Summary: A Christian goes beyond what is required by the Law. He is not only righteous in appearance, in action, but in character, obedient to God on the inside.
The Internal Law of the Kingdom of God (the Law of the Heart)
A soldier in the time of war got a letter from his fiancé, saying he has met someone else and wants to call off the marriage. So she asked for the engagement ring and her picture, so that she might have use for it in the future. He was really depressed about this. As he spoke to other soldiers, they said this is what you should do. They gave the pictures of their girlfriends to him and said, “Send a letter back with all these pictures.” So he wrote to her saying, “I am sorry I know I have to send the ring and your picture back, but I do not remember which one you are, please take your picture and send others back to me!”
There is a saying that vengeance is sweet. How we respond is very important, and I am not sure how the soldier responded is according to how Jesus taught us to respond in the Sermon on the Mount.
John said, “The Law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” We are going to see what is said in the Law of Moses and Jesus’ description of how a child of God should behave that is something beyond the Law of Moses.
In verse 13 of chapter 5 Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” and “You are the light of the world, A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
As a child of God:
1. Who are you?
2. What do you think about?
3. What do you look at?
4. What do you say?
5. How do you respond?
1. Who are you?
Salt and Light – Matthew 5:13-20
Jesus says in verse 13 and 14 who you are. It is a statement of being. He begins with how we should behave with the statement of who we are – Ontological anthropology.
We are the salt and the light of the world. People who do not follow Jesus are not the salt and the light of the world.
Some similarities between the two:
• Salt and light both preserve and disinfect. Salt in meat is used to preserve and added for better taste. Light is used for similar purpose; a beam of ultra-violet light in a biological research lab is used to kill viruses.
• Salt and light add spice and beauty. A good meal which has a variety of herbs and salt and spices really tastes good.
I once visited the Yosemite National Park in California. We got there at night and we could not see a thing. You have to travel through a tunnel, which is tunneled through a solid rock but as you come out, you see this beautiful valley with waterfalls and everything. But in the darkness we could not see any of these until we woke up the next morning and saw this breathtaking beauty!
In the darkness you do not see beauty or the glory that surrounds you. But light reveals it.
Some dissimilarity between the two:
Salt must become invisible to do its work. If you see salt on your food there is too much salt.
Light must be visible. Light does not help you see unless the cover is taken off.
There is a place for the follower of Jesus to work invisibly, being salt, and also visibly, being the light.
We must learn to be humble enough to avoid the limelight, and be bold enough to be the light, when our testimony needs to shine so that others can be drawn to Christ.
This principle, the ontological anthropology (the description of who we are as humans) results in all that follows in the chapter - the application of who we are to what we do-how salt & light lives in the world. All that we will see later on in following chapters is based on this principle – “You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world, therefore this is how you should behave.”
The Children of the Kingdom are Salt and Light, therefore they are Law keepers and teachers (Matthew 5:17-20).
Jesus came not to destroy the Law but to fulfill the Law. All the sacrificial system mentioned in the Old Testament was fulfilled by Jesus. He fulfilled what the Justice of God demanded by dying on the Cross. He overcame the power of the law which brings death by rising again from death. So the law of the New Covenant is deeply rooted in the Law of Moses. “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:19.