“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-17 ESV
Yup that’s what it says in the text, good works.
Now, if I was a good evangelical I’d be disagreeing with this. After all, aren’t we put right with god though grace and not works?
But I am not that kind of evangelical. And the passage is not about our relationship with God. What Jesus was talking about above was our relationship with the world. Or more specifically with the people in the world.
EDIT: I got this wrong. That is the danger of following a train of thought, and writing things down as they occur to you, the text is clear that Jesus went up the mountain to escape the crowds, and taught his disciples. What follows is what I wrote, please ignore it.
It looks on the surface as instructions on how Christians, those who are already saved, are to behave. I can, of course be taken this way, but first it’s time to get a little context. This was not instructions in private to his disciples, Jesus was giving his talk out on a hillside to interested parties. Mostly ordinary people who, considering the time and location. would have been ordinary Jews, probably taught about the Jewish Law, Prophets and Writings, with occasional trips to Jerusalem to make sacrifices. Keep the law and make sacrifices, that was the way it was. “You are the salt of the earth/light of the world” was spoken to everyday Jews. And in that context it appears to me to be not about religious observance at all, but transparency. Be open in everything you do. Which is good advice. Be honest in what you do, including taking responsibility when you mess things up. Living openly could be what Jesus meant by being salt and light