Salt and Light


*   (Mat 5:13-16 NIV)  "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 by men. {14} "You are the light of the world. A city 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.


These few verses tell us a lot about who we are and what we should be. They compare, “You” and of course me and all of us to Salt and Light. The verses come right after the Beatitudes, which are an important teaching as are these verses as well. In fact the entire Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 through 7) is a profound teaching that explains much of what we need to know. But for now let’s look more closely at the Salt and Light remarks of our Lord.


Why are we compared to Salt? What attributes does salt have that makes it useful and desirable? Are there any other references to people as salt?

1.      For openers salt oftentimes makes food tastier, more palatable, and easier to swallow or accept. That is a good thing and we definitely want to be received by those we hope to influence in ways similar to those attributes

2.      Salt is often used as a preservative. You might say that the basis for Christianity is preservation. The idea is more often expressed as, salvation. It is for our salvation that Jesus came and died. We can be used as an instrument of preservation if we can just convey the Gospel message in ways that are salted with hope and truth.

3.      Salt is an essential element for a healthy life. But, too much or too little salt can be a serious problem requiring medical assistance or possibly lead to death. As Christians we need to be salty enough but not too salty.

4.      Salt is a term used to denote value and experience as in, “He is the salt of the earth” or “Being worth one’s salt.”

So salt is a pretty good metaphor for what a Christian should be!


Now Light is perhaps more obvious. Without light one cannot see. Without light it is difficult to grow. Without light we would be significantly handicapped. Light is implicitly acknowledged in phrases such as, “The blind leading the blind” or “Now I see” when we are talking about ideas that cannot actually be seen. Light is a spectrum of colors as seen in the rainbow. And the rainbow is a special light, a sign from God of a promise.

*   (Gen 9:13-16 NIV)  I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. {14} Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, {15} I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. {16} Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

Interestingly, all the colors of the rainbow are derived from bright white light. God is sometimes compared to a bright white light and in Ezekiel he is also compared to a Rainbow.

*   (Ezek 1:28 NIV)  Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.


But as salt in excess is a problem, so is light. The same light that shows the way can blind us: Sometimes momentarily and sometimes permanently. We need to bring light as it is needed and can be accepted.


Perhaps we can think of ourselves in rainbow terms: Each of us bringing a different color to form the bright white light that reveals the nature of God. But that requires we each must let our light shine. So Salt and Light are excellent symbols to remind us and reveal to us who we are and what we should be.


Jesus is calling us to action in these verses and asking us not to shirk our duty as Christians. We must strive to be salty and bearers of light. We should be making life palatable and showing the way to truth and God. We have a great message and a life saving message that God would have everyone know and cherish. We were made in His image to be His children and to live a glorious life with Him forevermore.

*   (John 3:16-21 NIV)  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. {17} For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. {18} Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. {19} This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. {20} Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. {21} But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."


God desires that none should perish. Let’s get the message out in such a way that people can accept it and can see it. Let’s be Salt and Light.