Bible Passages / Lenten Meditation

Temptations to Sin

Lenten Meditation-Mark 9: 49-50

49 ‘For everyone will be salted with fire.50Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?  Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’

Fire Salt — Bad

Sin is bad. Don’t sin. If you do sin, you will burn in hell for all eternity:

49 ‘For everyone will be salted with fire.

All sinners, every one of them, are cast into hell and salted with fire.

That was then, this is now. Luckily the bible really is just great literature and all that hell stuff is just myth. Today we mainly talk about the parts of the bible that tell us that God loves us. If there is a hell,only the really bad people go there; like Hitler. We are quite certain, maybe, that Hitler is in hell well-preserved and salted regularly with fire. Isn’t that what we think?

We Like Good Salt

50Salt is good;

Today we like to talk about the good salt. When we do the right thing, when we receive God’s grace, then the salt preserves us in a good way. With this salt we are preserved from the corruption of sin. But what is sin today?  Human sinfulness is mostly about hurting others and we decide how to define hurting others. It is all relative to the situation. So then, many things that used to count as sin are now OK because we evolved.

And because we evolved, we don’t need talk as much about our own sins. Instead, we are taught about God’s love. The expectation is, as evolved beings, we will pass the love on to others. It prepares us all to live here on Earth in peace and harmony.  So those that preach the Gospel, preserve us for God by teaching us about his unconditional love without teaching us about our sinfulness.  Here is the catch:

but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?

When we leave half of the Word behind, the salt ceases to be salty. The sparkle of salt crystal, does not change even when it has lost its flavor. The sparkling wisdom that our preachers preach has no flavor. Yes, it can still sparkle; God’s love is beautiful. But when we speak only of God’s love, the flavor is lost.  The flavor of the acknowledgment of sin is a necessary and extremely important part of the imparted wisdom of God’s Word. Without the wrath of God, then the love is diminished; without the confession of sin, then the  beautiful joy of forgiveness is abandoned. We cannot know the love of God without the flavor of the salt.

Have salt in yourselves,

If we are to be preserved, the salt must be in ourselves. When something is preserved, it is set apart. The salt in our hearts is the transcendence of God.  The salt within overcomes the limitations of physical existence by preserving us for the Kingdom of God.  Today, however, we focus on the immanence of God. We have reduced the omnipresent and the almighty to a tool for social justice and friendliness towards all; the salt is flavorless again.

be at peace with one another.

The disciples were being reminded to be at peace with each other. They had just argued over who should be the  greatest in the kingdom of the Messiah. This is why Jesus showed them the two kinds of salts. The fiery salts of eternal damnation and the savory salts of the grace of God. The peace between the disciples did not wholly happen until the holiness of God was fully revealed in the Resurrection. God’s transcendence, His holiness is fundamental.

We dumb down the truth about sin. We listen to half of the Word. We fix God in this world only. Which salt are we reaching for?

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