Friday, November 11, 2011

Being Salt and Light in the World

Chapter five - When Morality Would Be in Free Fall - from Dr. David Jeremiah's book I Never Thought I'd See The Day: Culture at the Crossroads shares some insight on what it means for Christians to be salt and light in the world.


[Following] God's moral standards is the only way to be strength and light in the world. It is different in that we don't try to follow the law to attain righteousness in God's sight, as Israel did. Instead, through our faith in Christ we are credited with His righteousness because He kept the law perfectly in our place. We now receive the law of God written on our minds and in our hearts. As Paul wrote, we do not nullify the law as Christians; rather, we uphold it (Romans 3:31). We do not keep the law to become the people of God but to manifest our relationship with God and to be salt and light in the world.

What does it mean to be salt and light in the world? Salt is strong because it overcomes bacteria that would cause food to rot and decompose. It is unique in that it adds flavor to food and creates thirst in those who consume it. We are to do the same. As we keep God's law and manifest His character, we preserve the character of His creation; we prevent the deterioration and degeneration of human society and we add a unique flavor to it. We hope to create a thirst for God in those whose lives we touch.

The role of light is obvious - to bring truth into spiritually dark places. And what truth are we to bring? To "love the LORD your God with all your hear, with all your soul, and with all your mind," and to "love our neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37, 39). Think how different the world would be if those two summary laws, on which "hang all the Law and the Prophets" (v.40), were kept by all the human race! And think how much more powerful and effective the Church of Jesus Christ would be if Christians were not bending God's rules to satisfy themselves.

Christians who decide to adjust their moral stance to align more favorably with that of the world would do well to remember Jesus' words at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount:

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heave; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. for I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds to righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20).

The Pharisees' moral standard was external. They carefully tithed in great detail, even down to giving a percentage of their herbs, while at the same time neglecting "the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith" (Matthew 23:23). They kept the letter of the law but ignored the spirit of it. They kept their hands clean but failed to cleanse their hearts (Matthew 23:27). They were guilty of the same thing for which their forefathers were condemned: honoring god with their lips while their hearts were far from Him (Isaiah 29:13).

The warning to today's church is this: Going through the motions of morality is not the morality God desires. Clean hands do not make a clean heart. but the opposite is true: Moral hearts will make moral hands. If we commit to keeping the spirit of the law, the letter of the law will, by default, be kept as well. and that is precisely the message Jesus delivered on that mountainside in Galilee.

Source: I Never Thought I'd See The Day: Culture at the Crossroads by David Jeremiah. Faithwords, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. October 2011, pp. 139-141


Susan Smith said...

Christine said, “Clean hands do not make a clean heart. but the opposite is true: Moral hearts will make moral hands. If we commit to keeping the spirit of the law, the letter of the law will, by default, be kept as well. and that is precisely the message Jesus delivered on that mountainside in Galilee.”

On this chilly Shabbat morning here in SC, I bundled up and took a solitary walk in my neighborhood. We have had a number of break-ins recently, including my own house. I enjoyed the bright sunlight and the cooler temperature. I also thought of things I am so thankful for like food to eat and a God (the ONE G-D of ISRAEL) who protects my life every day.

My thought is that it is time for neighbors to be neighbors again in America instead of being afraid of each other. I plan to walk more in the future. Our neighborhoods are as safe as we the people make them. “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

I love it when God’s grace shines through your words, Christine…the salt and the LIGHT too. Much love to you and all your readers from beautiful South Carolina in the USA! (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Susan! I'm so sorry to hear that your home was broken into! Are you alright?

I was on my way out the door when I read your comment and just got back.

Do you have someone who can stay with you? How did the criminal get in? Perhaps it is not a safe enough area for you to live anymore.

Hope you are OK.

Are the police on the case? Hope they catch the perp!

May God bless and protect you!

Susan Smith said...

Your love and concern have me laughing out loud, “hostess” as I have heard another one of your readers call you. You are simply beautiful Christine!

The criminal (one or more I do not know) got in by breaking down my heavy front door, dead bolt and all. It was standing wide open when I came home from school that day not long ago.

My friend, God (the ONE of ISRAEL) is my protector. Our neighborhoods are as safe as we make them by shining the LIGHT wherever we walk. I am as safe here as I was when I lived in JERUSALEM.

The manifested sin in ISRAEL is simply terrorism on a much more massive scale like rockets, bus bombings, murders, etc. The terrorism here in the USA appears to be more individualized, but the source is the same.

We have only one enemy, just as there is only ONE God, the ONE GOD of ISRAEL.

I did not allow the police to write a report. They are already onto the serial break-ins in the area, and I was thankful one of the officers helped me fix my door back securely. The Bible belt is a neat place to live… I like the culture here in this area of the USA.

BTW, the quote from your post inspired next week’s newsletter.

Believers are safe when they surrender all of life to the ONE who counts. It is well with my soul, Christine. Thank you for loving me as you do. Love never fails! You are a great blessing in my life and I am grateful to God for your friendship. I love you! (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Heh heh...yeah that's me...the "hostess with the mostest," except perhaps in the mind of a certain other person who frequents this blog.

I'm glad that you weren't home when the break in happened and that you are OK. Hope the police catch the culprit.

I'm glad to hear that something in Dr. Jeremiah's book helped to inspire your next newsletter! I look forward to reading it.

It has been raining here all day today, which is good for our landscaping. But the dogs are antsy since they can't go out and run around. I chase them around the house for a while to give them some exercise.

I am certainly grateful for your friendship, Susan. YOU are a blessing in my life! You always remind me of God's unfailing love and the grace that has been bestowed upon us by Jesus Christ! What in this world could possibly be better?

Love to you!