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​Insights #11 Sept. 14, 2013
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Third Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“Reformation: Thinking New Thoughts”
For the week of Sept. 14, 2013


Salt in Water
Growing up I remember seeing the men in my neighborhood work on their overheated cars. They would take a rag, remove the radiator cap, and release the steam which had been building. The men then poured water from a hose in the radiator to cool it down. Anyone hearing that now is likely to think that's crazy, as coolant, an antifreeze/water mixture, is what is currently in use.  Antifreeze was developed to overcome the shortcomings of water as a heat transfer fluid.   The same mixture works as both coolant and antifreeze.  With antifreeze a wide temperature range can be tolerated by the engine coolant, such as -34 °F (-37 °C) to +265 °F (129 °C); as compared to water which is 32 °F (0 °C) to +212 °F (100 °C).  With only water in the engine, the water will turn into steam before the engine can reach its maximum temperature and will freeze when the temperature falls below 32 °F causing damage to the engine.  The central idea here is that when water is mixed with another substance, the freezing point is lower than it would be with water alone, and conversely the boiling point is higher.

This is the principle behind using salt to melt ice or salted water to make ice-cream.  Let us begin with the melting of ice.  Ice cubes melt faster in salinated water than non-salinated water.  When the salt touches the ice, the salt is warmer than the ice, thereby causing it to melt. Once the ice melts, it mixes with the salt creating a saline solution, thus, lowering water's freezing point.  Because the cold temperature is not cold enough to freeze the saline solution it remains a liquid.

When making ice cream, the ingredients are placed in a container which is then inserted into a larger reservoir filled with salt, water and ice.  The salt lowers the temperature of the water thereby making the water colder and thus the ice takes longer to melt. In other words, to make ice cream, the temperature around the mixture needs to be lower than 32 F so it will freeze. Salt mixed with ice creates brine which has a temperature lower than 32 F, in fact, the temperature reaches approximately 0 F. The brine is so cold that it easily freezes the ice cream mixture.

Christ told the disciples - and us, that we are to be the salt of the world (Matthew 5:39). What exactly did He mean? Well, we know salt flavors, preserves and melts.  What does this mean spiritually? Many articles have addressed the Christian’s flavoring of the world, and their preserving of Christ’s standards for all to see, but not much has been said of the melting properties of the salt on Christians.

Taking in consideration what we have learned as to why ice melts when in touch with salt, what is really happening is that there is a wider range of tolerance toward extreme conditions.  Thus the person who possesses the salt of Christ will have a greater capacity to endure trials.  What would harden someone's heart or cause a person to explode in anger will not harden or cause an explosion in a "salty" Christian.

One example is when Daniel's friends were thrown into the fiery furnace (Daniel chapter 3).  “This incident revealed that the faith of these three Hebrew young men was as gold tried in the fire.” (Our High Calling, 312).  Those who threw the Worthies in the furnace were scorched to death because they had no salt or no member of the Godhead with them. While Daniel's friends walked around the furnace as if the furnace itself was not hot. Ellen White says, "The three worthies endured the fiery furnace, for Jesus walked with them in the fiery flame." (Testimony to the Church, Vol. 3, p. 47).  In other words, they were preserved.

Through the presence of Christ, their tolerance for heat increased. In this story, there is a spiritual lesson.  Not bowing to the image meant death. The King had no problem killing anyone that would not do as he said.  But, yielding to the King in this case meant sinning against God.  According to the record, only these three Hebrews remained faithful.  All of the other subjects, nobles, and prisoners bowed down to the image (Daniel was not present).  In the face of this imminent threat, the Hebrew worthies chose death over sin.

Seemingly, what brought the other Hebrews to forsake God was not enough for these three young men to Sin. They were able to endure where their countrymen and professed fellow believers failed.  Was there anything these three did differently?  In Daniel 1, we read that they refused to eat of the King's table.  Ellen White says they would not dare to take a risk on, "the enervating effect of luxury and dissipation on physical, mental and spiritual development… they knew that their own physical and mental power would be injuriously affected by the use of wine... In reaching this decision, the Hebrew youth did not act presumptuously but in firm reliance upon God. They did not choose to be singular, but they would be so, rather than dishonor God. Should they compromise with wrong in this instance by yielding to the pressure of circumstances, their departure from principle would weaken their sense of right and their abhorrence of wrong. The first wrong step would lead to others, until, their connection with Heaven severed, they would be swept away by temptation." (A Call to Stand Apart, 54).

We can read in Ellen White's writings how important appetite is; let's continue reading: “To every soul Satan comes with temptation in many alluring forms on the point of indulgence of appetite.  The body is a most important medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the up building of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here often means the surrender of the whole being to evil.” (A Call to Stand Apart, 56). 

This passage reveals the importance of disciplining our body, “bringing it into subjection lest that by any means, when we’ve preached to others, we should be castaway" (1 Corinthians 9:27).  The concept of disciplining our body, and bringing its appetites into subjection to Christ, is what is meant by having our mind – our understanding renewed so that our thinking and practices or habits are transformed (Romans 12: 2).  The mind, residing within the brain, is an essential component of the body.  A body given to indulgence will invariably affect the mind adversely and vice versa. Hence, Paul's preface from the previous verse, "that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world..." (Romans 12:1- 2).  Sister White has this to say: “A sanctified life, like that of Daniel and his friends, will be evident in physical health practices.”  

Friends, a victorious Christian life is one in which the devil cannot have access to the mind and the soul by tempting the body with many alluring forms of temptations on the point of indulgence of appetite; Just as with Jesus, the devil had nothing on Daniel and his friends (John 14: 30). They were like those spoken of in Revelation 14:4, 5 and 12.

These are followers of God who in submission to Him go wherever He leads, are undefiled, guileless and pure; without fault before the throne of God, they are redeemed from among men, and will be the first fruits before His throne. These are they that treasure and cherish the commandments of God, and possess the faith of Jesus.

The faith of Christ is that which allowed Him to listen more attentively and eagerly until his listening culminated in His death on the cross as the ultimate demonstration of God’s wooing love for mankind.

All the commandments hang on love --agape – to God supremely, with whole mind, body and spirit, and then to man. It is this love which melts or hardens hearts. May we, by grace through faith, be the salt of the world.
-Raul Diaz