Salt and Light

“‘You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven’” (Matthew 5:13–16).

In these four verses the Lord summarizes the function of believers in the world—influence. This is a mandate for Christians to influence the world. The Beatitudes are not to be lived in isolation or only among fellow believers, but everywhere we go.

In verses 13 and 14, the pronoun “you” is emphatic. The idea is, “You are the only salt the earth knows and the only light the world sees.” The world’s corruption won’t be retarded and its darkness won’t be illumined unless God’s people are its salt and light. “You” in both verses is plural; that means the whole body, the church, is called to be the world’s salt and light.

By definition, an influence must be different from that which it influences, and Christians must be different from the world they are called to influence. We cannot influence the world for God if we are worldly ourselves, nor can we give light to it if we retreat to places and ways of darkness ourselves.

Ask Yourself
Is there anything that’s currently taking the bite out of your saltiness, or dimming the brightness of your light? Deal openly with the Lord about these things, asking Him to rid you of their influence so that you can be used of God to influence others.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610,

I Have Chosen You

You whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. Isaiah 41:9-10

It is tempting to think that our significance is determined by what we’ve achieved, where we’ve been, or where we are going in this life. Yet each of these is irrelevant when considering our lasting significance, which is grounded only in our relationship with God. This relationship is not based upon our wishful thinking or elevated opinions of ourselves. No, it’s based on the surety of these words: “I have chosen you and not cast you off.”

Have we not given God grounds to reject us? If God’s covenant with us and acceptance of us were based upon our daily performance, then none of us would remain in relationship with Him for more than 24 hours. But the wonder of His covenant with us is that it is founded upon His choice. He has chosen us, He has called us from the farthest corners of the world, and He will not cast us off.

Before we can obey and experience God’s grace, we must understand it. Grace is the antidote to all fear and anxiety. We will never be able to overcome worry by simply repeating self-help mantras, nor will we gain victory over fear only by the exhortations of others to obey what Scripture calls for. Such an approach will result in discouragement and doubt, even in despair. 

When dreadful thoughts arise—I am afraid and overwhelmed, and I don’t know what to do or I am weak and insignificant, and I don’t know how to go on—we must remind ourselves of God’s grace, which says to us, I called you. I chose you. I love you. I have not rejected you. Only the grace of God can help us to overcome our fears and give us this confidence. His promises put all else in perspective, teaching us to fix our minds on the hope of eternity and live in light of its reality.

Do you have any rivers that you think are uncrossable? Are there any mountains that you can’t tunnel through? Are you afraid of a new task that is awaiting you? Are you faced with continual difficulties? Remember that God’s truth doesn’t change. His purposes don’t change. His Son doesn’t change. This unchanging God is the one who is with you and for you. Listen to Him now: “I have chosen you and not cast you off; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.”

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.