At the dawn of creation, God entrusted His children with a command, giving them instruction to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
This command highlights God’s intention for humans to populate and steward the earth, taking care of its resources and creatures. While God declared His entire creation as “good,” His children were never meant to remain stagnant in one place. Their purpose was to cultivate the entire earth, mirroring the harmony and abundance of the Garden of Eden, and overseeing a created order that wholeheartedly submits to its loving Creator.
Two thousand years ago, Christ reiterated this foundational command during the Sermon on the Mount. He called upon Christians to actively engage with the culture, shining with the glory of God as temples of the Holy Spirit. He referred to Christ followers as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13).
Christians are to fulfill a threefold function akin to salt: preservation, enhancement, and cultivation. Each of these functions aligns with God’s cultural mandate for the Church. Similarly, as the light of the world, Christians have the authority to draw others to Christ through the actions of their lives pointing to Christ.
It is often overlooked that, in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ also addressed our identity according to God’s design. God’s commands are based on who we are and what He created us to be. We are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Understanding this identity is crucial to fulfilling God’s purposes. As the salt of the earth, the Church is tasked with preserving the truth, God’s Word, regardless of the cultural and political circumstances.
It is important to recognize that Satan’s deception in the Garden of Eden revolved around a denial of the truth. By tempting Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Satan sought to convince her that humans could determine what is good and evil for themselves. This act of deceit birthed the philosophy of moral subjectivism, where each person decides their definition of good. If truth is subjective, then humans can define good according to their own will rather than God’s will. Satan, in his first act of deception, earned the title “the father of lies.”
In today’s cultural landscape, there is a widespread debate over what is truly “good” and “true.” People with irreconcilable differences often use the same words, such as “freedom” and “justice,” to describe different moral positions. Abraham Lincoln acknowledged this phenomenon during the abolitionist movement, recognizing the stark contrast in interpretations of liberty. As children of God, it is our responsibility to preserve the truth amidst moral subjectivism.
The Church is not only called to preserve the truth but also to enhance the lives of those in our culture by being agents of positive change and influence. Humans are inherently social beings, as affirmed by Aristotle and echoed in Scripture. God designed us to form relationships and friendships, recognizing the goodness in being actively engaged with one another. Christians are sanctified in the truth, set apart by the finished work of the Cross, and sent into the world to demonstrate public faith. Through our actions and words, Christians bear the good fruits of the Spirit and advocate for the Word of God as the ultimate source of truth and spiritual liberty.
Engaging in public faith is vital in a cultural landscape where belief in God is declining. It is crucial to understand that even when a culture forgets God, the innate desire for humans to worship remains. Culture is defined by what it worships, and when false gods replace the one true God, confusion and chaos ensue. As we appeal to Jesus Christ to heal the hearts of a confused culture, we must demonstrate His love by living a public faith.
While engaging in the cultural battle, we Christians must be mindful of our attitudes. Justified indignation should not transform into wrath against fellow image-bearers of God. Christ calls His followers to show love to the weary-hearted. We advance our message of ultimate truth, rooted in God’s Word, because God’s design for humanity empowers humans and society to flourish. It is out of love and compassion that we refuse to abandon the truth.
In a world filled with moral relativism and cultural confusion, the role of Christians as the salt of the earth and the light of the world becomes increasingly crucial. We are called to be steadfast in preserving the truth, enhancing lives, and caring for a culture that aligns with God’s design. By engaging in public faith with love and grace, we have the opportunity to transform hearts, challenge the prevailing narratives of the day, and lead others to encounter the life-changing power of Christ.
As we navigate the challenges of the present age, let us remember that we have been entrusted with a divine mandate. We are not mere spectators in the cultural arena but active participants in God’s redemptive plan. By recognizing our calling as a divine mandate, we must also recognize that the call to be salt and light is not optional; it is binding and non-negotiable.
By embracing our identity as Christ followers, we can impact every sphere of society, bringing healing, hope, and restoration. Let us remain rooted in the unchanging truth of God’s Word, guided by the Holy Spirit, and united in love as we fulfill our calling to be the salt and light our world so desperately needs. May our lives reflect the glory of our Creator and draw others to the transformative power of His grace.