January 24, 2010 – January 30, 2010
“For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good; but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” Mark 9:49, 50.
Study Help: Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 36–38.
“A profession of godliness without the living principle is as utterly valueless as salt without its saving properties.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 443.
1 Knowing that “salt” means to protect, to shield and to maintain, what is Matthew 5:13 saying to us?
Note: “In many different ways his grace is also acting as the salt of the earth: whithersoever this salt finds its way, to homes or communities, it becomes a preserving power to save all that is good, and to destroy all that is evil.” The Review and Herald, August 22, 1899.
2 There are two kingdoms in this world, the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan. What was Jesus’ prayer to His Father for us? John 17:15–18.
Note: “There are two kingdoms in this world, the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan. To one of these kingdoms each one of us belongs. …
“It is not God’s will that we should seclude ourselves from the world. But while in the world we should sanctify ourselves to God. We should not pattern after the world. We are to be in the world as a corrective influence, as salt that retains its savor. Among an unholy, impure, idolatrous generation, we are to be pure and holy, showing that the grace of Christ has power to restore in man the divine likeness. We are to exert a saving influence upon the world.” Counsels on Health, 591, 592.
3 We are not to withdraw ourselves from the world in order to escape persecution. What is it that preserves the world from corruption? Luke 14:34, 35.
Note: “ ‘Ye are the salt of the earth’ [Matthew 5:13, first part], Jesus said. Do not withdraw yourselves from the world in order to escape persecution. You are to abide among men, that the savor of the divine love may be as salt to preserve the world from corruption.
“Hearts that respond to the influence of the Holy Spirit are the channels through which God’s blessing flows. Were those who serve God removed from the earth, and His Spirit withdrawn from among men, this world would be left to desolation and destruction, the fruit of Satan’s dominion. Though the wicked know it not, they owe even the blessings of this life to the presence, in the world, of God’s people whom they despise and oppress. But if Christians are such in name only, they are like the salt that has lost its savor. They have no influence for good in the world. Through their misrepresentation of God they are worse than unbelievers.” The Desire of Ages, 306.
4 What may be an indication that the salt has lost its savor? What influence does that have on others? Luke 14:34, 35.
Note: “The savor of the salt represents the vital power of the Christian—the love of Jesus in the heart, the righteousness of Christ pervading the life. The love of Christ is diffusive and aggressive. If it is dwelling in us, it will flow out to others. We shall come close to them till their hearts are warmed by our unselfish interest and love. The sincere believers diffuse vital energy, which is penetrating and imparts new moral power to the souls for whom they labor. It is not the power of the man himself, but the power of the Holy Spirit that does the transforming work.
“Jesus added the solemn warning: ‘If the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men’ [Matthew 5:13].” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 36.
5 Name some of the characteristics that come forth from a person whose salt has lost its savor? I Corinthians 13:4–8.
Note: “ ‘Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up’ [I Corinthians 13:4]. The purest joy springs from the deepest humiliation. The strongest and noblest characters are built on the foundation of patience, love, and submission to God’s will.
“Charity ‘doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil’ [Verse 5]. Christ-like love places the most favorable construction on the motives and acts of others. It does not needlessly expose their faults; it does not listen eagerly to unfavorable reports, but seeks rather to bring to mind the good qualities of others.
“Love ‘rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.’ This love ‘never faileth’ [Verses 6-8]. It can never lose its value; it is a heavenly attribute. As a precious treasure, it will be carried by its possessor through the portals of the city of God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 319.
6 To present ourselves a “living sacrifice,” what must be added? Romans 12:1; Mark 9:49.
Note: “In the ritual service, salt was added to every sacrifice. This, like the offering of incense, signified that only the righteousness of Christ could make the service acceptable to God. Referring to this practice, Jesus said, ‘Every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.’ ‘Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another’ [Mark 9:49, 50]. All who would present themselves ‘a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God’ (Romans 12:1), must receive the saving salt, the righteousness of our Saviour. Then they become ‘the salt of the earth,’ restraining evil among men, as salt preserves from corruption. Matthew 5:13. But if the salt has lost its savor; if there is only a profession of godliness, without the love of Christ, there is no power for good. The life can exert no saving influence upon the world. Your energy and efficiency in the upbuilding of My kingdom, Jesus says, depend upon your receiving of My Spirit. You must be partakers of My grace, in order to be a savor of life unto life.” The Desire of Ages, 439.
7 Read Titus 2:11–14. Explain how that grace becomes visible to all men and preserves.
Note: “Salt is valued for its preservative properties; and when God calls His children salt, He would teach them that His purpose in making them the subjects of His grace is that they may become agents in saving others. The object of God in choosing a people before all the world was not only that He might adopt them as His sons and daughters, but that through them the world might receive the grace that bringeth salvation. Titus 2:11. When the Lord chose Abraham, it was not simply to be the special friend of God, but to be a medium of the peculiar privileges the Lord desired to bestow upon the nations. Jesus, in that last prayer with His disciples before His crucifixion, said, ‘For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.’ John 17:19. In like manner Christians who are purified through the truth will possess saving qualities that preserve the world from utter moral corruption.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 35, 36.
8 What is the condition of a person whose salt has lost its savor? II Peter 2:20–21.
9 If a “garnished house” represents a “self-righteous soul,” what kind of righteousness comes and garnishes our hearts which causes the salt to lose its savor? Matthew 12:43–45.
Note: “The garnished house represents the self-righteous soul. Satan is driven out by Christ. But he returned, in the hope of finding entrance. He finds the house empty, swept, and garnished. Only self-righteousness is abiding there. ‘Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first’ [Luke 11:26].” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1093.
10 Whose character are we reflecting when in a self-righteous state and there is no savor in the salt?
Note: “Self-righteousness is a curse, a human embellishment, which Satan uses for his glory. Those who garnish the soul with self-praise and flattery prepare the way for the seven other spirits more wicked than the first. In their very reception of the truth these souls deceive themselves. They are building upon a foundation of self-righteousness.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1093.
“God calls His people to elevate the standard. The church must show their zeal for God in dealing with those who have, while professing great faith, been putting Christ to open shame. They have imperiled the truth. They have been unfaithful sentinels. They have brought reproach and dishonor upon the cause of God.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 450.
11 Knowing now the characteristics of a person whose salt has lost its savor, what correlation does this have with Revelation 3:15–18?
Note: “As they listened to the words of Christ, the people could see the white salt glistening in the pathways where it had been cast out because it had lost its savor and was therefore useless. It well represented the condition of the Pharisees and the effect of their religion upon society. It represents the life of every soul from whom the power of the grace of God has departed and who has become cold and Christless. Whatever may be his profession, such a one is looked upon by men and angels as insipid and disagreeable. It is to such that Christ says: ‘I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.’ Revelation 3:15, 16.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 36, 37.
“A discouraged soul is a body of darkness, not only failing himself to receive the light of God, but shutting it away from others. Satan loves to see the effect of the pictures of his triumphs, making human beings faithless and disheartened.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 744, 745.
“Salt must be mingled with the substance to which it is added; it must penetrate and infuse in order to preserve. So it is through personal contact and association that men are reached by the saving power of the gospel. They are not saved in masses, but as individuals. Personal influence is a power. We must come close to those whom we desire to benefit.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 36.
“Without a living faith in Christ as a personal Saviour it is impossible to make our influence felt in a skeptical world. We cannot give to others that which we do not ourselves possess. It is in proportion to our own devotion and consecration to Christ that we exert an influence for the blessing and uplifting of mankind. If there is no actual service, no genuine love, no reality of experience, there is no power to help, no connection with heaven, no savor of Christ in the life. Unless the Holy Spirit can use us as agents through whom to communicate to the world the truth as it is in Jesus, we are as salt that has lost its savor and is entirely worthless. By our lack of the grace of Christ we testify to the world that the truth which we claim to believe has no sanctifying power; and thus, so far as our influence goes, we make of no effect the word of God. ‘If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.’ I Corinthians 13:1–3, A.R.V.
“When love fills the heart, it will flow out to others, not because of favors received from them, but because love is the principle of action. Love modifies the character, governs the impulses, subdues enmity, and ennobles the affections. This love is as broad as the universe, and is in harmony with that of the angel workers. Cherished in the heart, it sweetens the entire life and sheds its blessing upon all around. It is this, and this only, that can make us the salt of the earth.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 37, 38.
Lesson Studies were prepared by Judy Hallingstad of the LandMarks staff. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .