Jesus tells His disciples in His Sermon on the Mount, (especially Mt. 5:13-16), “You are the salt of the earth” (vs. 13), and “You are the light of the world” (vs. 14). He also in the same passage gives us some warnings and an assignment. His warnings are: “… if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?” (vs. 13); and, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, “ (vs. 14). His assignment is: “Let your shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (vs. 16).
But do people really see our good works and glorify our Father? I’m afraid the world looks at us rather, and laughs. I fear that in many ways, we American Christians have not heeded Jesus’ warnings nor carried out Jesus’ assignment very well. Although many of us are concerned with evangelism, and some are concerned with correct theology, and some are concerned with certain moral issues, very few of us seem to be concerned about being salt or light, and those who are, do not seem very concerned.
Perhaps our problem is not so much a lack of concern, but ignorance of how we should go about being salt or light, of how to let others see our good works and glorify our Father.
Well, how do we “shine”? What makes us different from our non-believing neighbors? Some would say it has to do with our habits of dress, or entertainment, or what we eat or drink, or don’t eat or drink. Others would say that it’s the political party we belong to. Or what “hot button issues” we are for or against.
I believe that one thing we must do is develop and adhere to a complete biblical ethical system if we are to be salt and light. Peter (echoing Jesus’ teachings) said “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evil doers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12).
March 27, 2006