“On Your Mark”
Spicey Living (Chapter 9 Verses 42-50)
The use of salt as a preservative, keeping food from spoiling is in mind here (v49). When Jesus calls his disciples salt, the thought surely is of both their teaching and conduct counteracting the corruption of the world (Matthew 5.13). The principle that counters and corrects is the Divine revelation, the word of God, given and entrusted to them. They have believed it, received it (John 17.8), been sanctified through it (John 15.3; 17.17), and so will others (John 17.20). It is the saltiness, the preservative of this Divine word that will do the work of countering corruption. Yet another reason beloved, why we cannot leave this word behind is, it must go with us, be in us, part of us, the very warp and woof, the fabric of our Christian lives, the word of God read, applied and lived out through the energy of the Holy Spirit. The word of God without the Spirit of God? Jesus parable of the ten virgins, their problem? They had the lamp (Psalm 119.105), but they ran out of oil (the Holy Spirit), they left him behind, they did not “walk, or keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5.25). It is a sadness but there are Christians who know an awful lot of the Bible, but little of, or no fellowship with the Holy Spirit. No, bread alone is insufficient, you need every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4.4; Luke 4.4), and we need the help of God’s Spirit if it is to be effective. Too many head-workers not enough heart-workers in both pulpit and pew today.
The calamities of the previous verses (vv42-48) are to be avoided by taking heed to the Bible, it is by this word we are born anew (James 1.21; 1Peter 1.23- 25), it is by this word we are sanctified, cleansed (John 17.17), it is by this word we are rebuked, corrected, trained and equipped for service (2Timothy 3.16-17). If you neglect the word of God how can you be saved (Hebrews 2.3)? So many spiritual tragedies could have been avoided if only people had kept closer to the word of God, cherished and hidden it in their hearts. The fire of this verse (v49), cannot be hell, because the fire of hell does not preserve, hell is not reformative, it is penal, from there, there is no way back. Salt has its own fiery property, burning and destroying the germs of corruption. The word of God in all its power has the ability to destroy the germs of sin, and burn them out of our hearts. The salt, the word is good (v50). It is spiritually wholesome and beneficial. To lose our saltiness, to become worldly again, to backslide into unbelief needs to be guarded against, but again keeping close to the word is the only corrective. Have that word (salt) in you says Jesus, all the time (Psalm 119.11), not in your hand, or your Church, those are included, doubtless, but in your heart. Using the word constantly, daily to keep you free from evil, corruption, from backsliding, to keep you clean and pure. That is the answer to the arguments too (v33), that is what will bring peace and harmony amongst them, living out the word. Salt less salt? Unimaginable. But only too true of many professors.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)