We’re on a journey together to look at the 59 instances “one another” is used in the New Testament. We want to see what God has to say about us—the church—and of our relationship together as brothers and sisters in the family of God.
According to Jesus, our relationship with one another is one of the primary ways that the world will see Him and know His love. The church is also the place where God molds us and shapes us and transforms us together—with one another and through one another—into all that He desires for us to be for His glory!
In Mark 9:50 Jesus says to us “Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” If you’re anything like me, you might be thinking, “What does salt have to do with anything?”
It’s all about grace
Salt is ultimately about grace. Grace, like salt, cleanses and sustains. Grace is the flavor. Grace is what we are saved by and grace is what will keep us until the day we see Jesus face to face. We as Christians are a people marked by “salt” or grace. And naturally a people who have received grace are also a people who give grace.
Grace means unmerited favor. It means that we get something that we don’t deserve. Jesus offers to us and to every person Himself and not because anyone deserves or earns Him. Jesus offering to us is grace—grace freely given out of His incredible love for us.
So when Jesus tells us to have salt among yourselves, He is giving us the prescriptive for how we can have peace with one another: GRACE!
The question for us, how do we do this?
1. Jesus 1st
This call to have salt and be at peace not only comes from Jesus but it begins with Jesus.
Ephesians 2:14 tells us that “He (Jesus) Himself is our peace.” Peace begins with Jesus because He is our peace. It is Jesus that we not only have peace with God, but peace with one another as well.
Everything begins with Jesus and is found in Jesus. So we start by receiving Him. Receiving His love and His grace and what He has done for us. And in response to this, we pursue Jesus, we love Jesus, we worship Jesus and obey Jesus.
There cannot and will never be unity and peace amongst us as the people of God apart from Jesus. Every time that we get our eyes off of Him and make something or someone else our goal and focus, we open a door to division and for peace to be lost.
So Jesus 1st—because it is our love for Him and pursuit of Him individually and together that unifies us and brings peace.
2. Pursue Holiness
It’s no coincidence that this call from Jesus to have salt comes on the heels of His teaching about sin. In fact, Jesus actually says that if something causes you to sin (your hand, foot, eye)—to cut it off. Now that sounds pretty extreme, but sin is extreme—deadly in fact—not only to our personal lives, but to our life together as the church.
Sin destroys everything it touches. It destroys all kinds of relationships: marriages, families, friends and yes—even the church. So Jesus invites us to deal with sin and to go to whatever end is necessary to not let sin have its way, because the outcome is death.
So for us to have salt and be at peace we must pursue holiness. Salt in Biblical times was used in purification rituals. It was used for cleansing.
Now of course we can’t make ourselves clean and pure from sin, this is something that the Holy Spirit has to do within us. But this command to “have salt” implies that this is also something that doesn’t happen independent of us, but is something we also do.
In Hebrews 12:2 it says to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…”
So this is what we do. We get rid of the sin and hindrances that not only destroys our own lives, but that destroys our relationships as the church as well. We confess sin, we repent of it and we seek to put it to death. We turn from sin and we pursue holiness.
The “salt” or grace is here, it’s available to us. God is with us and His grace is available to us. But we must both receive that grace and respond to it in order for it to do its work in and through us so there can be peace.
3. Endure Together
Salt is also used as a preservative, which means it keeps. The invitation to us here is to be a preserving people, a people who last together.
The Bible tells us that we are brothers and sisters. God calls us a family and like every family, there are hardships and struggles and conflicts. There are days you might not particularly like each other and other days you just want to run. But you don’t quit on your family, and you don’t go get another family because yours is difficult. You deal with things. You address issues. You fight for one another, because you’re family and you love one another. Families are meant to last.
Far too often in our relationships together, we treat the church more like a convenient store than a family. So when things aren’t how we want it—when things get a little too difficult or there’s conflict—we just leave and go find another one. And we do this not even realizing the harm we are doing to the church and ultimately to the gospel we are displaying to the world.
Peace doesn’t mean that we just pretend everything is fine—that’s called hypocrisy. Peace means we deal with it. We deal with sin and conflict. It means that we’re honest with God and one another, and we don’t give up on one another just because it’s hard. Instead we endure together.
…have been saved by the amazing grace of Jesus! In response to this, Jesus calls you to be a people full of grace for one another. So choose grace! Pursue holiness! Endure with your brothers and sisters!
Be at peace with one another, church. Put the grace of God on display for the world to see!
Stay salty, church!