Sodium is a very interesting element. It is very reactive by itself. Simply placing it in water will cause it to sizzle, move around, catch fire, and explode. However, pure sodium is not found in nature at all. It is always combined with another element. Chlorine is a chemical element that does exist in nature, but it’s rare, and it’s toxic. Chlorine is what gives pools and bleach their unique smells. By themselves the uses of these elements are extremely limited, and they can be quite dangerous. However, together they create one of the most useful compounds on the plant, salt.
Many denominations today separate out the element of faith. They claim that other religions are falsely singling out the element of works. The reality is that neither of these elements should be separated from each other. In fact, if a religion has separated one from the other, it becomes dangerous and even toxic, just like sodium and chlorine by themselves.
Scripture makes it very clear that both faith and works are essential: “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected… For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:17-22, 26).
It’s hard to make it clearer than this. Faith is necessary. Works are necessary. Faith without works is a dead faith. Works come from an active faith (See Hebrews 11). They go hand in hand. If they are separated then they leave a lot missing. Together they are like, well, salt! If we think about it, faith and works are both necessary to truly be the “salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13).
We need to stop trying to separate the salt. There is so much good that comes from the two working together. Let’s be people of both faith and action!