“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
THE MESSAGE, Matthew 5.13-16
Jesus used the analogies of salt and light to illustrate the Christian’s role in the world.
There are two things required of salt and light:
- They need to be different from their surrounding environment. Salt seasons bland food and light banishes darkness.
- Both salt and light must penetrate their environment in order to make a difference.
“Salt of the earth” has become colloquialized in our language to describe a person we believe to have exceptionally high moral and ethical standards. If that’s the case, then we’ve missed the point Jesus is driving home here.
Here’s what He’s really saying, “You are the red hot chili pepper for the whole world!” His description refers not to status, to a person’s high ethical standard, but to function, a person’s impact on the world around him or her.
Light is one of Scripture’s most common symbols. God is light (1 John 1.5), Christ is light (John 1.7-9), and God’s people are light (Ephesians 5.8).
Light makes things visible. You can’t hide a city built on top of a hill. By day it’s visible by the light of the sun, by night by the lights of the city itself. The visible light within each Christian is the working of God in each one’s life.
With salt the world will taste the goodness of God because of the influence Christians have on their immediate surroundings. With light the world will see the goodness of God radiating from within the lives of Christ’s called-out people.