Salt and Light
What is it about Christians that makes them the salt of the earth and the light of the world? What will make the world taste the salt and see the light of Christ in us is how we should stand apart from the rest of the world in all areas of our lives. How we love others when it doesn’t make sense. How we forgive, how we can still have joy in our lives even when we are going through hard times. We walk in freedom because we are no longer slaves to ____________ (fill in the blank with your sin of choice).
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, “for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) That’s a reference to His saving righteousness which brings eternal life. But He also calls us to care about righteousness in this world. Just a few verses later he goes on to say:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bed. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Salt had two purposes in the Middle East of the first century. Because of the lack of refrigeration, salt was used to preserve food, especially meat, which would quickly spoil in the desert environment. Believers in Christ are preservatives to the world, preserving it from the sin and evil in the world.
Second, salt was used then, as now, as a flavor enhancer. In the same way that salt enhances the flavor of the food it seasons, the followers of Christ stand out as those who “enhance” the flavor of life in this world. Christians, living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to Christ, will inevitably influence the world for good, as salt has a positive influence on the flavor of the food it seasons. Where there is strife, we are to be peacemakers; where there is sorrow, we are to be the ministers of Christ, binding up wounds, and where there is hatred, we are to demonstrate the love of God in Christ, returning good for evil. To love our enemies.
In the analogy of light to the world, the good works of Christ’s followers are to shine for all to see. The presence of Christians in the world must be like a light in the darkness, not only in the sense that the truth of God’s Word brings light to the darkened hearts of sinful man (John 1:1-10), but also in the sense that our good deeds must be evident for all to see.
In other words, we don’t just live out our faith inside the walls of our churches and of our homes. We are not to be of the world, but we are to be in the world.
If we look, act and talk like the world, then we have lost our saltiness.
Does your life help point people to the light? Is there something different about you?
It seems, then, that the role of the Christian as salt and light in the world may be hindered or prevented through any choice to compromise or settle for that which is more convenient or comfortable, rather than that which is truly best and pleasing to the Lord. Only by remaining focused on Christ and being obedient to Him can we expect to remain salt and light in the world.
"We draw people to Christ, not by telling them how right we are and how wrong they are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they can't help but ask the source of the light."
When we are living our life for Jesus there should be an undeniable draw to Him and His Kingdom. Let us live a life that draws others in.