Volume. XXXVI, No. 12
Sunday, 19 September 2021

Ye are The Salt of the Earth and The Light of the World

In the eight beatitudes, Jesus describes God's children's characteristics. According to our Lord Jesus Christ, a Christian is one who is poor in spirit, mourns for his sin, is meek, hungers and thirsts after righteousness, is merciful, is pure in heart, is a peacemaker and is ready to be persecuted for Christ.  These are what a Christian has inside him; it's about character and attitudes. Immediately following the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus uses two powerful metaphors to describe His people. He calls them both salt of the earth and light of the world. Both salt and light are very valuable and helpful though vastly different in application. As salt and light, Christians are catalysts for change.


The first metaphor Jesus uses is in 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.” Jesus did not say, "You must be salt,"  or "It would be nice for you to be salt."  But if you are a Christian, then you are the salt of the earth. What is the purpose of salt? There are literally thousands of uses of salt but today we list just the few that were known during Jesus’ time. One of the most common uses of salt is that of a preserving agent—salt wards off rot and decay. Christians are to be like salt to this decaying world. By our speech, good deeds or by our example, we prevent the rotting of this world. Salt is such a powerful preservative.  Abraham pleaded with God not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 if there were a preserving influence of just ten righteous men. 


Salt also has a remarkable cleansing ability, and saline solution is used to cleanse wounds. In 2 Kings 2:19-22, Elisha cleansed the waters at Jericho with salt. Christians should have a purifying effect on the world around them. Our presence and influence have a purifying force. Gossip or unedifying talk stops when a Christian walks into a group. Salt also has a pleasing ability to add flavour to our food. We all know how tasteless most food is without salt. Salt brings out the best in us. The world that we live in is bland and savourless, but the true Christian lifestyle is like salt, adding flavour and satisfaction. When people get a taste of our inner godly characteristics, they will be attracted to our Saviour and God. But a Christian who is not dispelling the qualities of salt is worthless in God's eyes. God wants us to examine ourselves. We are to be the instruments that God can use to implement change in a wicked world. As people see the beauty of our lives, they will be attracted to the Jesus we preach. We are the salt of the earth.


The other metaphor which Jesus uses for Christians is, “ye are the light of the world.” Both salt and light are everyday objects but are vastly different.  Salt, once dissolved, is hidden; light cannot hide itself. Salt will work secretly, while light works openly. Salt works from within, light from outside. Salt speaks of the indirect influence our gospel centred lives bring, while light pictures the direct and bold proclamation of the Christian life. Salt is largely negative. It can retard corruption. Light is more positive. It not only reveals what is wrong and false but points to what is righteous and true. So when Jesus called us Salt and Light, He is telling us that we were left in this world to influence it for the glory of God. We are to be salt to help retard the corruption in this world, and we are to be light to help dispel the confusion that is all around us.


Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. 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. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Jesus did not say we need to get a seminary degree or a college education to be the light of the world. The day we believe in Christ, that day we are the light of the world. We can make an eternal difference to the people around us. As they see the light in us, they will see the One who gives us the light.


Our world is in deep darkness and is in a desolate situation that people know not. Darkness prevails, but Jesus came to dispel darkness and give us light. "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." (John 8:12). He sends Jesus the great light of the world, and those who know Jesus are also the light of the world. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” (Ephesians 5:8). Jesus has given us His light; He has made us light for only one purpose – to shine for Him.


We are the light of the world. Light has the power to dispel darkness. Being all alone inside a dark room or inside a cave can be a scary and frightening experience. But even a tiny matchstick, when lit, can dispel darkness. In the darkness, everything is vague, and we see distorted reality. But with light, all things are revealed as they ought to be. Light gives visibility and gives us a sense of direction. We, the light of the world, have the answers to the chaos, hurt, and misery that surrounds us. We do so by letting our light shine and by pointing others to Christ. Are you making a difference as the light of the world? “A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Mt 5:14). As you all know, even the smallest of lights chases the darkness away.  A city is a collection of many lights, and it shines forth even brighter. As a family of God, we let our light shine by being a vibrant witness with our values, good deeds, and the truth we stand for.  We cannot be hidden but are to be like a city set on a hill; the Christian witness should not be hidden. Are we fulfilling this mission?


Jesus mentions the problem of some who hide their candle under a bushel.  Maybe those who hide the candle think their light is insignificant, or they are afraid to shine or are even apathetic to the matters of God's kingdom.  A lamp left under a bushel is hidden, and its light is wasted. Don't hide your light under a bushel but put it on a stand. There is no greater witness than God's children reflecting the light of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus wants our good works to be seen so that others will praise the name of our Father in heaven. May our good works be motivated by God's love. If the world is still in darkness, who is to be blamed - the light of the world. If the world is decaying, who is to be blamed - the salt of the earth.


Let us be a catalyst for Christ as the salt of the earth and light of the world.


Rev Mathews


More Lively Hope



  • Missions Fair coupons for sale from today. Please have cash prepared if you would like to purchase.
  • Missions Fair Cookbook pre-sale is open. 
  • Greetings from Rev & Mrs Keith Coleman.
  • Helpers needed for Holiday Bible Club to provide lunch/refreshments.
  • Registration form for Holiday Bible Club: https://forms.gle/xzSSLpjroRVfMFU46.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Baptism & Transfer of Membership last Lord's day.
  • Current COVID-19 situation in South Australia.



  • Healing: all who are unwell.
  • Holiday Bible Club - Speakers, organisers, helpers & paticipants.
  • Missions Fair – Organisers, helpers & Hopefuls attending; for our missionaries.
  • Comfort & peace for friends & family interstate & overseas affected by COVID-19.
  • Journey mercies: Dn Jason Tan (S’pore).



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041