Mark 9:49 “For everyone will be salted with fire.
This verse comes after the section where Jesus talks about stumbling blocks to the kingdom. This includes issues in our own lives which may cause us to go astray or, leading others astray by our own behavior. To be present before God we must be purified.
If you look up commentaries on this verse of scripture you will find multiple explanations as to its meaning and yet, there is a bit of consensus around the idea that salt preserves and fire purifies. Translating this portion of scripture from the original text is quite difficult and the idea of being “salted with fire” is a bit tricky so we will go back to the two concepts of preservation and purity. Relating those concepts then to life in the kingdom and not being a stumbling block to others, Jesus is explaining to his followers that they are to be purified and preserved to be servants in the kingdom of God.
The words of Jesus ring down through the centuries for his disciples of all ages. We are to be purified and preserved as we follow Christ into kingdom living.
When I was younger I heard a lot of preaching on all the things that we were to do and mostly the things that we weren’t to do. We were known for being rather legalistic and eventually we realized that knowing Christ wasn’t about being legalistic. We relaxed a bit but I’m afraid we went too far to the other side and suddenly everything has become permissible. There’s not much talk these days about purification and yet there is an expectation from Christ that those who serve faithfully in the kingdom are pure and preserved.
We need to live with clean hands and a pure heart and this is only possible through the ongoing indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives. We need to be filled to overflowing with the Spirit who continuously purifies and preserves us so that we may live lives reflective of the kingdom. This purity of life does not become a stumbling block to others and while we don’t want to become legalistic again, the more that we follow Christ in the kingdom, the further we live from the things of this world. This is a life of purity in which we do not engage in questionable behaviors. There is a dramatic difference in our attitudes, activities and day to day responses to the world around us.
The focus of the Christian life must not be on the things that we don’t do — but the things that we do! What we do is follow Christ into a deeply intimate relationship with him through the infilling and empowering of the Holy Spirit. The very nature of God, holy love, fills his children to the point where his love leaves no space for sin. The Spirit not only purifies but then preserves us day in and day out from the temptations of this world. We do not have to live defeated Christian lives. Jesus tells us that we can be overcomers because we will be salted with fire.
Lord, please salt and fire me today. Amen.
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