Salt of the Earth and Light of the World

by Mike Ratliff

And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:21-23 ESV)

In Ephesians 5:18 Christians are commanded to continually be filled with the Holy Spirit instead of being filled with the desires of the flesh. This filling by the Holy Spirit is best understood in two ways. The first is the Christian being driven into God’s will by the Holy Spirit filling his or her spiritual sails. The believer must raise these sails and that happens as he or she pursues holiness and obedience by God’s grace. The other way to understand this is the Holy Spirit seasoning the Christian as salt permeates meat in order to preserve it and make it savory. This permeation is part of the believer’s persevering, however, it also flavors him or her to have the same savor as Christ. In turn, the believer who is so filled with the Holy Spirit is also the salt of the earth.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16 ESV)

Uncontaminated salt cannot lose its effectiveness. Pure salt will always retain its qualities. However, it can become mixed with other minerals, such as gypsum, which dilutes its effectiveness. The believer who is spirit-filled will be to the world what the Holy Spirit is to him or her. They will have Christ’s savor. People will recognize that these have the mark of Christ in them. They will manifest His character and do things the way He would. They will love and forgive like He does. This is the role of the Christian in this world. What does it mean when our Lord tells us that this “salt” can lose its saltiness? It will only if it becomes contaminated by the things of this world. If that happens then it will no longer be effective as the salt of the earth. These become like the Ephesians our Lord rebuked in Revelation 2:1-7.

Salty Christians are also the light of the world. Their Christian duty is to season people with the salt of Heaven’s doctrine. By doing this, he or she will also reflect Christ’s light into the darkness of this lost and dying world.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:11-12 ESV)

Do you see that a holy life will enrage those who refuse to believe the Gospel? Those in the darkness of unbelief will persecute those who are salt and light because their very lives are provocation and an indictment against their unholy lifestyles and their rebellion. This is what the obedient, spirit-filled, abiding Christian is called to be and to do even in the face of those who hate the truth.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12 ESV)

In light of this, my brethren, we must not take the easy way out. We must focus on loving our Lord with our all and then love all around us the same way He would. As salt and light, we are His representatives with the duty to not hide His light from the world nor are we to become contaminated with the things of this world and so lose our savor.

Those who are no longer salty have also hidden their light under a basket. These got here many different ways. Some have simply become captured by their flesh and are no longer able to work at mortifying the sin that clings so close. On the other hand, many others have deliberately secularized the Gospel robbing the cross of Christ of its power through the contamination of human wisdom. Churches have become entertainment venues. At times it seems like the “whole world” has gone after this and numerous other false forms of Christianity. It can be quite discouraging my brethren. As I wrote and posted last night’s article, Have You Lost the Love You Had at First?, I found myself in the early stages of despair and depression. I was discouraged and like Elijah, I felt as if God’s people had abandoned Him.

And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (1 Kings 19:13-14 ESV)

I expressed this despair to God and to some friends and then one, sent by God, quoted 1 Kings 19:18.

“Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18 ESV)

My brethren, many may be following idolatrous forms of the non-gospel and chasing after entertainment “chirstianity,” but God has His remnant. We are not alone my brethren, therefore, by God’s grace let us determine to stand firm in His strength while we are the active salt of the earth and the light of the world no matter who hates us for it. We must continue to tell the truth to everyone. God may break through into some of those hearts to draw them into His light and wash them clean through His regeneration. Therefore, let us be salt and light for the rest of our time here.

Soli Deo Gloria!

13 thoughts on “Salt of the Earth and Light of the World

  1. Pingback: Salt of the Earth and Light of the World - Reformata

  2. Mr. Ratliff don’t despair. If you only knew how much the Lord has used your post for my encouragement, and conviction I’m sure it would bring joy to your heart. Sometimes I get discouraged that I’m not salty enough , or have become useless. But with the Lords help I stopped looking back at my wretched sin, as he draws me closer to him and he sanctifies me, I’m not the person I was 5 years ago and I know it is all his work. So with his grace I press on. Thanks

  3. Being salt and light certainly does put one in the position of persecution, Mike. But it also should encourage us in our relationship to God. Most of us who stand against the flesh found in our churches would gladly take the persecution for the sake of the cross. God always gives us grace to persevere, and isn’t that just like Him? To the praise and glory of His Name!

  4. Amen Heather! I am not discouraged. In fact, I believe God has shown me through this that these are indications that we are obeying Him and are salt and light because so many despise the message and take it out on us. What was discouraging me was the seemingly lack of interest by most Christians in being holy and separate from the world in obedience to our Lord.

  5. Do not despair, Mike. We are being trained in righteousness. We are sharing in the Lord’s sufferings. And we know His kingdom is coming soon. Be encouraged that the remnant may be struck down but not destroyed! Amen!

  6. Amazing you bring up this paticular subject in your post. We were just talking about this very thing in our life last night. Sounds like the Holy Spirit is telling all the ‘true’ christians to stand no matter what.

  7. I remember when God showed me the truth about how few Christians there are. It seemed I went from believing millions were saved to a handful. God kept telling me that the road is narrower and then narrower still. I remember praying, asking where my siblings are. You were a confirmation of the remnant Mike, just when I thought no one outside my family knew who God really was. When I realized many or most “christian” churches around me were either babies or teaching a false gospel altogether. Thank you for your courage and enduring the attacks that come with being the light and salt. I have been so encouraged and often pass your blog on to others who are also lifted up and reminded that we are not alone. You are in my prayers. Tanja

  8. Yea, I have also done a study recently on being salt and light. One of the statement that Jesus made that caught my attention was when he said that if we loose our saltiness we aren’t even worth throwing on a manure pile. At least manure has some value. It make my tomato plants grow like crazy. We wouldn’t want to be thrown there but he says we aren’t even worth that much. That’s pretty tough talk from our Lord. That’s why we need to stay connected to the vine so that we can draw our life support.

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