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4. Christian salt and light at election time

Bible readings Matthew 5vs13-16; Colossians 3vs1-4; 22-25. My life alongside God's word, volume 1.

In Matthew 5:13-16 our Lord Jesus says His disciples are both “salt” and “light” in the world in which they live. Jesus uses common, everyday, household items to teach a very important lesson. It is as valid today as when He spoke.

A person living in a radically Christian way will be different from most of the people he or she lives amongst. Living this salt and light way, Christians can influence their country towards the values and standards of God’s kingdom. But, be warned, it is a costly way of life.

Salt loses itself – its own identity – in seasoning a meal, in preserving fish, in purifying a festering wound. God wants Christians to permeate society with His sweetness and purity. Salt gets so involved in its mission that it cannot return to just being salt. It gives itself away by following it’s calling to mix. Jesus calls to us, “Follow Me”. Live this sacrificial, self-denying way.

Light does not mix with darkness. One or the other will always prevail. God wants Christians to show they are His people by living “holy” lives. Holy lives radiate Christian light. God wants holy Christians to be noticed by everyone they meet – at home, at university, at work in factory or field, at community gatherings around a campfire, at church. He wants His people seen to be like Jesus in relation to their world. Light challenges darkness by its very presence. Light exposes. Light attracts. Light shows the way. Genuine Christian living will always point to our Lord Jesus. He is the only Way to God, John 14:6.

Like our Lord Jesus, who lived among sinners but influenced them for good, we must do the same. Jesus never let others influence Him for bad! Jesus did not isolate Himself from sinners. He went around doing good among them for so much of His ministry it was remembered, Acts 10:38.

Can we apply all of this to ourselves at any election time? I believe “Yes, we can”!

One elderly English Christian has written that there are six weapons Christians have to use in bringing about social change.[1] I will expand them:

  • Prayer – 1 Timothy 2:1-2, bowing down before God to seek His will, individually and corporately.

  • Evangelism (and discipleship) – 1 Peter 2:11-12, producing Holy Spirit changed fruitfulness, in being socially responsible Christian citizens.

  • Example – 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Timothy 4:12, influencing others as each Christian takes a responsible stand for Jesus.

  • Argument – 1 Peter 3:15-16, listening to those around and answering them in a gentle, God-honouring way.

  • Socio-political action John 13:12-17, serving others by being responsible citizens, exercising our democratic voice, both by voting and speaking out about current issues, always in a Christ-honouring way.

  • Suffering – Matthew 5:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:12-13, paying the price with no complaints! Our Lord suffered to bring us salvation. We are called to follow in His steps. The way of the cross does not promise to be easy!

“How is God using this upcoming election?”

This is a key question that every Sudanese and South Sudanese Christian must always ask. Whenever there is a general election in the United Kingdom, where I live, I ask a similar question of myself. Keep in mind Romans 13:1-7. Human authorities are all ultimately under God’s sovereign control. I am responsible to obey the elected British government, unless they require me to do something specifically against God’s commandments. The same is true for you towards the Sudanese or the South Sudanese governments, depending where you live.

When campaigning, or advising others in church and Christian Union, or voting, or receiving the results, Christians are asked by God to live Christianly. We must all be God-honouring through everything. God is working out His purposes. He is the ultimate and Sovereign power, Isaiah 46:8-10, 55:6-9.

Where does real power lie? How can we be a part of it?

In Colossians Paul writes to Christian slaves about how they can live Christianly in their life circumstances. “Rather than exercise revolutionary power, Christians proclaimed a transforming power. By their life and message they set a process in motion that eventually led to the abolition of slavery”.[2] Colossians 3:1-4, 22-25.

We must learn to reverence God by our lives – what we do and what we say. We must see ourselves as slaves of God first. We must serve others to please Him. Then our all-powerful God will take our Christ-honouring lives and use them to bring about the changes He wants in Sudan and South Sudan. He will do it in His time – and His time is always the right time.

So, during every election time, it is over to you.

You are the salt of the Sudan or South Sudan, and you are the light of the Sudan or South Sudan. Make sure you live the Christ-honouring way – and watch what your God will do!

Discussion questions:

1. If you don’t vote when you have the opportunity, what is that doing to your Christian salt

and light?

2. What do you think is the difference between a “revolutionary” power and a

“transforming” power?

3. Elections are only one day every several years. From the examples of salt and light, what

are Christians to do during those years in order to make their votes count on

polling day?

[1] John Stott The Living Church (Inter-Varsity Press: Nottingham) p. 144-148, 2007 [2] Arthur Patzia New International Bible Commentary Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (Carlisle: Paternoster) page 92, 1995.


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