“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor,
When Jesus began his famous sermon on the mount, who was he talking to? The Bible says that this sermon was spoken to his followers - in other words - his disciples (Matthew 5:1). These words were geared specifically for those who had given up everything to follow him and they still apply to his followers 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 flavour. But salt had many uses other than flavouring. It acted as a preservative, melted ice and was used to heal wounds. So it is a very good 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). Unfortunately, as the world has progressed and degenerated into apostasy and sexual immorality, some believers have "lost their saltiness", by embracing the world's values and beliefs and forgetting the most important message we have been commissioned to share - that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again, in order that all those in the world who accepted Him, would not perish (be eternally separated from God), but would receive everlasting life. This should be our main focus and message in this world. If we stop sharing this message 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.
This love and concern that drives the Christian message has been strong since the church began. 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 this world wants to hear. Instead, we are called intolerant bigots. 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 in a world that is intolerant to our message?
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."
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