Salt of the Earth
NCW 21, July 1995
Q. Jesus said that the saints are the "salt of the earth" (Matt.5:13). What actually does this mean?
Jesus compares the saints to both "salt" and "light". In these analogies He is showing that His people are distinct from other "salts" or "lights". There is only one "salt" and one "light" -- the truth has only one "flavour" and one "illumination".
There are many different kinds of light -- different colours and different intensities. Some kinds are stressful and others are practically invisible. The light of a Christian must be right in every respect. It is a single, constant, beam -- never changing, always enduring. It does not hurt the soul but nourishes it. Go into a discotheque and the eye is confronted with stroboscopic lights which have the effect of numbing the soul and making the spirit more susceptible to the evil influences of rock and other modern music. Watch stroboscopic light often enough and you'll get a headache. In the New Jerusalem it is light 24 hours a day -- there is no darkness (Rev.22:5). It is natural light -- the pure Light of Christ in both physical and spiritual aspects.
The analogy of salt used by Jesus is interesting. Some food tastes bland and uninteresting without salt. Add salt and it becomes instantly transformed. According to Talmudic tradition salt is the soul of something. Hence the proverb: "Shake the salt and throw the flesh to the dogs." When Jesus said: "Ye are the salt of the earth" He meant: "You are the soul of the earth...the flesh means nothing...flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God". In other words the New Covenant Christian, born again of the Holy Spirit unto the transformation of his soul, is to inject that soul, heart, or spirit into the world. As God takes the dust of the earth and breathes life into it, we -- the saints of God -- are to take the things of this world and savour them with salt or soul -- make them come alive. We are to transform our relationships, our marriages, our speech, our deeds, our everything. We are to breathe light and soul into that which is dead because of sin. In short, we are to ignite other souls with the Light of Christ as Christ has ignited us. We are to be a leaven transforming all around us. We are to inject creativity in all we do -- in our homes, in our jobs, in our gardens, in everything...
And remember, it only takes a sprinkling of salt to transform a dull and tasteless piece of meat. What we salt is, in terms of size or proportion, far larger than the amount of salt we use. Only a little transforms everything. Only a little light empties the world of darkness. With a little you can light up a big social area. Only a pinch of soul-salt will savour the lives of hundreds, or even thousands. Does that encourage you? It should. You may think you're insignificant and in a way you are -- but with a little bit of Christ you become a veritable lighthouse illuminating the way for many.
This page was created on 2 May 1998
Last updated on 2 May 1998
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