Immediately after the Beatitudes, Jesus was sure to clarify his relationship with the Law of Moses. He had not come to do away with the Law but to fulfil it, to help God’s people to live the Law as it was originally intended – not as a set of legalistic rules to be ticked off a list, but as signs of a heart that was devoted to God and filled with love for other people. For Jesus it was all about the heart, because when the heart is right, this overflows into our whole lives. Neuroscientists and psychologists are now discovering how right Jesus was – our behaviour is determined far more by our heart, by what we love or desire, than by what we think. When Jesus taught about God’s Reign, he started with calling us to love, and then explained what a love-filled life looks like by referring back to the law which, as he taught, can be summarised in the twin commandments to love God and love neighbour.

It is easy to make faith about what we think, determining whether we are “in” or “out” by certain ideas that we consider to be “essential” to faith. It is also easy to make faith about a list of rules that we either do or don’t do, and to view those who fail to follow our rules as “out” while we, who obey the rules, are “in”. These approaches were as common in Jesus’ day as they are in ours, but he taught a different path in which we seek to have our hearts so captured by the dream of God’s Reign that it becomes the motivation, the pattern, and the guide for all our thinking, doing, interacting, choosing and loving. And, when we are captivated by God’s Reign, our lives reflect the character and purpose of Christ to those around us in ways that bring life and blessing to them.

This week we explore what it means to be captured by God’s Reign so that we become salt and light in this world.

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