Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is Luke 14:34-35 where Jesus says,    

“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”


I just read an article that spoke of a “civil war” raging in America. I think that if I had written such an article, the headline would have called it an “UNCIVIL War.” This is because in the culture of our day virtually everything has been politicized, vulgarized, idolized, demonized, and euphemized. There are indeed two radically different worldviews vying for dominance in our culture, and one in particular wants to silence the other.

But here are some things to consider: I’ve served communities in some of the most secular places in our country. I’ve also spoken the message of God’s Law and God’s Gospel in various countries around the world. So my next statement comes neither from fear nor from a desire to hold on to what I already possess in order to maintain some kind of “cultural” dominance in a world of many tribes, languages, and cultures. (I would argue, however, that the foundational principles of America and her constitutional freedoms make this “culture” one of the best polities for people from virtually every tribe and language.)

My answer to the perceived and real “culture wars” is this: I don’t care if we are winning or losing the culture wars. Instead, I care whether we are engaging in it for the sake of the culture, as well as for the mission of the church. Actually, such a concern is more properly stated as God’s concern, first and foremost. I’m suggesting that He would ask of us: “Are you engaging the culture and the community in which you live ON MY TERMS for the sake of the Gospel? Are you sharing MY Law and MY Gospel on MY terms so that your culture might live in relative peace and civility in order that ALL might hear of my Good News in Jesus and be saved eternally?” That’s it! Are we engaging the culture in His way?

Remember, His engagement is two-fold. It’s a “Two Kingdoms” way, a “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's” approach (Matthew 22:21). To that end, we are to be like salt and light. We are to be about God’s preserving and saving work. We don’t get to pick and choose one or the other. We get to be His people on His terms for the sake of our community, our culture, our nation, and our world.

In today’s reading Jesus reminds us that we are to be like salt in the world. Salt does make things taste better, that’s true. But in this instance, I think that it’s more about salt’s preserving power. Salt was something like refrigeration for the ancient world. If you wanted something to last, salt it up! Salt meant that the food would last past the cycles of the seasons. Salt meant that you could take food on a trip and feed armies on their campaigns. Salt and gold were the means of wealth for those in the ancient world because they sustained temporal life. Elsewhere, Jesus tells those who follow Him, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). He thereby enables us to do the preserving work that orders the world in order to prepare sinful, human hearts to hear the Good News of the Gospel.

God indeed orders our world. He created us, male and female. He defines what it means to be human. He gives moral purpose and direction to human relationships, among one another and ultimately with Him. He preserves, despite our rebellion and sin. He protects, so that all may truly hear how He saves. Christians engage the moral issues of the day in order to point out that such discussions involve a higher authority. They involve enduring realities that all people are called to receive.

Salt it up! But then realize that even that penultimate perspective serves God’s ultimate work of proclaiming His saving work in Jesus; He alone is the light and the salvation of a world that would decay without Him. Preserve, protect, and proclaim! They are all part of the Christian life. Why? Because Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness and to give salvation as a gift! We get to be a part of His solution, not just for ourselves, but for others too. It’s a salt and light thing; get the picture?

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, it’s tough to proclaim Your authority to order and direct the world morally when I’m broken too. Give me courage to speak nonetheless, knowing that while there’s no boasting in being a sinner like everyone else, there’s no limit to boasting about a Savior like YOU. AMEN.

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