“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor,
When Jesus began his famous sermon on the mount, the Bible says that he was talking to his disciples - in other words - his followers (Matthew 5:1). These words were geared specifically for those who had given up everything to follow him, and they still apply to his disciples today.
Jesus calls all his followers to be salt and light to the world. So what does this mean for us today? During Jesus' time, most of the salt used in Israel came from the Dead Sea, so it was full of impurities and would lose some of its flavours. But salt had many uses other than flavouring. It acted as a preservative, melted ice and was used to heal wounds. So it is an excellent description of how the relationship of a believer in Christ should be toward the world.
By using salt as an example, Jesus was telling us that while we, like salt, are full of impurities (sin), we also bring a message that makes life better. However, we are in danger of losing our flavour, the longer we align ourselves with the world's values and beliefs. As disciples of Christ, we all have the same mission - to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15). This should be our main focus and message in the world. If we stop sharing this news, we lose our flavour and will be "good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men."
We are also called to be a light to the world. We are not to hide that light (our belief that Jesus is Lord and Saviour), but to share it with EVERYONE. This can be a scary thing in an age where Christians are no longer tolerated. But guess what? Christians have not been tolerated since the church began. They have been persecuted since the beginning and will continue to be persecuted until Jesus comes again.
We are commanded to "go into all the world and preach the gospel." And what is that gospel? It is the message that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners like you and me. His death took our sins to the cross and nailed them there. And His resurrection is the hope we share that God has redeemed us for Himself. This is love and is the reason why Jesus is called "the light of the world."
This message of redemption has never changed in its importance or in its urgency. It is why Antipas, whom Jesus speaks of in Revelation 2:13, was slowly roasted to death inside the statue of a bronze bull, the symbol and companion of Zeus. This happened in Pergamum, which, according to Jesus, "was the city where Satan lived." Antipas went to be a light in the darkness and was killed for it. It is why the Apostle John was boiled in oil, survived and was exiled to the island of Patmos. It is why the Apostle Peter was crucified upside down on a cross. This message of salvation in Jesus Christ has driven every Christian since the church began. It is why we risk death - so that no one should perish and be eternally separated from God.
The irony, of course, is that this message of light, love and life we are preaching is not a message the world wants to hear. Why? Because we are called to be salt (which can sting) and light (which exposes the darkness) in a world that is without morals, filled with darkness and given over to their sin nature. So how do we share the message of Jesus and be salt and light to a world that calls our news intolerant?
We do not attack others because of their lifestyles or their beliefs. In fact, the only ones Jesus ever attacked verbally by calling them names were the Temple priests and scribes (Matthew 12:34). We feed the homeless, care for the poor, visit the sick in hospital, or do something in our communities that would bring joy to others and show the love of Christ. So that when someone asks you why you do these things you will be able to say without fear, I do it because of Jesus. That is being a light, and it is in accordance with what Jesus commanded us, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."