Your are salt… you are light
By Rev. Canon David B. Tabo-oy
You are like salt for the whole human race. But if salt loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. It has become worthless, so it is thrown out and people trample on it.
v14″You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. v15No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. v16In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-20
This Sunday is the fifth after Epiphany. Last Sunday was quite a confusion to some of my colleague clergy in the Episcopal Church. Those who are religious and so faithful in following the Book of Common Prayer Lectionary readings in the absence of the common Ordo Calendar… read and based their homilies on the appointed gospel reading for the fourth Sunday in Epiphany which is no mortal sin. The gospel is about the now famous Beatitudes found in the fifth chapter of the gospel of Matthew verses 1-12. Yet, last Sunday was also the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple. This is one of our Lord’s important life event on earth and is given prominence even on a Sunday which is considered as “little Easter” celebration. This corner already shared biblical and theological treatise on that event last week.
In continuation with the Beatitudes verses found in the first 12 verses of the 5th chapter of Matthew is our gospel lesson this Sunday. It tells us about being salt and light… and yes, about the fulfilment of the law as revealed in the Scriptures. Let me share expository on these lessons.
As salt is valuable to give flavour and to preserve from corruption, the indigenous people particularly in the Cordillera is very much acquainted with the “etag” as the salt’s wonderful work. Believers then and the church must be godly examples in the world and must resist the moral decay and corruption evident in society. This is telling us that to become lukewarm, will extinguish the power of the Holy Spirit and cease to resist the prevailing spirit in the world and consequently be trampled down by worldly agenda and will result to an ungodly society. And we know the dark results.
It is Christ’s intention that the spiritual requirement of God’s law be fulfilled in the lives of his followers as we read on verse 17 and following, “Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets. I have not come to do away with them, but to make their teachings come true. v18Remember that as long as heaven and earth last, not the least point nor the smallest detail of the Law will be done away with—not until the end of all things.a v19So then, whoever disobeys even the least important of the commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be least in the Kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys the Law and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the Kingdom of heaven. v20I tell you, then, that you will be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven only if you are more faithful than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees in doing what God requires.
The believer’s relation to the law involves the believers’ obligation to be consistent of the ethical and moral principles as set forth by God as revealed in the Scriptures. These laws reveal the nature and will of God for all people and will apply today. Believers must not view the law as a system of legal commandments by which to obtain merit (as we understand it in the corporate world) for forgiveness and salvation, v16Yet we know that a person is put right with God only through faith in Jesus Christ, never by doing what the Law requires. We, too, have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be put right with God through our faith in Christ, and not by doing what the Law requires. For no one is put right with God by doing what the Law requires… (v16) far as the Law is concerned, however, I am dead—killed by the Law itself—in order that I might live for God. I have been put to death with Christ on his cross, (v19) (Galatians 2:16,19).
Rather, the law must be seen as a moral code of those who are already in a saved relationship with God and who, by obeying it, express the life of Christ within themselves. Through faith in Christ, God becomes our Father. Therefore, our obedience as believers is done not only out of a relationship to God as a sovereign lawgiver, but also out of a relationship of children to their Father.
Jesus emphatically taught that doing the will of his heavenly Father is an ongoing condition of entering the kingdom of heaven.
You are SALT, You are LIGHT… of the world.
Let us pray.
Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.**