13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? … 14 “You are the light of the world.
…16 …let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5 (Bold added)
Let’s continue our Spiritual Check-Up, examining ourselves to see if we are growing closer to Jesus in our spiritual journey. Or perhaps you’ve stalled out, which in reality means you are backsliding, because there is no treading water in the whitewater rapids of this God-forsaken culture in which we live.
You are either swimming against the culture’s current or you are being swept down the broad river to the C- life.
God asks us to stay in touch with where we are when he says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?”1
The next question we want to ask ourselves is:
Has God been able to use you to shine his Light into someone else’s life?2
I lived the C- life, even the F life at times, before Jesus shined his Light into my life. (i.e. I was born again) But now I can see the path to the A+ Life to the Full Jesus promised, and I can see it is paved with two truths:
These truths are bathed with grace through your Heavenly Father’s loving assurance, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus …”3
“No condemnation?” Did you know this? Do you live this? Do you actually live as though there is no condemnation from your Heavenly Father? If so, this would radically change the way you view the world. Your joy and your gratitude would transform you.
And, as importantly, you would then naturally shine this grace-full truth of no condemnation into the lives of those around you.
There is an incredible freedom here. Don’t you want this? Freedom from condemnation, and freedom for others not to feel condemned by God … and certainly not by you. Instead God wants you to shine his Light through grace, and he means an abundance of grace, yet with a sprinkling of truth to add the seasoning of Light:
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”4
Full of grace … no condemnation. Do you think most people would associate these ideas with Christians? Or Christianity? Or you? The fault is with us. Certainly not with Jesus. Everyone who encountered Jesus liked Jesus, and liked him a lot! Except those … of you? … who thought they were already performing pretty darn well without him.
“Let our conversations be always full of grace, yet seasoned with salt.” Imagine a bowl of mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes are the grace, and the truth is the salt. We all know mashed potatoes with no salt are bland and not particularly tasty, but we also know too much salt makes the mashed potatoes bitter.
And so it is to be with all our conversations. We “always” overwhelm anyone we encounter with grace, yet we look for opportunities to shine the Light of Truth into their life: sprinkled as seasoning, mind you, not dumped on them in condemnation.
There will be a time for the truth in love when needed, but every time is a time for grace. If you think I’m being soft, I’m just following God’s orders: “full of grace, yet seasoned with salt.”
Let Jesus convict by seasoning truth; we overwhelm with grace. Jesus convicts, not condemns. Jesus convicts tenderly but truthfully. We tend to condemn harshly and with little grace.
So grace says, “there is now no condemnation ….” The salt … the truth … says, only “for those who are in Christ Jesus.” You must be in Christ Jesus, not just in church. You must be born again with his Spirit, just as Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”5
As we spend time in the coming weeks exploring these wonderful and freeing truths of No Condemnation and Conversations full of grace, we will listen in on a few encounters Jesus had, and how he lavished grace, and yet always spoke the convicting Truth.
Stay tuned for more!