Be On Your Guard, But Shine!
The Apostle Paul, writing to the young preacher Timothy, made this statement in the context of instructing Timothy with regards to the way people should conduct themselves in the church. In Ch 5, vs 22, Paul says ..."and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure." Then, in vs 24-25 he says, "The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever."
Scripture contains numerous references such as this one, where Christians are warned to be on their guard, in some cases being told to "avoid" or "stay away" or "have nothing to do with" certain people who are blatant in their sin. The warning is always given because we can become an accomplice with such people, either wittingly or unwittingly.
Some people do blatantly sin, and I think you'll agree with me that some don't mind that being evident. Yet others are more subtle, and these are the ones that are of a greater threat to our Christian living, because we may be caught up with them if we let our guard down. The sins of some judge them as they go along, yet others hide their sin well enough that it may well be judgment day before their sin catches up with them if they remain unrepentant.
But in the last sentence of this section, Paul also says good deeds are much the same way. With some, they can be seen right off, they are obvious, and they are there for all to witness while others may be hidden for a while, but will become evident in due time. This is good, when the productive and fruitful deeds of Christians are seen as Christ commands in Matthew 5:16, for the glory of God, and in 1 Peter 2:12, where again Christians are told to live such good lives that even the pagans must admit to good deeds done for God's glory.
When the unbelieving and purposeful deniers of God witness the good deeds of Christians in contrast to the wrongful actions of those whose sin is blatant, God gets the credit for the good, God gets the glory for the righteousness, and God is pleased. Sin is likewise on display for the evil that it is, and no one can deny that either.
May our lights shine bright in dark places for the glory of God.