Mark 9:50 (ESV) 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
There’s something, that, after further meditation on this passage I have to admit, that I missed. I’d like to dig out and have a look at right now. Here in these verses in Mark chapter 9 we have discovered a little gem tucked away—a portrait of how a Christian should look. We’ve learned that a Christian is like a child and asks—rather they participate in the great privilege of prayer. A Christian is humble but a great Christian humbly serves others. Above all, though, a Christian does what needs to be done in preparation to serve Christ and the Kingdom. A Christian starts what needs to be started–and finishes!—and stops what needs to be stopped to do so. A Christian, one who can actually call himself a disciple, is someone who prepares, one who’s conversation is seasoned with ‘salt’ so that he can answer ‘outsiders.’ (Colossians 4:5,6)
“You” Matthew 5:13 tells us “are the salt of the earth.” You, Christian, are that thing that adds savor to the whole world. “but” the verse continues, “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.” Salt without that saltiness is still salt—it just can’t be used for anything good. A church with out the saltiness of God’s word is the same way. What good is it? It becomes a social organization. It becomes a money pit. A commentary on outmoded forms of worship and Christianity: in other words it is fit for nothing except to be ‘trampled under peoples feet.’ I’ve heard of churches that have met all sorts of bitter ends. Splits, closures, an unwillingness to go on—whatever the reason they all came to their own individual conclusions because of one thing. They had lost sight of the reason they existed. Going and making disciples, presenting men perfect, these are the things that we should be about.
And so we who are members of Southern Baptist Churches may begin to feel the weight of these passages.
How can I make that assertion? How can I even contemplate the Churches of the Southern Baptist Convention ‘trampled’? It’s easy. We’re not discipling—which isn’t even a word–those we have been given. More to the point we are not ‘disciplining’ them. They come, they are baptized, they slip out the back door—don’t believe me? Ask your pastor about the ‘back door’ at your church and watch him either shake his head or quote the plan that’s in place for fixing the membership leak.
“if the salt has lost its saltiness” Mark 9:50 begins, “how will you make it salty again?” The only way I know to make an unsalty salt salty again is to dissolve it and remake it. Chemically it’s a simple thing to come up with a formula that, when properly mixed and heated, will burn out the impurities and put back in the proper atoms at just the right places. It is, however, nasty work: smelly and hot and often the end product looks nothing like the compound with which you started. It’s easier, MUCH easier, as these verses confirm, to toss the old and bring in the new. Salt is plentiful in the earth. The Lord has no lack of resources Church…are we getting the point?
As a church member I don’t like the dissolution, intense flame, and reassembly idea. It sounds painful. Such an event would further mar the face of Christianity in this country which, if I may, is pockmarked enough as it is. There is a remedy though. Are you ready?
“Have salt in yourselves,” we are told in Mark 9:50, “and be at peace with one another.”
Have you lost your salt? More to the point, have you polluted your salt with the bad stuff? Toss it and get some more. The Word of God is an immense saltcellar from which you can replenish your supply at will, oh Christian. Taste and see if it’s good. It IS good and sweet and wonderful and if you’ll just dip in there’s more than enough for all those who call upon the name of the Lord. ‘Be at peace with one another” we are told at the end of the verse.
I have come to the conclusion that if all those who are Christians would just pick up their Bibles and read them and do what they say that we could have ‘salt’ in ourselves and we could ‘be at peace with one another.’ Why is that? Because if we would just read the Word and do what it says with respect to the idea that it is the very Word of God and not just some instructions for living a good life and being a nice person it would change us. We would not be the ones massaging it around to meet our preconceptions. We would come away from our reading as changed people. We would have truly had an encounter with God that required no babbling, no false prophecy, no social or political posturing…
We would better know the Author and Creator of all things: God. Why can’t we get a grip on that? Why aren’t we willing to find out why we can’t get a grip on that?
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