July 29, 2013
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Over the years, I have heard people say, “I don’t say much when it comes to being a witness for the Lord. I just let my life shine as my light.” They, of course, are referring to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:14 through 16, a part of the Sermon on the Mount:
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and
it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
“My life – the way I live – is my light,” is a common way of thinking. But it is flawed! If your light is your good works, then why does it say in verse 16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works…”? What Jesus says here separates good works and light!
Now good works are good! Paul writes in Galatians 6:10, “…as we have opportunity, let us do good to all….” As a matter of fact, good works must have a place in our salvation! It is not that we are saved by good works. We aren’t! We can never be good enough to achieve salvation by our works. Paul put it this way in Ephesians 2:8 through 10:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it
is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared
beforehand that we should walk in them.
Good works are not to procure salvation! They are to be manifest in your life and mine after salvation! So important are good works manifested in the Christian life that James says in James 2:20 and 26, “…faith without works is dead….” If there are no good works in your Christian life, then your faith is false, empty and dead!
Just what are good works by Biblical standards? James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit ophans and widows in their troubles, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Paul gives a longer list in Ephesians 5:2 through 4 and another in I Thessalonians 5:14 through 22:
…walk in love, as Christ also has loved us….But fornication, and all uncleanness
or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;
neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor course jesting, which are not fitting,
but rather giving of thanks.
Be at peace among yourselves….warn them that are unruly, comfort the faint-
hearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for
evil to anyone; but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the
will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise
prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form
This certainly is not an exhaustive list of good deeds that should characterize a believer’s life. There are many more lists that could be developed, and many examples that could be lifted up. But this, perhaps, will give you an idea of some of the works that a Godly life should manifest.
Back to our Matthew 5 scripture: You see, when you do something good for another person – maybe taking a meal to someone who is sick and shut it – that one may look upon what you have done and say, “What a good person you are!” Who, then, gets the glory? But if we add light to our good works by saying something like, “I am doing this because I am a Christian – because Jesus has saved me and God has changed me,” then who gets the glory? God gets the glory, not us! So your light shining before others is you adding words to your deeds to direct people to look to God, not us!
If you have been thinking that your life – the deeds that you do – are your light, your Christian testimony and witness, then you need to Add Illumination To Light! “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).