Mark 9:50 “Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with each other.”
An argument ensues among the disciples as to which one of them is the greatest. Someone driving out demons in Jesus’ name offends them because he is not in their circle. They have to be warned not to let their attitudes and actions cause younger believers to stumble. Pride. Exclusivity. Legalism. Sin hasn’t changed much in the last 2,000 years has it?
Each of these situations is recorded in the Gospel of Mark Chapter 9. It’s interesting that right after these blatant displays of human nature the Lord warns the disciples they must treat sin radically. He uses hyperbole to illustrate. “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell” (verse 44). Why such severity? Pride, exclusivity and legalism split believers from one another and from the body of Christ. Jesus wanted to show them that behavior which cuts off fellow believers mirrors dismembering their own bodies.
But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He presents them with the remedy. He tells them “everyone will be salted with fire” (verse 49). No exceptions. Every individual who truly follows Christ will experience a fiery purification. Only the cleansing salt of the Holy Spirit can eradicate the deeply hidden sin that separates us from others.
Painful as the process might be, it leaves within us a deposit—a salty residue that emanates peace. Elsewhere Scripture says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). We can more graciously follow that command when we’ve been “salted with fire.” The fire produces peace that prevails even if others don’t extend it back. In fact, when we offer this peace to our enemies some of the coals from our fire end up landing on their heads…(Romans 12:20)!
So don’t lose your saltiness. Don’t let your heart be “flame-resistant” to the sanctifying fire of the Holy Spirit.