Matthew 5:13–16, “ You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus identifies Himself with Yahweh when He compares His disciples to the persecuted prophets of old (Matthew 5:11-12; Jer. 37-38). The Prophets carried out their ministries in front of the people of Israel. Disciples of Jesus today do not build the Kingdom of God in secret which is the point of Matthew 5:13-16. The Lord Jesus calls His disciples “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13) and the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), two substances that permeate and transform food or the darkness in which they are found. Like salt and light, the Church is to have a transformative effect on the surrounding society around it.

Salt is often produced as tiny grains and is not expensive given its prevalence, even though its value far outweighs its apparent insignificance. Christians likewise are to be like salt and have a positive effect on those around them. The Church must have a preserving effect on society and by its influence prevent the world from rushing towards ungodliness. Throughout the history of the Church, Christians have done this well historically, leading the way in the advance of human rights. Christians though are only salt if we maintain our difference from the world. In the Near East, salt can be found mixed with gypsum or sand, diluting its “saltiness” and worth. The same can befall Christians today if we cave into the culture and compromise the truth of God’s Word.

If you’ve ever lived in a rural community, you know well what it’s like to drive through a completely dark area. And if you’ve driven in the glow of a medium or large city, you know how the brightness of the city in the distance can give those living in the black of night a sense of direction and bearing. Jesus calls Christians o to be the light of the world and to live as those transformed by the Holy Spirit so the world will take notice and give glory to the Father (Matthew 5:14-16).

Christ calls His people to be salt and light but not for the sake of themselves, but for His glory. Jesus first tells us what we are and then calls us to live up to the standard He has set. In Christ alone, Christians are salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), and so we can live out by faith what He has made His people to be. Today, if you are discouraged by your lack of effectiveness in ministry, remember what Jesus says here and who He declares you to be. Now, by the power of the Holy Spirit go out and be salt and light dear people of God, for His glory.