The Salt of the Earth
Jesus speaking directly to His disciples said “Ye are the salt of the earth.” What did He mean? Why are His disciples “Salt” while others are not?
The true disciples of Christ are those who sit at His feet to learn and to keep the whole Word of God; to live as Christ lives and to seek with all their hearts, to be ONE with Christ and God the Father!
God’s Word is the salt of godliness which preserves all who keep it to eternal life, and when God’s Word is in us and we live by every Word of God we become the salt of God’s Word in the earth.
It is the Word of God in them, and it is their burning passion to internalize that Word and the nature of God that makes them the SALT of the earth!
Salt makes something that is otherwise bland and unpalatable [as in spiritually lukewarm, Laodicea]; pleasant and acceptable to God.
The spiritual lukewarmness of Laodicea so disgusts our Lord that the church of God groups of these last days will be vomited out of the body of Christ; because they have rejected any zeal for Him.
It is the SALT of zeal for the whole Word of God, that makes the true faithful disciples of Christ; the Salt of the earth. In other words the salt of the earth consists of the passionately loving and faithful, who follow and live by every Word of our God.
Jesus spoke to His disciples, and not only to the disciples of the first century, but to all of His disciples who would come over the ages. Calling them the “Salt of the Earth” if they passionately love Him and all His Word [He inspired the whole of the scriptures not just the New Testament only] with all their hearts!
Those who are zealous to learn and to keep the whole Word of God and to follow the Lamb of God in all things, at all times; are the collective Beloved Bride. They are the “Salt of the Earth” which makes them the Beloved Bride of their espoused Husband, Jesus Christ; who will resurrect them to the marriage of the Lamb.
The Light of the World
In Judea in those days, candles were unknown, and they used lamps burning olive oil for light. Later in Europe the translators commonly used candles and did not use oil lamps, and not understanding the meaning of the burning of oil for light, translated lamps as candles.
The Temple Lamp stand consisted of a stand with seven branches; each one burning pure olive oil by a linen wick to provide light. This pictured the oil as the Holy Spirit burning within the zealous for God and His Word; being a light to the world.
If we are zealous to follow the Spirit of God into all truth, which truth is the whole Word of God, and if we are enthusiastic to receive the truth with joy to do it; then the light of our godly example will shine brightly as a beacon of godliness to all those around us!
Today in this lukewarm Laodicean age, where zeal for God is rebuked by the COG groups; the responsibility for each person to be zealous and passionate to set an example of wholehearted godliness remains.
Do not be overcome by the lukewarmness that surrounds us, but be as Passionate as the Shulamite for our Husband in waiting!
Let us be a LIGHT and example of godliness, no matter what others think of us; for our espoused Husband is full of love and passion for His faithful beloved Bride!
Soon He will come to lift us up and take us in His loving arms!In the meantime let us do our job faithfully, and work dedicatedly to internalize His nature to become one with Him! Becoming the “Salt of the Earth” and the “Shining Light” of example for all!
Matthew 5:13-16 ~ The Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World
Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry
In the fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew, we read that after Jesus was baptized, He was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. After successfully defeating the temptations of Satan, Jesus left Nazareth and went to dwell in Capernaum that lies in the regions of Zebulon and Nephthalim. This fulfilled a prophecy of Isaiah. It was at this point in Jesus’ life that He began His earthly ministry.
Matthew 4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
As His ministry began, we read of the account of Jesus calling some of the men who would become His first disciples. These two sets of brothers were fishermen by profession, Peter and Andrew, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Scripture tells us that Jesus simply said “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” ( Matthew 4:18-19) In verse 20, it says that they immediately left their nets and followed Him.
As Jesus and His disciples traveled throughout Galilee, He taught and preached the Gospel and healed all kinds of diseases among the people. That is when great multitudes that came from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from the other side of the Jordan began to follow Him.
Jesus’ Teachings are Directed to His Disciples and Not to the Unconverted
In Matthew 5:1-2, it says that seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain and when He was seated and His disciples came to Him and He opened His mouth and taught.
His teaching does not stop at the end of Matthew 5, but continues through the rest of Matthew and throughout Matthew six and seven, for at the end of chapter seven it says “that it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine.” (Matthew 7:28)
This teaching on the mountain was at the beginning of His ministry, so the disciples (students) who came to Him that day, were those who were among His earliest disciples. Later we read that He chose the twelve (Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:14-19, Luke 6:13-16) from the early group of disciples, for extra training for the office of apostleship.
The Bible does not say how many disciples were gathered on the mountain that day that Jesus gave this advanced special teaching. It could have been a huge crowd, or a small crowd, we just don’t know. We do know that these men and women, were receiving in-depth instruction in living and on the spiritual meanings of the law and how to apply them from the very mouth of God.
Jesus came proclaiming a New Covenant and He was teaching these spiritual insights to His new disciples on how to keep God’s Word in a more profound and better way; to the very deepest spiritual intent of God’s Word.
Later, Jesus would say to the woman at the well, that God the Father was seeking those who would worship Him in spirit and in truth.
John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Jesus’ teaching was preparing His disciples by teaching them that if they have God’s Holy Spirit, they could worship Him anytime and anywhere; for God intended His children to worship Him in spirit and in truth and to apply that truth to every aspect of their lives.
Some parts of Jesus’ teachings (in Matthew 5, 6, 7) could be considered as of a general nature; yet the overwhelming majority of it applies only to the converted; those having the Spirit of God and therefore could understand the deep spiritual message. Its thrust is not evangelistic, intended to call people into the church, but internal, as it sets high moral standards for those already converted.
This teaching is geared to prepare us for God’s Kingdom when it comes in its fullness. Jesus teaches us how to live out the truth of God’s Word in practical terms and, also, how to incorporate the things that we believe into our lives. By being faithful in living God’s way of life, we send a message to the people in our lives who are watching us, including our families, neighbors and our brethren.
After teaching them about the beatitudes and how they would be blessed if they would learn them and live by them; He then taught that if they would be faithful to the Word of God, then they would have its saltiness within them and then they would become the salt of the earth through their faithfulness to God’s Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
What Does it Mean to be the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World?
Jesus said that those who would become His faithful disciples would be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”.
From Jesus emphatic statement in this verse, being salt and light is not optional. Jesus did not say “you can choose to be, or you have the potential to be salt and light; you decide.”
He told His disciples sitting around Him on the mount that day, and by extension to all those who would be reading these words in the Holy Scriptures later; that if we are faithful to live by every Word of God then we are salt and the light of the world.
Each person who has made the choice to follow Christ and wants to be like Him, is the salt of the earth and the light of the world. And if Jesus is the Light of the World, then those who walk as He walked would be reflections of that light.
1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Some attributes of salt
In Strong’s Complete Dictionary, the Hebrew word for salt is malach
Strong’s #4416, #4417) and simply means “to salt”, or “have maintenance”.
Following, are a couple of verses showing how salt was to be used in the Old Testament with offerings, and also as represented as “the salt of the covenant.” Salt was to be included in every meat (unleavened bread) offering and with all the other offerings; salt was to be offered with the sacrifices.
Salt represents the Word of God which is salted in the faithful. The salt of the Covenant is the words of that Covenant.
Leviticus 2:13 And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
Numbers 18:19 All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee and to thy seed with thee.
When Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth,” He is referring to His disciples who are filled with His Word; they would have the saltiness of that Word and zeal for the whole Word of God. As “salt of the earth” their zeal for God’s ways would be an example for others, by encouraging God the Father to complete His plan and save humanity, instead of destroying the earth for all the wickedness in it, as was done in Noah’s day.
Those who were being called to be disciples in the early New Testament times, would have been very familiar with the preservative function of salt. Without refrigeration, the fish that they caught, or food and meats prepared, would quickly spoil and decay unless they were packed in salt. Once salted, the fish or meat could be safely stored and then used latter when needed. Salt prevents spoilage and decay.
Our day to day behavior, living holy lives, being godly righteous and having strength within ourselves to take a stand against the evil and the false religion in our midst, the presence of the spiritual “salt” making this evil world worth saving.
Matthew 5:13 “but if the salt have lost his savour [if we have lost our godliness we are good for nothing except destruction], wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men”.
Jesus is saying that the called out can lose their salt of godliness, if they allow indifference, carelessness, laziness, disobedience, tainted teachings and the false traditions of men to take over and rule in their lives; and if their is no salt of godliness left on the earth, then the earth is not worth saving.
If we are not on guard, and we are not diligently applying ourselves to obeying God and His whole Word; if we are listening to, or fellowshipping with those who do not adhere to, nor truly teach, nor practice the whole Word of God; then we too can become contaminated and lose our “saltiness”. We are then good for nothing in the spiritual sense.
Jesus is giving us a clear warning and telling us to be zealous to learn and to live by every Word of God.
1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Jesus was commissioning those who sat at His feet that day, and all those who would read He words and then become His disciples; becoming the salt of godliness in the earth.
If we find that the saltiness [godliness] within us has become tainted or contaminated; whether it be things and habits of this world, or false teachings and traditions in the churches that are contrary to the true teachings of the Bible; we need to sincerely repent and seek God’s help to change.
If we lose our zeal for the Word of God, we lose our saltiness of godliness and we become good for nothing except to be destroyed with the wicked.
In these end time days, many things are being restored and being clearly expounded to us. Teachings that we thought were true and based on solid Biblical doctrine, are being shown to have been derived from unconverted men and their commentaries. Some of our past beliefs are being proved to be in error.
As part of God’s Ekklesia and as the salt of godliness in the earth, we should be searching our Bibles, asking God for understanding and help to prove all things from His Word and then change if we find error. If we prove God’s teachings as to what He says we should be believing and then doing; that is different than what we were preciously taught; we need to repent and embrace only what God says is true from His Word.
We are never to blindly follow those who tell us that only they know the truth, and that we should not have to look into what they taught us (just do as we are told by them); insted we need to search the Bible diligently to see if they are teaching the truth. Be like the Bereans and search out and see if what they say is true or not.
Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
There is still time to repent, (if we do not die tonight) and to ask God for forgiveness and then commit ourselves to sin no more. Let God restore us to the purpose for which we were called; to be the salt of godliness in this present evil world.
We have the responsibility to rebuke sin in ourselves and in the culture that surrounds us.
True godly love and concern means that we rebuke evil when we see sin, diligently teaching the righteousness of the Word of God; in our families, friends, groups, in the Ekklesia, and in the world at large.
James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
If we have the salt of zeal for God’s Word within ourselves, we will take a strong stand for God’s truth and righteousness and we will live by every Word of God, to be counted as one that stands for the Word of God. If others reject us and turn away from us, (and most of the world will) we must not let them deter us from remaining steadfast to God’s Word and ways until the end.
At some point in the future, those who disdained us for being salt, will come to see that it was because we maintained our salt of godliness in the earth; that the world was saved from utter destruction opening the way for them to become the salt of godliness when it is their turn to be called; and when they, too, see the treasure of learning and keeping all of God’s ways.
1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
If we remain faithful through these turbulent and trying times today, and in the days ahead; not letting persecution from our friends, and from the world turn us back; then we have an inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiled, which will not fade away, being reserved for us (stored for us) in heaven.
1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
In Malachi 4:6 God says that the heart of the fathers will be turned to the heart of the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers lest He come and smite the earth with a curse. (Utterly destroy it.)
If God were to not have any disciples filled with the salt of godliness to act as preservative agents against sin and evil on earth (and to rebuke it), then eventually the whole earth would be destroyed by the wickedness upon it.
Likewise, if no one in the Ekklesia of God were willing to take a stand and speak out against the sin and error that has crept into the brotherhood, it too would come under a total curse (absolute destruction) and be completely unprofitable and good for nothing, except to be trodden under foot and destroyed.
Mark 9:50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness [if we have lost our salt of godliness], wherewith will ye season it? Have salt [God’s Word] in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
Brethren, today’s church of God groups have lost the saltiness of godliness; resulting in the loss of our light of godly example!
As Disciples of Christ, We are to be the Light of the World
In Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells His disciples, “You are the light of the world.” And as that light we are to be an example of godliness to the whole earth by being filled with the salt of the whole word of God; so that by internalizing the word of God, we ourselves become the salt of the earth. the Christian is to counteract the power of sin by taking a stand against it.
As light, we are to illuminate or make visible the ways of God and to shine forth those ways for others to see and to benefit from our light.
Our lives are to be an on-going example and witness to the reality of Christ’s presence in our lives, and by our example as we show what God requires of humanity, and the way that leads to eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
The Greek word for light in this verse, is phos from phao (Strong’s #5457) and means to shine, or to make manifest, especially by rays, also illuminousness, an illuminator, brilliancy, fire, light.
When we obey all of God’s commandments, His ordinances, statutes, precepts and judgments, others see how we live; we are like a city set on an hill. We cannot hide it, and not only by our commandment keeping, but we also shine by our attitudes, our great joy we have in the Lord, bearing the fruits of God’s Spirit, our love for God, the way we worship Him, when we love others as ourselves, and when we do good without growing weary. In these ways, we are letting our light of example shine for all to see.
We must realize that it is not really our light, but the reflection of the Light of God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior; that others will see shining brightly through us.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God. 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 1:8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
In Philippians, Paul also tells us that as believers, we are to shine as lights in the world.
Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
This Greek word for light is very similar to the word for the beacon of light that a lighthouse emits. That beacon of light shining forth though the darkness is bright and unmistakable in its purpose. It warns seafaring vessels of danger. It directs ships to safe harbor. It lights up a path for a ship or sailing vessel to steer its way through turbulent waters, and heavy fog. It may serve as a point of reference and guide for those who are out there in the Great Lakes or sea who have lost their way. It provides hope for those who have lost hope.
Everyday and everywhere we go, we are surrounded by people groping and stumbling around in the darkness, separated from their Maker, who loves them. God uses His children, like beacons from a lighthouse, to show the way to Him.
Our Example and Light, Creates Opportunity for the Gospel to be Proclaimed and Received
Matthew 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Candles, lamps, and lanterns are lights that are portable. When a person lights one of these instruments he does not normally try to conceal it, but places it where it will light up the room and be of benefit to others. God calls us to know and understand His truth, not only for our own salvation, but to be an example and so benefit others. Our light should not be concealed, neither should we ever be ashamed of the light of the Word of God.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
As we live our lives, the light of our proper godly example should light up the way for others and our lives should be in stark contrast to this present, evil, dark world; thereby exposing it and teaching it by being an example for those in it.
If a light is put under a basket, no one benefits from it. Loving and caring people would want their lights to shine as brightly as possible, so that it benefits as many people as possible, and to let the warmth of its rays reach out into the darkness as far as possible.
Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
A believer’s righteous life and good works, including pure conversation and faithful obedience to God, courtesy and consideration for the needs of others, should not be hidden, but be seen and witnessed.
We cannot emanate any godly light until we have received the grace of God and the enlightenment that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit. Our lives must produce the fruit of the Spirit, reflecting the shining example of Jesus Christ as He abides in us and we in Him; by this we bring forth much fruit, but without Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5-6)
We cannot be a godly light without God and we must look to Him to fill us with His Spirit to help us, empowering us to be a light for Him. We are weak in our own human strength.
Wherever we live and work; at home, at our jobs, in our communities, or if we should be living in a city, a nursing home, or out in the wilderness in a tent or refugee camp; God makes it clear that we are to adhere to God’s way of life, letting our examples shine for all to experience, even as we resist the influence of this world.
Our Light is to Glorify God and Not Ourselves
We should not let our lights shine to obtain the praise of men or for our own glory, but to bring glory to God the Father and to our Lord, Jesus Christ. The Pharisees acted to be seen of men, but true Christians seek to bring glory to God, not taking it to heart what others may think or say of them for doing the things that please God.
Our light of godly conduct should be a shining example to encourage others to also seek the knowledge of God’s truth and His way of life. Our motive for letting our lights shine should be only for God’s glory.
Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
1 Peter 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
1 Timothy 5:25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 2:12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 25;36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.
We glorify God the Father and the Son by walking in the the Spirit, by doing good works to honor Him, by correctly praising and worshiping Him in Spirit and in the truth, and by our obedience to live by every Word of God.
We serve as a witness and light of example to the world, when the world sees in us the excellence and beauty of living for God and all His ways.
Matthew 5:14-16 teaches us at least five principles in the analogy of being a light to the world.
1. God’s truth cannot be concealed and hidden.
2. If we have no salt of godliness within ourselves, we can provide no witness to others nor can we be a light of example to them.
3. Those who live like worldly people prove that they are not truly converted and show that they are not of God.
4. Attempting to hide God’s truths; betrays God’s trust in us, injures the cause of Christianity and God’s purpose, and destroys any salt of godliness and light of example in us, rendering us offensive to God.
5. Good works and obedience to the whole Word of God will be seen, and will ultimately lead others to honor and glorify God. If not now during this present age, they will understand at a later time when their eyes are opened to see, that they too must walk in godliness.
Our Righteousness Must Exceed the Righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees
The verses following the mandate to be salt and light; demonstrate that we are to honor every Word of God and not think that any part of God’s Word has been done away; or that it is fine to ignore some parts of God’s Word which we may consider to be little things that don’t really matter that much.
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
The Festival of Unleavened Bread is about the creation of a new spiritual being in Christ, through the putting out of the leaven of sin, and the internalizing of the very mind and nature of God.
This includes putting out all sins, small and large, including sins of the heart, imagination and mind.
The Pharisees and Scribes taught the keeping of the letter of the law and had no understanding, whatsoever, of the spiritual intent that should be obeyed from the very heart. But of course, as we see by their examples from the Gospels, they did not even obey the letter of the law, but reasoned around the Word of God so as to exalt their own false traditions above the Work of God, just as today’s Ekklesia does.
In the rest of Matthew five, and in the following chapters of six and seven, Jesus goes on to explain even further, the expansion of obeying His laws to include even the things we think.
Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Go Therefore and Teach All Nations
As we become the salt of godliness in the earth and a light of godly example to the world, this will spontaneously provide opportunities for the Gospel to be proclaimed to the world as a witness; and our example and our words will exemplify God’s commandments to those we have reached with the Gospel message. This will give us opportunities to teach them to observe all the things that Jesus commanded us, including the beatitudes and the literal and spiritual intent of the law as expounded in the three chapters of Matthew five, six and seven.
These basics described in this study today, barely scratch the surface of this subject. The implications of salt and light in Scripture are so much more than what we have touched on. This topic could make for much further Bible study as to how we all can be more effective and brighter lights for God in the world.
I encourage all to do a word search on the study of salt and light. It is amazing how many Scriptures will come up in regard to this topic. The verses point out the depth of meaning, in what on the surface looks to be simple statements about common things such as salt and light. If we did such a study we would discover many insights and instruction on this subject. Like so much of what we read in the Bible, God has built in many layers of meaning and it behooves us to search them out, as if searching for fine gold.
Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [we are all called to become kings] is to search out a matter.
And if we are in training to be kings and priests; ruling and teaching with our Lord in His Kingdom, how much more we should be searching out these matters!
Revelation 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 21:26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
If we follow Jesus wherever He goes, and we do not allow ourselves to be defiled by the contaminates of this world, we will not only walk in His light, we will also radiate His light through the Holy Spirit which will dwell in all those who keep all of God’s commandments (Acts 5:32); and we will be included among those who will be redeemed from among men, being first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.
Revelation 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Jesus drew disciples to Himself, those that the Father was calling, with the light of who He was and with His truth when He was here on earth as a man. As He said to the Simon, Andrew, James, and John when He first called them, saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” we too will draw men and women to the light of God’s Word and to His way of life; IF we have His salt [His Word] within ourselves and if we are among His faithful disciples.
Constance Belanger and James Malm
Psalm 43 Commentary
A Plea for Righteous Judgment
Psalm 43 does not have any superscript as to who wrote it; just that it is a plea for judgment for the psalmist [possibly David]. Psalm 43 is a psalm of lament [lamentation]; a prayer to God in which the psalmist cries out to Him about his plight with a hate-filled person [either an unjust man, or an ungodly nation] that is persecuting him and causing him great grief.
Psalm 43:1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
The psalmist is appealing to the higher court of heaven, appealing to God; to clear him of being unjustly condemned by a person or a group of persons. He knows that God sees all and that God alone judges righteously, according to what He discerns in a person’s heart, and not according to outward appearances as men tend to do. He asks God to vindicate him, as he is innocent in this situation. He feels he is being wrongfully attacked by this person [or group of people or even a nation]. He prays to God to defend him and to deliver him from the false accusations and lies [deceit] of someone who is ungodly and trying to destroy his life or reputation in some way.
Psalm 43:2 For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
The psalmist prays to God, acknowledging that God is the only source of any strength that we have and that God is our only stronghold in whom we can take refuge. He trusts in the strength of God and not his own strength.
He asks “why do you cast me off?” because he is feeling rejected, as it is seems to be taking so long for God to intervene. The trial seems to continue on and on, without any immediate resolution. If the psalmist did not know God or have a relationship with Him, he wouldn’t be asking this question. It is because he loves the Lord, and is living and waiting for Him, so therefore, he wonders why God is not helping him at this critical time of need.
Anyone who is a follower and believer of God, and who walks with God, will sooner or later have trials of a nature that will try our faith to the max. Our problems seem to be overwhelming during the time we must endure it. We get impatient because we want the trial to be over quickly; so in our weakness, we mourn and grieve because things are not going the way we think that they should.
We have faith that God is all powerful; that He is a God of miracles so we sometimes expect a quick miracle to get us out of our troubles. We sometimes forget that God allows the trials for reasons we do not understand at the time we are going through them. They are meant to refine us and to mold us into what He wants us to be; which sometimes requires that we go through things that are painful or keep us in discomfort for a season.
The psalmist asks himself, “why am I mourning, if I know that God really is with me and will give me the strength to get through this ordeal with my enemies.”
Both, Peter and James comforted the brethren in regard to the trials and temptations that they were facing, with their words of consolation:
1 Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Paul explained that even though we suffer now and want our suffering to be over with; it won’t be long and it will all be in the past. Soon we will be in glorified spiritual bodies, and that gives us hope as we wait for the redemption to our new bodies.
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Psalm 43:3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
The psalmist desires to walk in God’s truth and prays that God will send out even more of God’s truth which is light driving away the darkness of ignorance. As we read and study this psalm, we in the Ekklesia should also pray that God would send out the light of His truth in even more abundance to guide us in our day to day walk with Him, guiding us through our trials just as the psalmist desires.
Then he prays that God’s light of truth would lead him and bring him to God’s holy hill.
Somehow he has been separated from the Tabernacle or God’s Temple and his proper relationship with God; and he longs to get back; seeking the forgiveness of God and God’s intervention that by God’s providence we might be reconciled to our Great God and delivered from our trials.
We, too, can pray to have the light of God’s truth shine upon us and our loved ones. We pray that His truth would be illuminated in our minds and hearts and within the Ekklesia as well, and that God would deliver us more and more from the power of this world’s darkness and bring us to the light of God’s Word.
Along with the psalmist, we pray that God’s light and His truth will guide and lead us to a deeper relationship with God, keeping us faithful to God and His Word. If we follow in the light of God’s truth and remain faithful, it will eventually lead us to the resurrection to eternal life.
The sum of God’s Word is truth, and like the psalmist, we too yearn for God to teach us and to enable us to live according to every Word of God.
Psalm 86:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
As we study this psalm, it reminds us that we not only can pray for the light of God’s truth for ourselves, but we can also pray for and look forward to the time when God will send out His light and His truth for the whole world, including our loved ones. Then they, too, will be able to see, to have the light of God’s truth shined upon them and they will come to tan understanding of all God’s ways.
We yearn for the time when humanity will be delivered from the power of darkness into the light of God’s Word. And if they will only turn to that truth and light with real repentance, the whole world will begin to enjoy true lasting happiness, peace, and joy.
Psalm 56:13 For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Isaiah 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Psalm 43:4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
The psalmist anticipates that God will hear his prayer so he will go up to the altar, symbolic of a place of worship and sacrifice; with exceeding joy. When we follow the light and truth of the LORD, submitting to Him and resisting the devil and his temptations, it will lead us to God’s altar, which is symbolic of drawing ever closer to Him.
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness [fast and mourn over sin in sincere repentance]. 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Being close to God will fill us with joy and we will offer up the sacrifice of praise for all that God is, and the joy of the LORD will be our strength.
Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Psalm 27:6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
Psalm 96:7 Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. 96:8 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. 96:9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
Psalm 84:1 How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! 84:2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. 84:3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. 84:4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. 84:5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
Psalm 43:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Verse 43:5 is the same wording from the previous Psalm 42, and verses 42:5, 42:11 along with 43:5, and appear to be a refrain put to music used in worship, and asks the same question: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
The psalmist in his meditation and his attempt to process what he is going through, asks these distressful questions in faith, and then he acknowledges that God is his Rock, his Deliverer and his Rock Solid Foundation.
As a believer and as one of God’s own children, the psalmist cannot help but conclude that he MUST hope in God in the middle of challenging circumstances. This is a refrain of Psalm 42:5, 11 and the psalmist again in this third time, tells himself to put his hope in God.
It is from God that his deliverance will come; and he expresses his intent to praise God for all His help and for the COMFORT he received while he went through this time of great discouragement.
The psalmist reminds himself of a great CERTAINTY; that “hope in God” leads to the final step in his efforts to overcome his depression, a reminder based on the character of the God he trusts, that he will be able again to say: “I will yet praise Him.”
This is a great certainty because God has not changed. He is the same and therefore His purposes for the psalmist have not changed. God has led him to victories over problems and sustained him when going through them in times past. He will do so again. The psalmist can say to himself, “Therefore, instead of looking at my current circumstances as hopeless and something that is defeating me, I will remember how past troubles that seemed insurmountable at the time, were eventually remedied and healed.”
We can find multiple examples of this in the lives of the men and women of God; people like Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Esther, Mordecai, and many others who experienced similar emotions over what was happening to them at the time of their hardships.
The writer of this psalm is trying to teach us, that we too, can put our hope in God in times when we are discouraged and overwhelmed by the burdens that this life throws at us from time to time. Whether the trials are caused from God’s discipline for our sins, or from the persecution of others, from loneliness, from sicknesses, or from just having to live in this present evil world, we must wait patiently for our redemption and the day when we will be permanently delivered at the time of the Resurrection, [if we have remained faithful].
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy;at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
As David put it in Psalm 16: God promises that if we endure through our trials and burdens in this life, asking Him to send out His light and truth, He will lead us and guide us to the path of life that leads to eternal life and to be with Him in His Kingdom.
Constance Belanger and James Malm
O house of Jacob, come ye,
and let us walk in the light of the Lord.