Which Way Lord? – Chapter 14 – by Dr Chandrakumar
SALT AND SUNSHINE
From the very beginning of history, men have set a high value on salt. A bag of salt among barbarians was worth more than a man. The ancient Germans gathered for worship in the salt districts and considered them the proper places to build their temples. In eastern countries, salt has been a symbol of friendship. To eat salt with another man is to accept his friendship. In Palestine they salted the newborn babies.
I. Qualities Of Salt
1. Salt Promotes
Salt promotes or enhances taste of all that it touches. Just imagine trying to eat a meal without salt. A king asked his three daughters how much they loved him. Two replied that they loved him better than silver and gold, but the third said, “Father I love you better than salt.” The king was very angry at such a comparison. The cook, who overheard the remark, left the salt out of the king’s breakfast. Only then did the King understand that his daughter loved him so much, that nothing was good without him. A person in Christ, is to the society what salt is to food. How is our Christian life? Does it add flavor to the lives of those around us and create in them a desire to have such a life through Jesus Christ?
2. Salt Penetrates
Salt penetrates into the food very quickly. We, like salt should have this penetrating quality, influencing others for Christ. Paul says, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in his triumph in Christ and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (2 Cor. 2:14;15). This fragrance arises from our testimony for Christ.
3. Salt Preserves
It keeps the living from dying. Everyone needs it. Without salt a pigeon can live only three months and a dog only six months. Punishment for a prisoner was to gradually die without salt. Salt is very essential to human life. Neither man nor beast can live without salt. When Jesus said we should be like salt, he meant to say that Christians are as necessary to the world as salt is for men and animals.
4. Salt Purifies
In the ancient world, salt was connected with purity. So then, if a Christian is to be the salt of the earth, he must be an example of purity in speech, in conduct, in thought, word and deed (Phil. 4:8; Ps. 24:3,4).
Salt is composed of two poisonous substances, Sodium and Chlorine, either of which if taken individually would kill you. Some Christians are either Sodium or Chlorine they are dangerous to the society. Christian saltiness is Christian character as depicted in the beatitudes. A true Christian should have his Christ – Likeness as pure salt should have saltiness.
Salt is produced by the effect of heat and light of the Sun on the seawater. But inspite of the sun’s rays beating down on the sea throughout the year, salt is not produced unless the sea water is taken out of the sea and treated separately by the same sunshine. The sea can be compared to this world. As Christians we cannot become salt crystals as long as we are attached to this world, compromising with the worldly pattern of life. We are not of this world though we are in the world (Jn. 17:16). We must keep ourselves unstained by the world (James. 1:27).
5. Salt Is Powerful
If enough grains of salt are added to water it can lift objects. The concentration of salt in the Dead Sea is ten times higher than that of any other sea or lake in the world. Every liter of its seawater contains an average of 30 gms of salt and other minerals. The Dead Sea can easily float an egg or bear the weight of a man enough to keep him from drowning. Likewise we, as small grains of salt in this world, when united together in the oneness of his spirit can powerfully lift up the society for the Lord Jesus Christ.
To achieve this we Christians should first of all be ‘distinctive.’ Salt is essentially different from the medium into which it is put. Its power lies precisely in this difference. So it is, with the disciples of Jesus. All the Christians should be as different from other men in the world as the salt on a plate is different from the food into which it is added.
Drinking any amount of salty water can never quench the thirst of a man. Have we ever made any one thirsty for the Lord and thirst for the kind of joyful, peaceful and powerful life we live? So, we as the salt of the earth must use our seasoning, penetrating, preserving, lifting up and thirsting qualities to influence the world for Christ.
II. Three Rays Of Light
Science tells us that light is constituted of three rays distinct from each other. One ray cannot be called light without the other two. Each ray has its own function.
1. The First Ray Originates
The first ray originates and is often called the invisible light. It is neither seen nor felt. God said, “Let there be light and there was light” (Gen. 1:3). Well, the spiritual light has already come in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. John bore witness of this light as a true light that enlightens every man whoever received this light (Jn. 1:6,9). Jesus himself said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12).
God has already released this light into this world and has proclaimed, “Let there be light” in every man whoever would receive it. We may even call ourselves to be Christians but still may not have this light in us. Just like the first ray of light which is invisible and can neither be seen nor felt, the world can neither see nor feel Jesus in some of us as we are just Christians by name. We learnt in the nature of light that, the first ray of light cannot alone, be called light without the other two. So, just by having a Christian name or by going to church or by reading the Bible and praying we cannot call ourselves Christians. Christ the Light is present in this world and in the church, but is invisible to a person who has not received him into his heart.
2. The Second Ray Illuminates
The second ray formulates, illuminates or manifests. It can be called visible light. It is both seen and felt. Only when a person receives Christ into his life by faith and is cleansed through the power of his blood this light becomes visible in him. At this stage he himself will be able to see and feel this light. The world can also see this light and new life in him but cannot feel the intense heat energy this light produces, unless the function of the third ray is complete in him.
3. The Third Ray Consummates
The third ray consummates. It is said to be invisible but influential. It is not seen but can be felt as heat. When a believing Christian who has already received this light allows this light to penetrate into all the areas of his life with its high intensity then heat energy is produced. Only then he is really felt by the world or in other words he influences the world. That is the consuming quality of the third Christian witnesses we should have this quality to bring others into the kingdom of God.
When a person receives Jesus, Christ light comes into him, but still there is darkness in different areas of his life. When we switch on the light in a room light spreads into the room. But still there is darkness under the cot, behind the shelf, below the table and chairs. Only when we throw away every single object from that room, it can be powerfully brightened by this light. Likewise, only when a born-again Christian completely surrenders every sinful area of his life to be penetrated by this light- Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit of God would fill him. Now he becomes a powerful influence in the society.
We can, to some extent compare the three persons of God with the three rays and functions of light. First, God himself is light (1 Jn. 1:5). But he is invisible (Jn. 1:18). This light was and is made visible through the second person our Lord Jesus Christ. People could see and feel Jesus Christ. And the third person the Holy Spirit is not seen but felt. He is invisible but influential. Peter and other disciples had received Jesus Christ the light but could not really be a powerful source of influence in the society until the day of Pentecost when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself said in Acts 1: 8, “But you shall receive power when the holy spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses…” So, God the invisible light should be made powerful through the Holy Spirit.
God, I pray thee, light these idle sticks of my life that I may burn for thee. Consume my life, my God; for it is thine, I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you Lord Jesus,” said Jim Elliot. Shall we ask the Lord to make us what he wants us to be – the salt of the earth and the light of the world!”
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