Salt and Light


“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.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. 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

Over the past several Sundays we have seen a series of character traits or attributes that we call the beatitudes, but so far, we have attributes without a purpose; in these verses, Jesus gets to His larger point.

To illustrate, He uses two metaphors, salt and light. Salt had many uses in the ancient world, thus it is very difficult to nail down the exact use Jesus might have been referring to; He just didn’t say. Over the years, people have chosen a possible use and claimed it as the thing Jesus had in mind, but to be perfectly honest, such a position is only a matter of speculation, so let’s try to avoid falling into that trap; we’ll just look at salt as a basic and useful substance. As an example, I’ll mention what were probably the two most common uses of salt, as a food preservative, and as the basic ingredient for seasoning food. For either of these uses, if the salt loses its saltiness, i.e. its usefulness, then it is worthless. If we, as “the salt of the earth” lose our usefulness, then we might fit into that same category.

This image becomes crystal clear in His next metaphor; light. We, as we exhibit the traits of character that Jesus spoke of in the beatitudes, we become the “light of the world.” Imagine if you can, a world filled with the meek, the poor in spirit, peacemakers, and all of the rest of those attributes, next to what we are used to… this is what Jesus meant here by “the light of the world.” Light does no good if it is hidden from view; it’s just like salt that has lost its saltiness, so He tells us to let our light shine forth in this dark world as a contrast to the norm, to the glory of God.

That is what “Kingdom” is all about.


About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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6 Responses to Salt and Light

  1. Another post I needed to read and one that has been a confirmation to me. I especially love the part that speaks of the analogy of salt and getting deterred with the detail of what Jesus absolutely meant rather than accept the POINT that He was trying to make.

    I had a similar concept in mind when I wrote my recent article, “The Word of God, Eternal Life, and the Eye of the Needle” and for some reason when I was done writing I had to go back and do a couple of rewrites and then still wasn’t 100% thrilled with my ability to get the point across, but you did it here beautifully and yet still maintained the lesson our Redeemer was making!

    Thank you my brother for your sensitivity and sharing your gift! For as much as I comment on so many articles I read, believe me I don’t comment on all of them and the last month as I have tried to “stay in the background” much of what my brothers and sisters have written have given me an opportunity to truly meditate on the Lord’s Word in a refreshing light!

    God bless you for this post, it is a great message for a Sunday day of meditation and contemplation in the Lord!!

  2. paulfg says:

    The thought that went though my head reading this was: Puts a different slant on “being saved” then.

    That “being saved” is the beginning not the end, the first step not the last, a trigger for being not a state of being.

    Thank you.

  3. Pingback: Salt and light – Don Merritt – Br Andrew's Muses

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