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"And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him." (Gen.22:2-3)
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HOME CALL
Br. Samuel Babu, Believers Brethren Assembly, (BBA), Majlis - Bahrain For the last few days, we have been relentlessly praying for Br. Samuel Babu, who suffered Cardiac Problems and was admitted in Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain. It was well pleasing for our Lord to call HIS child to the Eternal Home, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no tears, no sickness and no death. He went to be with the LORD around 10:30 PM Bahrain Time today (Friday 23rd 2015). Let us uphold the grieving family members to the Throne of Grace. May the Lord bestow upon them heavenly Grace, Peace and strength and console them with the word of God.
 
 
 
E- DEVOTIONAL

THE SALT OF THE EARTH

Dr. Varghese John, Trivandrum

 

 

                The Sermon on the Mount is a vivid picture of the character of a Christian. The Beatitudes found at the very beginning of the Sermon are the right attitudes that a Christian should show towards God and to his fellow men. Just after presenting the Beatitudes Jesus spoke of the impact of a Christian's life on the people around him. To illustrate this fact Jesus used the metaphor of salt. Jesus said to His disciples, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men" (Matt. 5:13).

 

            In the ancient world salt was highly valued. The Greeks called salt divine. The Romans said, "There is nothing more useful than salt and sunshine". The Jews who lived in the time of Jesus were also aware of the characteristics and uses of salt. When Jesus used the expression 'salt of the earth' he had in mind all the properties of salt that are familiar to His disciples. Salt has three important properties and each one conveys a spiritual truth figuratively. Let us look into them one by one. 

 

1. Purity

 

            Salt was considered very pure, in the ancient world, due to its sparkling white colour. The Romans treated salt as the purest of all substances because the most pure sun and sea produced it. Salt was one of the most primitive offerings to the gods. Some of the Jewish sacrifices also were offered with salt. Hence salt was a symbol of purity and holiness even among the Jews. When Jesus spoke of His disciples as the 'salt of the earth', He meant that His disciples should be living examples of purity.

 

            One of the characteristics of the world which we live in, is the setting aside of standards and making void of values in life. Honesty, which was the best policy once, has become a lost policy now. Integrity in personal and public lives is no more a virtue. Many other long cherished virtues have lost their currency. Getting things done by hook or crook or both has become the fashion of the day. Under these circumstances, we as Christians have to play a significant role to set the right standards. When the world is groping in the darkness of impurity, the purity of Christians should shine more. We have to uphold the standards of purity in speech, in conduct and even in thought.

 

2. Preservation

 

            Salt was the most commonly used preservative in the ancient world. In those days, due to the absence of refrigeration, salt was used for keeping things from decay. Plutarch, the Greek philosopher has written, " Meat is a dead body and part of the dead body and will left to itself, go bad; but salt preserves it and keeps it fresh, and is therefore like a new soul inserted into a dead body". This statement throws light into the role salt played as a preservative in the ancient world. The disciples of Jesus knew this property of the salt also.

 

            Being the salt of the earth, Christians must have a certain antiseptic influence on the society that they live in. If the people of the world are left to themselves they will degenerate like rotten fish or meat. Hence the Church has to act as salt to prevent the process of social and moral decay.

 

            The Christians are expected to live in this world, but they have to keep off the values of the world living in them. This is what Jesus prayed for His disciples in His prayer on the eve of His crucifixion. He prayed for keeping them in the world and keeping the world out of them (John 17: 15). The church and the world are two distinct communities. The church has to maintain its identity though it has to live in constant contact with the world. The church can preserve the world from decay only if its preservative property is powerful. The moment the Church loses this quality, it not only will fail to influence the world but will be influenced by the world also.

 

            How can we preserve the society around us from decay and degeneration? It can be done in many ways. By our commitment to principles in life and the laws of the land we can set a pattern to follow. By our participation in some programmes that cater to the social and material needs of the poor, we can act as a preservative to the society. Christians who occupy key positions in Government service also can control corruption to some extent by their personal integrity. By living as a preservative in society we may not win everyone for Christ, but we can certainly give credibility to the faith we proclaim.

 

3. Flavour

 

            Salt has been recognised from time immemorial as an essential component of human diet. It may be because of its taste. Job, the ancient saint asked, "Can flavourless food be eaten without salt?" (Job 6:6). The answer is obvious. Salt gives taste to tasteless food. Christianity is to life what salt is to food. Christian faith lends flavour to life. It brings meaning and purpose to life. It makes life worth living in spite of the chances and changes of life. Christ came to this world to offer divine joy and peace to those who trust in Him. This joy is distinguishably different from the happiness that the world gives. Happiness always depends on the happenings in life. It is subject to change. But the Christian joy is a permanent one. Jesus said, "Your joy no one will take from you" (Jn. 16:22). He also said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you" (John 14: 27).

 

            The tragedy today is that too often people think of Christianity as one, which takes all the flavour out of life. Many equate Christian life with boredom and bondage. Why is it so? It is because we as Christians have lost the true flavour of Christian life. Jesus warned about the possibility of salt losing its flavour. The effectiveness of salt is conditional. Normally salt will not lose its saltiness or flavour. It is resistant to almost all attacks. However salt can be contaminated by mixing with impurities and thus become useless. Such salt cannot be used even as manure. The same is the case with a Christian. A Christian can never lose Christ who resides in him. But his life may become useless if he constantly conforms to the sinful practices of the world. Such a person may still be known as a Christian, but he will lack the power and character of Christian life.               

 

            To become the salt of the earth, The Christians should keep their Christlikeness as salt should keep its saltiness. What about our spiritual condition today? Are we the salt of the earth?

 

 
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