Salt & Light to Glorify God
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:13–16
The following are my thoughts after another blessed Sunday at Ridgeview, where the worship, Pastor Mike’s message (click here to listen), a great testimony (click here to listen to that), and the remembrance of our Lord’s death through communion all came together to challenge and convict me to use words to influence others with the truth of the gospel.
The normal, dark, bland way of thinking and being might be described by simply reversing the beatitudes. Apart from Christ and his gospel, I consider myself as basically good. I might regret past mistakes but certainly nothing that rises to the level of mourning sin. My mind is continually focused on myself, and I even take the liberty of filtering God through my own standards of goodness and justice. To whatever extent that I desire righteousness, I look within. I may want to improve myself, but I will be the one doing it through my own efforts. Because I am self-focused and self-righteous, I have not experienced mercy and I have no reason beyond my own purposes to grant mercy. Purity of heart is not something I think about, my concept of purity comes from comparing myself with others. I desire peace and talk about peace but there is no true, lasting peace for me with God or with others. This is the normal, bland, dark way and it doesn’t stand out.
When I repent and believe in the gospel, all the above begins to change. Now I am fully aware of my spiritual poverty, I have nothing to commend myself to God! I’m deeply grieved by sin because of the offense it is to God and the cost it was to Jesus whom I love. My mind is now set on Christ my savior who I know to be always good, which makes me self-forgetful, humble, and gentle. I desperately desire the righteousness of Christ to flow out of a pure heart. Finally, because I have been shown such mercy and have true lasting peace, I am merciful to others and bring peace wherever I go. This way of thinking and being is abnormal, illuminating, and savory!
Because this way of living is so different, it will elicit a response from people. Sometimes it will bring hostility, persecution, and hate. And sometimes it will bring praise and glory. When praise and glory come, it might be tempting to keep that for me and let others believe that I’m a nice guy. Our text however commands that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. As Christians, keeping glory for ourselves that belongs entirely to Christ is unfitting and loathsome. One of the best safeguards to ensure God gets all the glory is by using words.
If we bear the name of Christ, the truth of Christ, and the love of Christ early and often in our words, while giving glory to Christ, then others will see and give glory to God alone as well.
If you are in Christ, you are salt and light and you have influence by the truth and power of the gospel. I loved the testimony we heard Sunday about the Paul/Timothy relationship simply being between those who are salt and light, or influencers for truth with one another. The speaker said that he doesn’t feel like a “Paul” to anyone, yet he chooses to systematically influence friends and family by sharing the word of God with them.
If you have to ask if the lights are on, then it’s not bright enough; and if you have to ask if salt has been added then it’s not salty enough.
As I listened to Pastor Mike’s sermon and the testimony that followed. I was challenged and encouraged to not waste the grace given to me by being bland and dim. And why would I settle to be a little bright and a little salty by myself when we can be very bright and very salty together?. If you have to ask if the lights are on, then it’s not bright enough; and if you have to ask if salt has been added then it’s not salty enough. I pray that together the people of Ridgeview would be like a city set on a hill shining for all to see. Let’s use illuminating, savory words of truth to influence others to follow Christ for the glory of God.