Core Affirmation: Because God has blessed us, we salt the world and shine brightly for the cause of Jesus on behalf of others.
Plot Line: *The Beatitudes are an invitation to be what we already are in Christ Jesus. We are salt. We are light. *On the one hand, sadly, Christians who have not carried the name of Christ honorably are not without effect. *On the other hand, now that you are a flourishing person in Jesus Christ, now that you are a person living the blessed life, you are called to impact the world. * And if you are salt and light, the flourishing of God’s life will spread to others.
Matthew 5:13 ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
* The Beatitudes are an invitation to be what we already are in Christ Jesus. We are salt. And we are light. One of my favorite authors on the Sermon on the Mount, Jonathan Pennington says it this way, “The Beatitudes are an invitation to the way of being that will result in their flourishing, while the salt and light statements are the spreading of this flourishing to the world through witness, deed, and invitation to the same.”
- Salt has the power to accomplish three tasks—flavor, antiseptic, and preserve. These last two functions are possible because of salt’s inherent properties that attack corruption. Salt provides First, salt provides some of the basic body fluids with the elements needed for good health. Second, salt prevents corruption and petrification. That is why in the OT, salt is used when establishing covenant as a sign of loyalty (Lev 2:13; Num. 18:19; 2 Chron. 13:5; Ezra 4:14). Especially as the two metaphors, salt and light, are coupled together to accomplish the same purpose.
- The Light metaphor is already established by Matthew’s use of Isaiah. For example, Matthew 4:26 (Isa. 9:1; cf. 42:6 [1–10]; 49:6; 60:21). We are called to be light bearers with Jesus.
- Take for example a sealed dark box with no light. It is filled with absolute darkness. By taking a pin and piercing the side, you have not allowed any of the darkness to escape. But the light will penetrate the darkness. Much like the light set on a table that illuminates the whole room. Like a streetlamp in a dark deserted corner, it attracts you to it. The street corner light protects you from all that might lurk down dark alleys. We are the light to a dark world like the moon is a light to the darkness at night. The moon reflects the light of the Sun without any inherent ability to give a light of its own. And the light it reflects is all to the power and glory of the sun.
The Beatitudes say, “Blessed are you …” Our identity in Jesus Christ flourishes because of whom God blessed us to be.
* On the one hand, sadly, Christians who have not carried the name of Christ honorably are not without effect. This Christian has a negative influence that has damaged severely the cause of Christ.
- Salt that has lost its savor.
- This is the one who tries to hide his light under the bushel. He does not use his influence.
- Remember influence whether good or bad cannot be hidden. The city lights shine brightly in both the shining city and the slum.
- On the one hand, Christians have often lived dishonorable lives.
* On the other hand, now that you are a flourishing person in Jesus Christ, now that you are a person living a blessed and honorable life you are called to impact the world. Now that we are salt and light, in what capacities is that impact expressed? Explicitly, Jesus says, “good deeds.” If I use the Beatitudes as my guide to being salt and light, the effect will be seen by …
- By lifting up those who are poor in spirit.
- By caring for those who suffer loss and grieve.
- By valuing those who are dispossessed.
- By seeking to do justice toward those who are wronged and treated falsely.
- By showing mercy toward those who seek mercy.
- By having integrity with those who are pure in heart.
- By being peacemakers toward those who live in conflict.
- By standing strong when others oppose your witness
- By courageously standing with others who are oppressed.
You are salt and light already. Jesus is not challenging you to try harder. You are a blessed person now in God’s Kingdom; therefore, live in the new reality of who you are in Jesus.
* And if you are salt and light, the flourishing of God’s life will spread to others. As God has given to you and blessed you with every spiritual blessing, you in turn bless others all to the glory of God. Because God has blessed us, we are called to be salt and light in this world all for the glory of God. If we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, and we are expected to exhibit our heavenly citizenship. In this world’s deep darkness, the light from even a dim lamp gives off an incredible brilliance. Others will find their way by our glow. If you are blessed, be a blessing. Blessed be God!
 Pennington, Sermon on the Mount, 119.