Daily Devotional 2-3-20

Made for Purity  
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

“You are the salt of the earth…Matthew 5:13

Jesus used everyday images, elements, and situations to drive home important lessons about the kingdom of God. Parables are typical examples. Today’s text captures Jesus’ usage of salt to teach about the life and influence of His followers in their surrounding culture.

Salt is common because it is important. It has a wide range of usage. From domestic applications, to industries, to science labs, it has proven to be an indispensable compound. In the then Greek world, salt was so highly valued they called it divine.  In fact, the Romans had a saying that, “there is nothing more useful than sun and salt.” In Jesus’ time, salt was related in people’s minds in three different ways (we would be exploring them this week).

Salt, to the Romans, was connected with purity. They said it was the purest of all things because it was made from the sea and sun. It was indeed, the primitive of all offerings to the gods. So then, the Jews hearing this teaching from Jesus made a connection with purity. Therefore, Jesus’ call to His followers to be the salt of the earth is an invitation to be examples of purity. 

One of the characteristics of our world today is the lowering of standards. Standards of honesty, diligence, morals, conscientiousness, faithfulness, all tend to be lowered. It almost looks like those who aspire to keep high standards are seen as harsh and cold. Jesus’ statement is a call to His followers––who belong to the kingdom of God––to be examples of purity in speech, conduct, and thought. We live in a world where deliberate incentive to sin is rampant and displayed. The media has become the chief source of enticement and entanglement. In such a situation, the Christian has the tendency to withdraw from engaging with the world, in order to keep their purity. But, Jesus does not call us to pull away into seclusion. He, rather, encourages us through James to keep ourselves, “unstained from the world,” as we shine His light and love.   

Christians even have a better motivation to be the salt of the world: Jesus gave up His life for you. What would you give up to keep your purity?

PRAYER: When I seem to be overwhelmed by temptations and lures into sin, help me, Holy Spirit, to keep my saltiness (purity).