Most Christians are familiar with the Scripture where Jesus designates us as the “Salt of the Earth.” But many interpret this designation as a paraphrase of the following verses, which designate us as the “Light of the World.” While both designations are relevant and important, there is a distinct difference between the two of them. This Scripture is found in the 5th Chapter of Matthew, verses 13-16:
13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. NKJV
As the Light of the World we are instructed to let our lights shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify God. Needless to say, this is an important mission put forth for each of us individually and for the church as a whole. We should serve as models for the world to see and to emulate as we follow Christ and the examples and instructions He left for us.
But His designation for our being the Salt of the Earth goes much further than that. While our being light enables others to clearly see the lives we live, our being salt places a burden for accomplishing something much more. In order to understand this, we must examine what salt is expected to accomplish. We do this by examining the characteristics of salt, which are:
1. Salt Seasons.
This establishes our responsibility as Christians individually and the church as a unit to engage ourselves in the affairs of the communities and our government to influence them to use and retain Biblical standards within our culture. This includes our petitioning our government to use these standards and to develop and enforce laws that are consistent with Scripture. The church and its commitment to Biblical principles is the ultimate seasoning within our society and we should relentlessly exercise that spiritual authority.
It’s easy to recognize the need for the seasoning by the influences of the church by simply looking around, or turning on our television sets and observing the degradation of our moral and ethical standards that have been the norm for many generations. Had the church actually served as the seasoning for our nation, much of what we observe could have been deterred or mitigated, and what we see on the news shows, along with what has now become normal programming on television and in our movies would have been unacceptable to American audiences.
Since our youth is so impressionable, whatever is presented to them through such media naturally becomes a normal part of their lifestyles and serves to dictate their morals. And this has led to an increasing deterioration of the moral standards throughout our society.
2. Salt Preserves.
This establishes our responsibility to press for the continuance of a Biblically-based society. In carrying out this responsibility, we must impress upon our communities and our government that we should preserve our commitment to Biblical standards and our ability to worship freely. Without this preservation, our society will naturally degrade into atheism or idol worship.
Instead, what we have seen is that the principles and moral standards have been steadily deteriorating. This is sadly true for the ethical standards for our leaders. Whereas in the not-too-distant past, it was statistically rare to see news stories of our leaders being charged with major improprieties, it has now become so commonplace that most of us are no longer surprised to hear stories of leaders being charged with fraud, extortion, indecencies or other acts that would have been seldom reported. Nowadays, not only are they regular occurrences, but they are often treated as small “bumps in the road” and somewhat acceptable, seemingly even expected of our leaders.
3. Salt Irritates.
Anyone who has ever had salt get into a wound knows that salt irritates. The open wounds created by the pressure of Christians to uphold Godly principles will serve as an irritant to those who are attempting to eliminate those influences. So as the world continues to drift away from God’s principles, the influences of the church will be an irritant and will naturally result in a backlash against Christians. But the church must be steadfast in its determination to be that influence that’s needed to hold our nation accountable to God in obeying His Will.
The amount of irritation the church causes within our society should indicate the extent of the effects against the deterioration of our society, as this would naturally cause an outcry against the church. This irritation is now causing a backlash against the church’s efforts and resulting in laws being changed to enable the continuance of the movement away from God’s principles. Despite this backlash, the church must continue to forge ahead with our mission of holding up a standard of righteousness.
4. Salt Creates Thirst.
Of course, the ultimate goal of the church is that our presence and our influences will generate a thirst for a relationship with Christ for those who have observed our steadfast adherence to Godly principles. Here is where the importance of our role as the “Light of the World” is manifested. We must “let our lights so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.”
Our hope is that our commitment to Godly principles, Christian unity, perseverance and devotion to our duties will be a magnetic force for those who have resisted God’s Laws. Even though many pretend to be happy with their lifestyles and commitments to the deterioration of our morals and culture, much of this is merely a facade, and many of them are searching for something that will bring them true peace, and what they don’t yet realize is the absence of God in their lives.