Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Wednesday March 19, 2014 Matthew 5:13-16
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. --Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)
What does it mean for us to be the salt and light of the world? Since this passage immediately follows the beatitudes, it seems clear that we are salt and light in our blessedness. That is, we are salt and light when we are poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungering after righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peace-making, and being persecuted for Jesus' sake. When we live in our poverty of spirit, we point to the truth that we were created to find our real comfort and peace in God. I think it is also important to note that this Scripture passage is telling us what we ARE. It does not tell us what we should do or strive to be. It says, as followers of Christ, that we already are the salt and light. God has chosen us, and we can find strength and comfort in this statement of identity.
What does it mean, then, to be "salt"? There were a number of Old Testament uses for salt. It was used for seasoning, preservation, and purifying. It was also used to ratify covenants and in liturgical functions. To eat salt with someone signified a bond of friendship and loyalty. I believe that Jesus is telling us that in following the beatitudes, we can help be a purifying agent in the world around us. Through our friendships and bonds, God wants to use us to transform others' hearts and lives. But to the glory and honor of God! Salt shouldn't call attention to itself in a well-seasoned dish, it should merely enhance the flavors and make the overall dish so much more delicious. And if the salt loses its flavor, it must be discarded, so that it may begin again as a new life in Christ.
To be "light", I believe, is to participate in the true identity and essence of who Christ is. "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). Jesus is calling us to shine His light into the darkness of this world, to be a ray of hope and peace amidst darkness and destruction. He is calling us to live a life before men that bears witness to our blessedness in Christ and that, ultimately, glorifies our Father in heaven.
We were made to be salt and light for the glory of God. We were given the beatitudes for the glory of God. When we live in obedience to what God has commanded us, the world sees our good works and gives glory to God. This is the ultimate purpose for which He created each and every one of us, let us rejoice and be glad!