The Secrets of Living as a Salt and Light

When Jesus spoke on the mountain to a group of insignificant, uneducated men of Galilee, why didn’t He say, “You are the sugar of this earth and shadow of the world?” Instead, why did Jesus clearly command to be the salt and light of this world? What did Jesus really mean by that?

salt and light - paul sohn

The meaning behind this intentional metaphor fully crystallizes only when we genuinely understand the nature and function of salt and light. Jesus, in essence, commands us to different. We are to be in the world but not of the world.

Let me share with you key features and purposes of salt and light:


  • Preservative – A key feature of salt is to serve as an antiseptic, preventing the degeneration of food. Antiseptic can work only if only the salt is rubbed into the meat. As Christians, we must be in the world, facing what the world offers but not be of the world embracing its worldly values and ethics.  As a moral antiseptic, Christians will benefit the secular society by preventing the corruption of society in the moral decay.
  • Flavor – Without salt, the food becomes rather boring, tasteless, and insipid. Likewise, without the Good News and Christian behaviors, there is no true flavor in the world. No true joy can be accomplished without perfect flavor that Christians provide.
  • White – The white color of salt symbolizes its purity. Christians are to live holy, pure, different lives. Christians should glory in our difference. An intentional choice needs to be made in our daily decisions in our life pursuing the truth and virtues of Jesus Christ. Paul proclaims in Romans 12, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world
  • Fertilizer – As salt enables the growth of plants, Christians likewise need to foster the growth of that which is good in the world. Christians may engage in their calling whichever realm (read more about 7 Mountains of Influence) it may belong, and they must champion good and godly causes that promote the good of humanity
  • Thirst – As you consume salt, you become more thirsty. Likewise, we as Christians ought to cause people enable an unquenchable thirst for the Gospel in the people in this world. By exemplifying the very attributes of Lord Jesus Christ, people will start noticing our different behaviors and ask, “Why are you different? Why are you filled with so much patience, peace, and joy?”


In Greek, the verse reads, “You and you alone are the light of the world.” Shining is not optional for light. It is a key feature of light. Likewise, we as Christians must understand the function of light.

  • Expose Reality of Evil – light will make all the wickedness and rottenness visible. The Bible will help you expose the wretchedness of this world. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your words is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
  • Enlightens us to God – the light of the world will open the blind. We think being blind is bound my physicality. God clearly points out we are spiritually blind. Our sinful nature naturally is inclined to relishing the darkness within us.
  • Shows the Way Out – light points to the way out of the darkness. The tunnel of hopelessness, meaninglessness, death, and hell is illuminated with the light of the world. Christians must provide an unobstructed view of the cross to those in whom we come in contact with. The exit is toward Jesus Christ, our salvation.


If you were looking for a magical secret recipe of gaining flavor and shining, here you go: Live a different, holy, and purposeful life. Be filled with the Holy Spirit day and night. Sounds mightily simple? Sounds like a platitude? What may seem like the simplest is sometimes the hardest to achieve. By building habits of unshakable foundations which includes practicing the beatitudes, praying fervently, reading and reflecting over the Bible, your very existence will exude flavor and beacon of light in this world.

After few hundreds of hours of quiet time, I concluded starting a blog would perfectly fit my set of giftedness to influence my fellow Christians and non-believers to be the salt and light of this world.  It is my sincere hope that you will join me in this purpose.

Question: How are you living as the “salt and light” of this world?