When Jesus delivered what we call the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5,6,7), He identified some of the characteristics that ought to belong to any and all who claim to be His disciples. Christian character should include poverty of spirit, sorrow for sin, strength under control, hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercifulness, purity of heart, ability to make peace and a loyalty that is not easily deflected (Matthew 5:3-12).
Then Jesus said to those who possess such character, “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world!” (vs.13-16). Here are two metaphors that illustrate the importance of Christian character. Historically, salt has served as a preservative. And of course, light illuminates the darkness.
Therefore, where Christian character resides, Christians exert a powerful and positive influence on the world around them. Christian presence in the world acts as a preservative within a sin corrupt world and as illumination to a sin darkened world. It is easy to become cynical about our ability to influence society in a positive way because we seem to be so few in number and the worldly influences are so great. However, Jesus had no doubt about our place. He did not say, “You might be the salt of the earth…” or “You probably will be…” Instead, Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”
But even then, our effectiveness is dependent on retaining our saltiness and shining our lights. We must be willing to hang on to God’s moral standard in the face of criticism. And we must be willing to let our Christian character be seen.
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth and the light the world.” The question is, “Will you be the salt of the earth and the light of the world?”