Tuesday, January 24, 2012
seasoned with salt
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Paul assumes that Christians will be engaged with unbelievers. The church naturally interacts with those outside her community. This expectation is what brings the gospel into the world. It is what makes the truth live for all to observe. And the natural fact of this truth is accentuated when Christians conscientiously live it out to those who are outside the church.
The first sense of this is shown in lifestyle. That is why the metaphor of "walk" is used. We will live our lives in relationship with unbelievers. The church does not isolate. We infiltrate. And the call is to walk through our communities with wisdom. Of course the source of that wisdom is Christ and the Word of God. To walk wisely then is to live gracious Christian lives in a winsome way toward (not away from) those outside the faith. We want to engage relationships toward those who need Jesus, intentionally displaying the wisdom of the gospel for them to see.
And when we engage the world in this way, we had better be prepared to talk about Jesus! Our speech is to be gracious. What is more full of grace than than the gospel? At some point and I believe at all points, we should naturally talk about Christ's redeeming love and His transforming work in our lives. It is that wisdom that unbelievers desperately need, even though they may not fully know that they want it. And eventually they need to hear it in order to believe it and be saved.
This is the gospel lifestyle of the Christian. It walks the walk and talks the talk. Not in a trite way, but with the seasoning of the salt of the gospel. That piques the thirst of those who need the water of life. We are promised that if we will live this way in the world, we will have the answers (the gospel as seen and heard naturally in Christians who infiltrate the culture) that every person really needs.