What Salt Does

you are salt of the earth
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? Matthew 5:13

Jesus said, “You are the NaCl of the earth”—NaCl being the chemical formula for salt, a compound of equal parts sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl). Why did Jesus say “salt” instead of, “You are the dirt/plants/water/air of the earth”? Those latter elements of nature are certainly as indispensable as salt. It may be because salt can do things none of the others can. Salt can change, preserve, and add value to what it touches. But it is up to us to use it—or not.

Every culture in recorded history has valued salt for a variety of reasons. The Romans salted the fields of ancient Carthage after conquering the city so crops could not grow. Salt changed the ground from fertile to infertile. And prior to refrigeration, every culture used salt to preserve meat from spoiling. Salt was so valuable it was even used in place of money. Change, preserve, and add value—three traits that Jesus may have had in mind when He said His followers were to be the salt of the earth.

Ask God today to help you be a change agent and kingdom “preservationist,” and to add spiritual value to all those you meet.

We are the salt of the earth not the sugar. Our ministry is to truly cleanse and not just to change the taste. Vance Havner

Recommended Reading: Matthew 5:13-16

Supreme Love

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

There is no value or human expression of greater importance than love. Paul’s incomparable treatise on this subject in 1 Corinthians 13 is sandwiched between two chapters that deal with spiritual gifts. The Corinthians focused too much on their display of such gifts, so the apostle showed them the “more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). Interestingly, he made no attempt to define love but instead described its importance and expression.

The type of love Paul is talking about isn’t human in origin but, rather, comes from God—a part of His very nature. It’s unselfish, sacrificial love that acts on behalf of someone else. Since the Lord wants to transform our character into the image of His Son, this priority makes perfect sense. You see, whenever we display such selfless care for one another, that’s when we are the most like Christ.

The first three verses of this chapter issue us a warning. Without the motivation of love, all our good deeds—even service for the Lord—will profit us nothing. In God’s eyes, a loving spirit is more important than all our impressive words, knowledge, faith, generosity, and self-sacrifice. When we stand before Christ to be judged for our good works, those deeds done for selfish reasons will not be worthy of reward.

We are all blinded to some degree when it comes to our motives, so discerning why we serve God or do good deeds can be difficult. Pray to know your heart’s hidden intentions, and replace any self-centered motivations with His “more excellent way” of love. Then your works will be of eternal value.

Naught Changeth Thee

“For all flesh is like grass, and the glory of men as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:24-25)

What comparison can be made between the unchanging, eternal Creator of life and frail, temporal man? Verse three of the beautiful hymn “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” makes such a comparison, or rather, such a contrast.

To all, life thou givest to both great and small;
In all life thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on a tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth thee.

As in nature today, life comes only from life, and in the beginning, the living Creator imparted life to otherwise inanimate chemicals. To the plants and non-conscious animals, He gave only biological life; but to the creatures, from the smallest to the greatest, He gave true life (i.e., breath, blood, and consciousness); and to men, His image. As Creator, He needs nothing from His creation: “Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). Furthermore, “in him we live, and move, and have our being” (v. 28).

But the creation was distorted by sin, and now death reigns over all life, “like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth” (Psalm 90:5-6). But God lasts forever. “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2). He doesn’t change. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). And, as we see in our text, neither does His Word change. JDM

A Major Preaching Challenge

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. —Ephesians 3:8

Many of us who preach the unsearchable riches of Christ are often pretty dull and hard to listen to.

The freshest thought to visit the human mind should be the thought of God.

The story of salvation should put a radiancy in the face and a vibrancy in the voice of him that tells it. Yet it is not uncommon to hear the wondrous message given in a manner that makes it difficult for the hearer to concentrate on what is being said. What is wrong?…

It is true that only the Spirit-filled preacher can be morally effective at last; but for the moment we are thinking only of the ability of a speaker to command the attention of his hearers. And if the speaker cannot keep his hearers immediately
interested, his message cannot possibly have a long-range effect upon them, no matter how spiritual he may be.

Lord, in this media-saturated, video-oriented age, it is increasingly difficult for the preacher to hold the interest of sound-bite listeners. Yet as we give ourselves to the task of preaching, You’ve promised to bless, and we thank You. Amen.

Lean Back on the Keeping Power of God

…Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:5

Christian believers need always to be leaning back very strongly on the keeping power of God!

The Apostle Peter says plainly that those who are elect, begotten, obedient and believing have this power of God reflected in their daily lives.

Elect: that is God’s business and it was His business before we knew anything about it!

Begotten: that is God’s business as we believe in His Son!

Obedient and believing: we who are kept by the power of God through faith unto an inheritance!

So there we are—and as Christians, we are not only rich but nobly rich! Rich with riches which need no apology. Riches which have no taint of having come to us through defiled hands.

I wonder when we will begin to behave and to live on the level of our spiritual riches instead of acting like poverty-stricken creatures trying to crawl under a leaf so we will not be seen?

Let’s let the world know how rich we really are! Let’s tell it—we are being kept by the power of God unto an inheritance reserved in heaven for us!

That is the full-time business of the child of God!

The Ethics of Jesus

And ye shall be witnesses unto me. ACTS 1:8

The teachings of Jesus belong to the Church, not to society, for in society is sin, and sin is hostility to God!

Christ did not teach that He would impose His teachings upon the fallen world. He called His disciples to Him and taught them, and everywhere throughout His teachings there is the overt or implied idea that His followers will constitute an unpopular minority group in an actively hostile world.

The divine procedure is to go into the world of fallen men, preach to them the necessity to repent and become disciples of Christ and, after making disciples, to teach them “the ethics of Jesus,” which Christ called “all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).

The ethics of Jesus cannot be obeyed or even understood until the life of God has come to the heart of a man or woman in the miracle of the new birth.

The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in those who walk in the Spirit. Christ lives again in His redeemed followers the life He lived in Judea, for righteousness can never be divorced from its source, which is Jesus Christ Himself!

Lord, pour out Your Spirit upon our nation today, that men and women will be convicted of sin and turn their lives over to You.