Today there are more than 350,000 Christian churches across our land. In fact, you can hear the Gospel preached every hour through every communication means available. Christian men and women from America have also taken the Gospel of Christ throughout the world and raised up numerous ministries to meet the various needs of people.
Even as God obviously had a hand in America’s past, He challenges His church today to be the salt and light in our present troubled society. In Matthew 5:13-14 Jesus makes two of the most penetrating statements about Christians found anywhere in Scripture: “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world.”
Jesus gave us our perfect mission statement in these two short sentences. They require a lot of courage to live out and are quite demanding. Today, we will dive into the first portion of this mission, “You are the salt of the earth.” Our Lord is saying that Christians are the only people in this world who can preserve the good (our function as salt) and have the understanding to help in those areas that matter the most (our function as light). What a challenging and fulfilling adventure Christians are to have in this life on Earth.
For Jesus to use the world salt to describe one of the key functions in the life of a Christian is amazing. Only the wisdom of God could have known what we do today about salt. It is one of the most stable compounds on Earth. On its own, it will not lose its saltiness. Salt becomes ineffective only when it becomes contaminated. This occurs if it is mixed or diluted with some other material or chemical.
To not lose its effectiveness, salt has to remain essentially different from the medium in which it is placed. When kept in a pure condition, it only takes a small amount of salt to accomplish the purpose of adding flavor or acting as a preservative. If God’s people remain in a pure state, it will only take a few of us to make a major difference. History records this happening in the first century during the beginning of the church.
“But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything” (Matthew 5:13). There is a principle of life that Jesus is teaching here. If Christians assimilate something other than the purity of God’s word, we face a greater danger of becoming contaminated. Our influence in this world will only happen if we are distinctively different. “What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ ‘Therefore come out from them and separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you’ (2 Corinthians 6: 15-17).
Mixing the standards of the world with God’s standards in one of the major temptations the enemy is using today. It causes Christians to become contaminated and lose their “saltiness.” It is vital to our mission that we understand what being “the salt of the earth” entails. We must be a preserver of the good.
–Stay tuned for the next blog where we will discuss “being the light” of the world! —