wherever He plants us — He sends the streams of grace to refresh and nourish us.
So, whatever our circumstances may be — it is possible for us to live a godly life! The darker the night of sin around us — the clearer and steadier should the light which streams from our life and conduct be.
Any Christian should be able to live godly — in the midst of friendly influences and favoring circumstances; but it is doubly important that we be loyal and true to Christ — when surrounded by an ungodly society.
J.R. Miller was a pastor and former editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication from 1880 to 1911. His works are now in the public domain.