By Donald P. Ames
In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus referred to his followers as “the salt of the earth” and as “the light of the world.” Some-one wisely commented, “As salt, it is our duty to make the world thirsty for Christ.” Certainly that fits the context, as Jesus also said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they might see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
Peter said, “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear” (1 Pet. 3:1-2). Certainly we know the word is necessary (Rom. 10:17, 1:16), yet Peter here says that even if they can’t reach them with the word, their actions may be the influencing factor to lead them to the truth.
He also said, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:11-12). Again, it is our actions that will make them re-consider their charges, and ultimately lead to their obedience (that they might glorify, not fear, God in the day of visitation). Realizing the importance of what people look at, Jesus prayed the night before he was crucified, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe You sent Me” (John 17:20-21).
And he also said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). This love for one another, when seen by the world hungry for such love, motivates them to seek to learn more of that love, as John again says in 1 John 4:19: “We love Him because He first loved us.” “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (4:11). Can you not see the drawing power of such love being manifested to the world? Paul said, “You are our epistle, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ” (2 Cor. 3:2-3).
Is your life such as to have a wholesome effect on other Christians (i.e., to edify and build them up)? “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another . . .” (Heb. 10:24-25). Again Paul said, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all” (1 Thess. 5:14-15). Will it draw others to Christ, by how you live as a Christian? Will it cause them to glorify God for such godly examples of what Christianity is all about? Or, is it only fit to be cast out and “trampled underfoot by men” (Matt. 5:13)? Again, Peter says, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again en-tangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (2 Pet. 2:20-22). Jesus said, “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matt. 18:7).
Let us truly try to live in such a way that we might make others thirsty for Christ!
Guardian of Truth XL: 11 p. 11
June 6, 1996