Grace With Salt

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
Our words should be “always with grace,” and prove themselves such by ministering good to the souls of others, “grace to the hearer.” This, however, will be ofttimes in the pungency of admonition or rebuke, and at times with severity or decision, or even with indignation and zeal. In this character they will be “seasoned with salt.” And having these fine qualities, being thus gracious and yet salted, they will be such as will bear their own virtues, that we have known how to answer every man.
The Lord Jesus, among all others, illustrated this form of moral perfection. He knew how to answer every man with words which always were with grace, or to the soul’s profit, but at times seasoned, or seasoned highly, with salt.
In answering inquiries He did not so much aim at satisfying them, as at reaching the conscience or the condition of those who put them.
In His silence, as well as in His words, when He had to stand before the Jew or the Gentile at the last, before either the Priests, or Pilate, or Herod, we can trace full moral beauty and perfection, witnessing that at least One among the sons of men knew “when to keep silence and when to speak.”
Great variety in His style presents itself to us in all this. Sometimes He is gentle, sometimes peremptory, sometimes He reasons, sometimes He rebukes at once, and sometimes conducts calm reasoning up to the heated point of awful condemnation and judgment.
He knows the moral of the scene before Him. “By Him actions were weighed” in their value as before God; and His words as well as His doings answer them accordingly.
Matt. 15 has struck me as a chapter in which this perfection is specially shown us. In the course of the action there, the Lord is called to answer Pharisees, the multitude, Peter, Syro-phoenician, and the disciples again and again in their mistake, and stupidity, and selfishness; and His tone of rebuke and of reasoning, of calm, patient teaching, and of deep, wise, and gracious training of the soul, are all precious and admirable in their place and occasion.
And, let me ask, is there not a fitness in its not being said of the Lord in Luke 2 That He was either teaching or learning, though it is said that He was hearing and asking questions? It seems to me that there is. To have taught would not have been in season, a child as He was in the midst of His elders; to have learned, would not have been in full fidelity to the light, the eminent and brighter light which He knew He carried in Himself; for, “He was wiser than his teachers, and had more understanding than the ancients,” we may surely say of Him, I mean not as God, but as One “filled with wisdom,” as it is said of Him.
But here again we get the grace of which that Scripture—“Let your speech be alway with grace”—speaks. For of this child, in the Temple with the Doctors, we read that He was “strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” So that He knew how in perfection of grace to use the fullness of wisdom that was in Him, and He is, therefore, not presented to us as either teaching or learning.
Elihu comes to remembrance here. Elihu was silent while years were before him, and, while multitude of days was speaking; but he knew that he had the Spirit of God, and the rights of the Spirit he must assert, though otherwise he would have been silent to the end.