Posted by: austend | Tuesday, March 4, 2008

You are the Light of the World

I recently heard a message by Rick Holland, pastor of Crossroads at Grace Community Church, and he gave me a good reminder of something that it is all too easy for us to forget. Not only are we as believers a witness to unbelievers that they can be saved, but we are also a condemnation to unbelievers that they must be saved or else face God’s judgment. This is what Paul had in mind when he said in 2 Corinthians 2.15-16,

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.

We are a conscience to them. When we are around an unbeliever, he ought to smell the smell of putrid decay—his own soul dying eternally—because when he sees us, he sees life when he himself is dying. If he does not turn to God for salvation, he will face God’s severe wrath against sin. We as saved sinners are a testimony to this.

But how can we be a conscience to unbelievers when we look just like them, sound just like them, and act just like them? Far too often we don’t smell any different than they because we are not acting as witnesses against their sin and their lost condition. Too often we are engaged in the same wicked things they enjoy. We are participating in the acts for which Christ had to die. We are not being patient, slow to anger, abhorring what is evil. We are caught up in pride, self-glorification, immorality, deceit, and greed. How, then, are we any different than they?

It is our duty before God to bear witness to this generation that they can be saved and against this generation that they must be saved. Are you being a conscience daily to your friends and coworkers? Do they see Christ in you and hate it? Or are they totally comfortable around you? Are you different from them? Don’t neglect your calling. Their eternal destinies are in the balance. Do not conform to the way of the world. Be righteous before them. They may slander you and hate you, but they can only be saved when they realize they are lost, and they cannot realize they are lost until they understand their sinful condition before Holy God. You are the instrument of that realization for them.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5.13-16)

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