One day, years back, I was at best buy getting a stereo installed in the old church van. I sat in the shop and waited for them to complete the work. As I waited, another man too was sitting nearby, and seeing the church van, he decided to jump immediately into a “conversation” about doctrine! That doesn’t happen every day! This man did not come with questions he wanted to ask, but points he wanted to make. As far as I could pinpoint (though he would not clarify) he belonged to some kind of group like the Jehovah’s witnesses or similar. If you’ve ever had a confrontation like this you will know that the intended goal is often to initially create uncertainty in the listener’s core beliefs so then to have the opportunity to enlighten them to the what “is actually true”. Since there is so much history involved in Christianity the work can be an effective tactic if the target isn’t prepared. The man (I’ll call him young cause I remember him being slightly younger than me, and clearly I am not old!) first wanted to attack the Name of Jesus and ask why I embraced a non-Jewish name for Him. He was implying that the Jewish name Yeshua does not translate to Jesus but rather to Joshua. I stopped him in his discourse and directed his attention to an object. I asked him what the concrete post was that was about 4 feet in front of us. He was confused (probably perturbed) by my question and said it was a post. I rebutted that someone else might call it a pylon or pole. I then asked if then calling it by a different name would change what it was. He saw where I was going but I persisted and said that if they did call it something different it would not change what it was. It was a post, and a post is a post. Similarly, there are different ways of pronouncing the Name of the Son of God in different languages, and even God uses different Names for Himself, yet none of these change the Person of Christ or God. The Son of God is the Son of God!
I wish I could say that my simple argument ended the efforts but it was a rather long conversation which I will not recount here.
The point is, when something is something, it is that thing and cannot stop being that thing.
Right? Confused? Me too!
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, Jesus lays out a series of statements that we’ve been using to see as the path to salvation…
Blessed are those who know they are broken.
Blessed are those who mourn that brokenness.
Blessed are those who know they cannot fix their brokenness.
Blessed are those who long to be healed and whole.
Blessed are those who have mercy on the brokenness of others, for they will receive mercy from God.
Blessed are those made perfectly whole and holy.
Blessed are those who want others to be healed.
Blessed are those who are misunderstood, persecuted, and hurt because they try to bring others to healing and mercy, because they are just like Jesus.
After this ladder of salvation, Jesus then tells His disciples what comes next. Now that they are His, forgiven of their brokenness and made to be pure in heart peacemakers, a new definition applies.
They are no longer sinners, but saints. Their brokenness is mended, now they are pure living examples of God’s goodness.
Now they shine.
Have you ever used a flashlight on a dark night? Ever put a lot of salt on food? The results are dramatic! Light vanquished darkness. Salt enlivens the taste buds.
Jesus is showing His disciples, and us, that when you step into faith in Him, the definition of who you are changes. This change becomes evident (like light in the dark or salt on the bland) and is undeniable unless… unless the person wants it to be hidden.
If a person does not want the attention (negative or positive) that comes with the transformation caused by amazing grace, then they might try to hide their brightness or water down their flavor.
Jesus says to do so is to sabotage the very healing work God is completing on your old broken self.
A believer must shine, a saint must stand out, because they are so very different than the brokenness around them.
A post is a post. A born-again believer is indeed salt and light in a dark and dying world.
So may we not hide what God has done and is continuing to do in us. True, the work goes on and it may not feel complete, but yet by living in the transformation we can bring glory and attention to the One who has mercy on all the broken.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.Matthew 5:13-16 NIV