The Bible is “Offensive;” Are You?
If not, why not?
By Curt Wildy
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
(2 Timothy 3:12).
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and [in his] Father’s, and of the holy angels
Many are familiar with some form of the idiom “putting salt in an open wound.” Throughout history, salt was used as an antiseptic to cleanse and to prevent infection. One unwanted side effect of this treatment was the sting; salt in an open wound doesn’t feel very good. The negative nature of this idiom (which denotes making someone’s unhappiness, shame, or misfortune worse) derives from this discomfort. Consider the following passage:
Matthew 5:10 Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Christians are the salt of the earth. Although we should never deliberately intensify anyone’s misery, we often expose the sin that leads to their ultimate unhappiness, shame, and misfortune. In so doing, we often make the unregenerate feel worse. When we speak the truth to people, especially if they do not want to hear it, it hurts them, offends them, and makes them angry. They become uncomfortable around us and they welcome our presence less and less. They began to perceive our truth telling as personal attacks and they feel judged. In a sense they should; salt also represents judgment. We read in Genesis 19:17, during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, that God commanded Lot and his family to “…Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.” In Genesis 19:26 we read that “[Lot’s] wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Lot’s wife disobeyed God; she sinned and was therefore judged of Him and consumed. She is an example to all of Judgement to come; hence God commands that we “Remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32).”
We see judgment in the sacrifices; salt and fire are often yoked together. See Leviticus 2:10 “And that which is left of the meat offering [shall be] Aaron’s and his sons’: [it is] a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire…. 13 And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” Numbers 18:17-19 states “But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they [are] holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat [for] an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD. 18 And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine. 19 All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it [is] a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.”
We also see salt used in judgments of entire lands. Deuteronomy 29:22-23 states “So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it; 23 [And that] the whole land thereof [is] brimstone, and salt, [and] burning, [that] it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath.” We read in Jeremiah 17:5-6 “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, [in] a salt land and not inhabited.”
We need to understand that although salt typifies judgement, we are never to judge anyone in the sense of esteeming ourselves over them because we are all filthy sinners by nature; we all have the one wicked heart of man and thus we are all capable of doing what anyone else is capable of doing, by nature. However, we are commanded to “judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment (John 7:24).” We are called and predestinated to be conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29). Part of that conforming, that fashioning or shaping together in His likeness, involves judging what He deems evil to be evil and what He deems good, to be good. In the Greek, one of the words for confess is homologeo; it means to be at one with, the same as, or together with, the word (of another). If you truly confess Christ, not only are you already at one with The Word (the Divine Logos), but you are at one with His doctrine, His teaching, with what He has to say on matters. So when we tell people that they are full of sin (that they, themselves, are sin) and that their deeds are evil, we subjectively rub salt into the open wounds of their sin. When we tell them that not only will they be judged for their wickedness, but God has ordained that they commit such things, they become all the more worked up. They do not want to hear that those outside of Christ were before of old ordained to condemnation (Jude 1:4), even born to be taken and destroyed (2 Peter 2:12) being vessels of wrath created and fitted (made perfect) for destruction (Romans 9:22 and Proverbs 16:4). When you inform them that their condition is therefore hopeless and that they must look to salvation in another, their pride is offended (it is nonsense to them). When you tell them that they are in need of the Christian Saviour to shelter them from the eternal hatred and wrath of God (for He is the only Saviour there is) , O how often they will either hate and revile you or scoff at and mock you. Mankind, by nature, simply does not want to have their sin exposed and the wages of their sin brought to their attention. They want to see themselves as spiritually healthy and whole, not sick, perverted, and stinking as they truly are (as we all truly are by nature).
Consider the following passages:
Psalm 38:3 [There is] no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither [is there any] rest in my bones because of my sin. 4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds stink [and] are corrupt because of my foolishness. 6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. 7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome [disease]: and [there] is no soundness in my flesh.
Isaiah 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head [there is] no soundness in it; [but] wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Nahum 3:19 [There is] no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?
God clearly likens our sinful nature and state before Him to open wounds and putrefying sores. We all have them; we are all by nature covered with them without any natural remedy. The Lord Jesus alone provides the remedy because He, alone, is the Remedy; He is the Balm of Gilead, the Sun of righteousness who arises with healing in His wings. He is the soothing salt that cleanses our wounds. When we proclaim Him, walk with Him, and keep His testimonies (confessing them) then we evidence ourselves to be savoury, salted, salt. God instructs us as follows “For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 50 Salt [is] good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another (Mark 9:49-50)” and “Let your speech [be] alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man (Colossians 4:6).” Our words are ordained by the grace of God and should be full of the grace of God; however, that salt, that righteous judgment, needs to be mixed in as well. There is no true grace without salt; neither in the heart nor in the witness.
Let us strive to be free from the fearfulness and timidity that would tempt us to water down our witness. May it never be said that we put our candle under a bushel; may our prayer be that, if He wills, He will give us great boldness, plainness, and clarity of speech as He sends us into the world to speak the truth. If you claim to be a Christian, then stand up for the truth of God and His word. Do not fear men. Do not be unduly saddened at the loss of friendships and acquaintances. Do not let glarings and revilings cause you to halt and cower. Tell the truth, refute the doctrine of devils, call that which is evil evil, and remember that the wicked (all who are outside of Christ) will have their end. Christians have nothing to fear, though we fear daily in this body of death. Be strong in Christ as He enables; Trust in Him, He will see you through. But note, I do not say this as someone who has arrived, or who has in any way mastered the above. I say this as a saved sinner who needs this kind of encouragement and admonition just as much, if not more, than anyone else. I want to walk according to the above and pray that God enables me to do so; but I see how woefully short I fall. Without Christ and the effectual working of the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing ; I pray that He works mightily in all of us in this regard… as He deems right.
To the Lord be the glory forever and ever.