The Lord Jesus said that we are the “salt and light of the world”. To be the light and the salt of the world is a choice of life that a true Christian should take. Lord Jesus did not say that “you are able or you have the capability to be the salt and light of the world”. Every single person who believes in Christ, saved and born again, is the salt and light of the world.
What is the purpose of the life of a Christian in this world? Is it to be highly educated, successful, to be rich and to live in a luxury house? All these are good and there is nothing wrong with them either.
However, that is not the true essence of what the Lord Jesus wants from believers. So what is the true purpose of a Christian in this world while we still need to be the salt and the light of this world?
What does it mean to be the salt and the light of the world?Jesus uses the parable of salt and light to show the role and purpose of His disciples in the whole world.
1. The calling of the Lord for His church.
In the early centuries, salt had two functions. First, salt was used as a preservative, especially for meat,as refrigerators did not exist then. Secondly, salt was used to enhance the taste of food. Even today, salt is still being used to enhance the taste of food. Without salt, our food will be bland.
Christians are called to be preservatives – to stop the rotting of morals in this world full of sin. Christians need to keep their saltiness as the preservative for this world (Psalms 14:3; Romans 8:8). Christians, who are led by the Holy Spirit and live in obedience of Christ, will influence the world just as salt has a positive influence on food.
When there is a dispute, we need to bring peace. When there is sadness, we need to mend the wound and remove hatred. We need to live like Christ, repaying evil with kindness (Luke 6:35).
Our existence as a Christian in this world needs to be like a light in the darkness. It does not only mean that the Word of God will bring light in the darkness of the heart of a sinner (John 1:1-10), but it also means that our good deeds have to be so vivid so that people around us can see it.
2. The fruit of obedience to the Word of God
To be the salt and light of the world is the result or the fruit of our obedience to the Word of God. A lifestyle that is led by the Spirit becomes an open letter that can be read by everyone. We need to keep on focusing on Christ and obey Him so that we can be the salt and light of the world.
When we fail to take up His cross and follow Him wholeheartedly daily, we lose our saltiness. Thus we fail as Christians. Sometimes this role of becoming the salt and the light of the world is also hindered by living a compromised life or being complacent in our comfort zone.
Jesus did not say that we all can be the salt of the world. Neither did He say that we all need to be the salt of the world. Instead, He said that we are the salt of the world.
Jesus said to His disciples that they were the light of the world. In its original word, this statement was said in a singular form, which means the only light. If this only light is not shining, where can the world find a light? If the light does not come from His church, how can others know and believe in Him? The statement that says “let your light shine” (v. 16) is a literal translation from a singular Greek word (Lampsato) which means “command”. This means us, His church, needs to learn to obey the commands
of the Lord, if not, we are disobeying Him.
3. Salt and light give impact, not being impactedIf salt is added to food, the taste of the food will change, it will be less bland, more tasty. So salt impactsthe food. If we are the salt of the world, then we need to impact the world and not the other way around (Rom 12:2). By saying that “You are the salt of the world” the Lord Jesus gives praise and takes pride for each person who believes in Him and takesthat role. To be the salt of the world means to be a testimony to others. It means that through our life, many souls can be won and can be saved. As Jesus came to the world to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), we also have an assignment to be the salt of this world
by impacting or influencing the people surrounding us. Look around and we can see many young people involved in drugs and free sex; we can see corruption and acts of sin everywhere.
As a believer, we need to spread the Good News in our surroundings. We need to give a bold statement of our faith and say it through our actions so that the light can shine upon others and so that the salt can enhance the lives of others.
The calling to be the salt and light of the world is being made known to us today. Wherever we are now, we are the ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, in our workplaces, schools, households, and elsewhere.
The church is a gathering of believers. As believers, we need to shine our light in the world and to be the salt that gives impact and bring others to the Kingdom of God. Every day we see and are surrounded
by people who walk in darkness, separated from God. God is using His church as the salt and light to show them the way back to Him.