Jesus calls those who are His “salt” and “light.” He has placed those who are His strategically throughout the corrupted world, sprinkling them everywhere, placing them so they cannot be ignored.
Jesus uses analogies because story and illustration are the most effective way for us to understand what He is teaching. Yet, both story and illustration may be heard incorrectly and used erroneously. It is important to have an intimate relationship with Him to completely understand what is being taught. Those who are His strive for intimacy with Him. All, even though fallen and corrupted by sin are shown indisputable evidence of God’s grace and the demands of His will. His grace is known through the righteous acts of Jesus and those who are His. His truth, the truth of who He is and what He has done, is also seen in Jesus and those who belong to Him.
God does not redeem all who are in the world. He has separated those who are His from those who are not His. This does not mean the righteous blood of His son does not cover all, cannot be applied to all as the redemption price. Those who reject Him lose His righteous covering just as salt filled with impurities will leech away leaving only the impurities. Those covered, who embrace His righteousness, making it their own, gain even more righteousness, if that is possible, as they abandon themselves to His purpose.
Parables, analogies and stories are never perfect but Jesus uses them to teach and convict and direct. “You are the salt of the earth” is followed by the warning “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” [Matthew 5:13 ESV].Those who reject Him are soon left worthless and are in turn rejected by Him. But those who are His, or say they are His, are still susceptible to the tugs and pulls of the world and in danger of becoming worthless for God’s purpose in the world. Our purpose is to be His righteousness in an unrighteous world, surrounded by people who hate God.
None who are His will ever become not His. Many who are not His can become His as they see Him through the citizens of His Kingdom acting like citizens of His kingdom.
God is preparing us for eternity by making us righteous and demanding we act righteous even when surrounded by extreme unrighteousness. This world is our training ground. Be trained.
Jesus also calls those who are His the “light of the world.” There is no warning attached to this analogous statement. There is an explanation of His purpose in shining His light, which is also our light, throughout 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 5:14-16 ESV]
In John 1 Jesus is called the “light of the world.”
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. [John 1:1-5 ESV]
He has identified us, those who are His, with Himself. God’s light reveals truth in an indisputable way rebuking sin. Those who hate darkness are drawn to light. Those who hate light are repelled by it and driven back into darkness. God places us throughout the world as His witnesses to the truth. He is training us in shining His truth.
His Spirit, given to teach us all truth will inspire us toward truth as we submit ourselves to Him and allow His truth to purge all untruth from the thinking of our hearts. Our purpose in being His witness is simple in word, impossible for us in deed without the strength of His Spirit. We are to reveal truth to a world which desires to control God’s truth and replace it with a lie. This takes disciplined thinking and a heart fully abandoned to God. Only an intimate relationship with Jesus, which is what He demands, will give the necessary fuel for our lights to shine and glorify Him.
In all of this God places us, sprinkles us throughout a word and sets us up to be seen by people who will hate us and persecute us. Those who suffer for righteousness’ sake are fulfilling their purpose of being salt and light.
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]