Jesus gave us the perfect mission statement in scripture when he said “you are the salt of the earth” and “you are the light of the world.” Let’s dig deeper into what it means to be the light.
Jesus then proclaimed that Christians are “the light of the world.” The world is in a state of darkness, even though its people are always talking about their enlightenment. There are many scriptures that confirm this truth. “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Colossians 1:13). “For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8). “But you are a chosen people…a people belonging to God…who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Only Christians have been brought into the light; the people of the world remain in spiritual darkness.
The world does not recognize its darkness, however. One of the catchphrases of the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries was that “knowledge brings light.” Many replaced God’s knowledge with man’s reasoning, placing human insight above God’s revealed wisdom. They replaced the worship of God with the worship of Man’s intellect.
Mankind does not realize that our knowledge has only increased our understanding of things-science, biology, commerce, pleasure, etc–not the real factors that are critical to the makeup of a successful and peaceful life. This is why the world’s vast accumulation of knowledge has only brought us to the many predicaments we see around us. We humans have failed in the most important area of all. We do not know what to do with our knowledge. Look at the failed relationships between people and nations. We don’t seem to understand that knowledge only give us the ability to analyze. It does not give us wisdom, therefore the answers as to what to do. Jesus taught that Christians should give off this light that the world so desperately needs.
The world does not have light because Jesus alone is the light of the world: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Only Christians can reflect the light and life of the Son of God. When a person is born again into His spiritual Kingdom, the Spirit of Jesus Christ begins to live in and through that individual. “Don’t you know that you your yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Christians are not the light of the world because of who we are, but because we reflect the nature and character of Him who move lives in us by His Spirit. Jesus said, “This is the verdict: Light (meaning Himself) has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done been done through God” (John 3:19-21).
As the light of Jesus Christ shines through us, it exposes the error of man’s way of thinking. That is why the pharisees and scribes, who supposedly had all the answers, hated Jesus so much. It is why the people of the world today, who still think they have the answers, hate many of the teachings found in scripture. Such a light exposes the sins of mankind that they do not want revealed.
–Stay tuned for part three of this blog series on “Salt and Light” where we will discuss why Jesus himself was our perfect example.–