‘You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world’. (Matthew 5:13-14 NRSV)
Many people in the world are looking for change. We see that evidenced in the Brexit decision, the fact that the majority of political parties in the UK have changed their leader since the last General Election, and in the election of Donald Trump to be the 45th President of the United States.
How about you as we approach 2107?
Do you long for change?
Thankfully the Gospel message is all about change. Biblical faith is always looking forward; it’s not about maintaining the status quo.
First, the gospel is about a changed life. The coming of Jesus has changed everything for us:
‘if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!’ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This means that gospel is to transform us from performing the works of the flesh,
‘fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these,’ (Galatians 5:19–21) to producing the fruit of the Spirit,
‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.’ (v.22-23)
The work of grace in us has to change our heart which in turn will change how we live.
But it’s not just Christians who undergo change; the gospel is also about a changed world.
A world where all nations will turn to the God of Israel (Isaiah 2:2), where there will be justice and peace (v.4), where weapons will be turned into productive instruments (v.4) and where people will walk in light, not darkness (v.5).
There will be a
‘new heaven and a new earth’ (Revelation 21:1), with no more death, no more mourning, no more pain, (v.4) and to top it all, God will be with us, and we will be his people (v.3).
What a wonderful future to look forward to; a future we can experience a taste of now, as God is with us in the Spirit of Christ and we are his people.
These two aspects of change mean that the gospel is not just about me and what God is doing in my life, but it’s also about what God is going to do for the whole world.
It also means that as a church we should be concerned with evangelising so that people come to faith, and we should also be concerned about the world around us; concerned for justice, fairness, and peace, for elevating pain and wiping away tears.
Doing these two things, evangelising and being concerned for the world around us, can change things for the better in year ahead; it’s a way we can be salt and light in a decaying and a dark world.
I for one vote for change in the coming year, but not as the world votes; how about you?
Father, help us to be agents of change for you by being salt and light in 2017.
Have a good year of change.