In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus says that Christians are “salt” and “light”. Those are both forces of change that influence everything they touch. But Jesus added to His description that we aren’t to be just any ole kind of salt and light. He demands that we be salt that doesn’t lose its saltiness and light that isn’t hidden.
So in light of that specific instruction, last Sunday, I called our church to consider how Jesus wants us to live out that reality with reference to the hot button moral issues being wrestled over in our culture today (like homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion rights, etc.).
Since being salt and light in today’s culture means Christians influencing everyone we touch for God’s glory, the demand on us is more than simply to hold the correct biblical view on the moral issue. Merely denouncing the issue as sin is not enough. That doesn’t bring the salt and light of the gospel into contact with the unbelievers who hold those unbiblical views.
In the preceding part of His sermon on the mount, Jesus gave us specific instruction on how we are to live out the gospel in our lives so that we are actually salt and light that influences people for God’s glory. Here’s a brief look at what I think that means for us.
Living a gospel-centered life means we are:
- Poor in spirit not proud in spirit (v.3). We acknowledge we are just as sinful as the homosexual, abortionist, etc.
- Mournful of our poor spirit not boastful of our superiority (v.4). We are saddened by our own sinfulness equal to or more than our sadness over their sin.
- Gentle not forceful (v.5). We do not push forcefully for them to change their view but trust God to do it when He wishes. He alone is able.
- Desiring Christlikeness more than nostalgia (v.6). We want Christ’s righteousness to be exalted more than we want America to return to the way it used to be.
- Merciful not vindictive (v.7). We are more ready to give kindness to the one with the opposing view than condemnation.
- Pure in heart not self-promoting (v.8). We desire God’s highest aim which is His glory being exalted more than our wish of seeing someone change their mind on the issue.
- Peacemakers not fighters (v.9). We are more concerned about building friendships and showing peace than about announcing who we disagree with and why.
- Persecuted not sheltered (v.10-12). When we proclaim the gospel boldly, we will receive persecution as did our Savior so we receive it without anger or retaliation.
I think that the more we seek to live out the realities of the gospel in these ways the more we will see the power of the gospel influence people in our culture including those with whom we disagree. The more we do the opposites of these the less we will see gospel influence coming from our lives. In no way am I suggesting that we close our mouths! Rather that we speak more clearly about the gospel and live more genuinely what the gospel demands of us as redeemed sinners.