By THE REV. LOU TISCIONE
The Christian faith is a step into the light, not a leap into the darkness. We who are Christians don’t possess a blind faith. We trust in what we have “learned, firmly believed and been convinced of.” 2 Timothy 3:14
It is difficult to live life denying the truth. It is not reasonable to assume that people willingly ignore the truth. Likewise, it is unreasonable to think that people don’t consider the character of leaders to be unimportant. We all face the challenge of discerning a person’s genuine character when called upon to select leaders.
The means of discerning a person’s character is not beyond our ability. The Bible gives the means by which character can be known. Past actions help to predict future behavior. Of course, there are no guarantees. We are not omniscient as God is. Yet, we can make reasonable decisions concerning a person’s character.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave a universal principle that will allow us to recognize a person’s character. Jesus’ principle concerns connecting past actions called fruits to assessments of character. The entire sermon was a teaching that Jesus gave to His disciples. Matthew sets the context on a mountainside. Jesus saw the crowds that were following Him, and He went up on the mountain and then He sat down. Matthew 5:2, “And he opened his mouth and taught them (his disciples)…”
This sermon was given by Jesus not as another Law but to describe His ethic or practice. In other words, Jesus laid out the standard of life in His Kingdom. He lived out what He preached. The purpose of His Sermon is to drive those who have been born again to their knees. We who profess the name of Christ do so by the sovereign grace of God who has raised us from death to life. We read the sermon and realize that it presents an impossible life-style. We are compelled to rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit of God in order to live the Christian life. Jesus was the only one who actually lived in accordance with His sermon.