As a young child (teeny bopper), in the days just before reaching teenage life, I used to love walking in dad’s veggie garden to eat tomatoes off the bush. In the beginning I soon found tomatoes tasted far better with a little salt. As I grew up I also realized that without salt on meat or without salt on some foods, food tasted awful. Salt is a commodity that we don’t talk about often, but without it our eating lacks. Salt is used to influence something!
Mt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
Verses 13-16 contains two elements of Christianity that are intended to influence society. Today we look at verse 13 which says that Christians are the salt of the earth.
1) Salt is used as
(1) Antiseptic. If you have a cut or sore on your body and swim in the salty sea water, you will find healing taking place very quickly.
(2) Preservative. It was only in 1834 that an American inventor built a refrigeration system. Today we take refrigeration for granted but before then salt was used to preserve foods, especially meat.
(3) Purification. Many people today use salt in place of pool cleaning chemicals to keep their pools clean.
(4) Flavor. Salt adds flavor to a variety of foods as a condiment.
(5) Fertilizer. I have used salt to kill weeds whilst others use salt to improve the quality of their soil.
(6) Fire catalyst. In dung stoves they would use salt slabs at the bottom to improve burning the dung.
(7) Sacrificial system. Sacrifices required salt and was called the salt of the covenant. (Leviticus 2:13 and Numbers 18:19).
2) Jesus says that Christians are salt. He does not say we need to be salt … He says we are salt. By implication He is saying that if we are not salt we are not Christian! When you consider the beatitudes in chapter 5v1-12, you find various principles for true Christianity. These principles open a door to the quality and behavior of Christian life. This means that Christians need to impact society. Our distinctly Gospel lifestyle needs to influence society, hopefully positively, but at times it might be negatively.
3) Let’s consider some of the uses of salt and apply it to ourselves.
(1) Antiseptic. The Gospel within must be a cause of healing to those we come into contact with. Perhaps not all, but some ought to be affected by the healing power of the Gospel … forgiveness of sin and deliverance from a lifestyle contrary to God’s Kingdom requirements.
(2) Preservative. Christians in society ought to be helping to preserve Gospel morality and ethics in the community. Sadly today both of these are in a state of serious decay because Christianity is not salt.
(3) Purifies. Gospel people not only seek to keep themselves spiritually and morally pure, we seek to encourage others to sin less.
(4) Flavor. The Gospel message ought to attract people to Jesus because as Christian we show the world that we are different. We bring a new dimension to a dying world. We show people that there is joy, happiness and pleasure in Christianity.
(5) Fire catalyst. We show the world how to feed the soul so that it is satisfied by directing them to the Bible.
(6) Fertilizer. As we pray for our community so the Spirit starts to work within people, Christian and non-Christian people, giving an appetite for Biblical morality, sowing Gospel seeds that will result in souls being saved.
(7) Sacrificial system. Where we don’t offer animal sacrifices, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices unto the Lord. As we do, the world sees our sincerity, authenticity and willingness to serve Jesus. This creates an impression in their minds that the Gospel must be genuine because we are so sincere.
4) So a confrontational challenge arises. It’s not … are we Christians salt, but are we functioning as salt. You see, the normal Christian life is being salt. Look at the verse again:
Mat 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
This is profound! Follow this …
(1) If the salt loses its saltiness. It does appear that salt can lose its saltiness. Can Christians lose their saltiness? Let’s see!
(2) How can it be made salty again? If salt is not salty, it cannot be made salty again! If a Christian loses saltiness can they recover? Can they be made salty again?
(3) It is no longer good for anything. Jesus says if salt has lost its saltiness it is useless to man. Again, can a Christian lose saltiness and become useless?
(4) Except to be thrown out and trampled by men. There is one use … Salt-less salt can be thrown out onto the pathway and be used as a light gravel. Ouch! No, a Christian cannot stop being salt! That is the nature and that is the character. The person who is not salty is sadly not Christian and never was. We see this from time to time. We have people who become active in Christian ministry and at times are quite good at what they do. I recall a man who said he had become a Christian and soon became trained in evangelism. With a team he would go our sharing the gospel with people in their homes. He was good, persuasive and articulate. People made commitments. He would be at the church services, Bible Studies and prayer meetings. Actually he was very involved in the Church. Then he and his wife went through hard times relationally and he started to become less seen … and eventually stopped ministry … and then stopped all Christian activities and soon returned to his former way of life. The point I am making is that he was not a Christian to start with. This means he was not salt … even though he was functioning as salt. As you read verse 13 from … “But” … you realize that Christianity is all about assurance, discipleship and proof.
(a) Assurance means far more than having an academic grasp of the Gospel message. It must include the Gospel having made a real change to the heart. You need to be able to read God’s Word daily and through prayer it must talk to you, confirming God is Your loving Father who addresses your soul.
(b) Considering the man who returned to his old ways … I wonder whether he was incorporated into Kingdom work without being suitably discipled. Often we are so eager to get workers that we use people who are not spiritually ready for the task. Have you been discipled?
(c) How does one prove themselves Christian? It is a lifelong walk with Jesus through the use of Scripture, Prayer, Church involvement, but more … a life of repentance. Continual repentance informs me I am serious about Jesus and His Cause. Repentance proves me salt!
Lord help me be true to You. Amen.