By Roy Burner - Minister of the Gospel
Salt of the earth refers to the basic character of the Christian life. However, salt when exposed to worldly elements loses its potential for good. Has Christianity lost its effectiveness because of worldliness, in many Western nations, becoming more of an influence in the life of a believer?
Jesus said: You are the salt of the earth: but if salt has lost it savour by what shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men (Matthew 5:13).
You are the salt of the earth indicates that the genuinely born-again believer is as salt that can help meet the needs of the world. Salt adds flavoring, acts as a preservative, melts coldness, and heals wounds. This makes it an appropriate description of the believer in Christ and their relationship to the world in which they live.
A dictionary also identified salt as that which preserves from corruption; which purifies. The church, in many Western nations, is loosing sight of such terms as sanctification (being set aside from the world), holiness, and righteousness, by allowing itself to be entertained by worldly elements.
In the same text; as to one's being the salt of the earth, Jesus said: You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). This describes the essential mission of a Christian to the world.
The believer is as salt to meet the world's needs and has a mission (as light) to the world. The believer's light is to clearly shine forth into the darkness of human depravity. Darkness is the absence of light; and darkness alone cannot dispel the light, but the smallest light can dispel the greatest darkness.
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, wrote: To them that are sanctified (or set apart) by God, the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ, it is needful for me to write to you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 1:1-3).
Jude seen the Christian faith as definite and unchangeable. He also noted that certain men had crept in unnoticed, who were long ago marked out for condemnation, ungodly men turning the grace of God into lasciviousness (or toward immorality) (Jude 1:4).
He also revealed that Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities round about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication (or sexual immorality), going after strange flesh, were set forth for an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire (Jude 1:7).
Sodom and Gomorrah are often mentioned in the Scriptures as examples of God's severe judgment on sexual sin, in particular sexual perversion. For the believer in Christ to be the salt of the earth; or the light of the world, there is a need for separation from worldly elements that would dwarf such effectiveness.
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ asked: Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh (James 3:11-12).
This Scripture refers to one's chaste conversation; but could it not be in reference to one's commitment, as a Christian, living a separated life unto God? How can one identify themselves as a servant of the Lord without being Christlike in their daily walk (1 John 1:6)? What about testifying that one loves the Lord; with little or no separation from the world? Can a fountain send forth as the same place sweet water and bitter?
Jesus said: Salt is good; but if the salt have lost its saltiness, what shall it be seasoned (Luke 14:34)? This could be to illustrate the fact that one could lose out on what made them the salt of the earth to begin with. Once having possessed such a nature; allowing worldly elements to play into the picture, taking away one's previous commitment of a godly life in Christ.
Many churches, in Western nations, have declined in their commitment to the Lord by allowing worldly entertainment, and acceptance of ungodly ways, to filter in rather than their previous commitment as a sanctified church. Scripture reveals that Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it: that he might sanctify (or set apart) and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:26).
There is a reason why Christ wanted to sanctify and cleanse the church with the washing of water by the word: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that is should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:27).
Scripture reveals of a time that the fruit of righteousness will be turned into hemlock (Amos 6:12). When such an influence creeps into a church, oftentimes unawares, it creates a "Powerless Church." A dream captivated this thought in which the righteous man was ridiculed, of whose influence no longer had any effect. A church of pomp, and splendor, where true worship was taboo and sin no longer identified.
The apostle Paul also identified a time when the church would no longer endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers; having itching ears they shall turn away their ears from the truth (2 Timothy 4:1-4).
Preaching is the God-ordained means to prevent defection from the truth. Those who appeal to itching ears tell people what they want to hear; not what they need to hear, to be the salt of the earth and a light to the world!
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