“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” Matthew 5:13
On October 2, 1864, an extremely bloody battle took place in the Civil War as the Union forces attacked the Confederacy in Virginia. Although the Confederate army was grossly undermanned in this battle, they rose up, mounted a fierce defense, and staved off their enemy. Approximately 500 men lost their lives that day in just a few hours of intense fighting. What motivated the Confederates to fight as they did that day? They were fighting over salt (the Battle of Saltville). The Confederates knew if they lost the salt mine, they could not preserve their armies’ food rations… and total defeat would be imminent.
Salt is a critical compound in our world, consisting of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Some have called salt the fifth element—included with earth, water, fire, and air. Without salt, we cannot survive. Salt is present in every cell of our bodies. Salt is in our blood, our sweat, our tears, and our saliva. The Romans used to say there was nothing more important than sun and salt. Indeed, salt is critical to life.
CHRISTIANS ARE SALT
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus likened His followers to salt. Believers are “the salt of the earth.” What are we to learn from this analogy?
1. Salt provides seasoning. Just as salt brings out the flavor of food, we as Christians are to bring flavor to our homes, our schools, our jobs, our neighborhoods, and our communities. Everywhere we go, the sweet aroma of Jesus is to be surrounding our lives and impacting those with whom we come in contact (see 2 Corinthians 2:14).
2. Salt provides healing. The sterilizing properties of salt make it valuable as a medicine. Wounds can heal more quickly with the addition of salt. But, as we all know, salt burns in a wound. It hurts as it heals. We too are to bring healing to a sick, sin-filled world as we speak the truth in love. No doubt, the truth will burn and sting, but conviction is necessary for true healing to take place. Notice that Jesus calls us to be salt, not honey. Honey is wonderful and sweet, but it cannot bring the healing that salt does.
3. Salt preserves against corruption. This was salt’s most important function in the days before refrigeration. Meat and fish would be packed in salt to ward off corruption. In like manner, the presence of a Christian in any arena of life should make a huge difference in that place. Remember, God would not have destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plains had he found ten righteous persons living there. Just “ten grains” of salt would have preserved thousands of lives.
4. Salt can get contaminated. While sodium chloride is a virtually indestructible compound that does not lose its saltiness, it can get polluted by other minerals. In Israel, the salt came from the Dead Sea. It was not refined. Gypsum and sand could easily mix with the salt crystals, diluting and compromising the savor. Contaminated salt could not fulfill its purpose. It was good for nothing and useful to no one. The people would have to throw it out on the road. As salt, Christians must guard against defilement and contamination from the world. If we love the world, “the love of the Father is not in us” (1 John 2:15). If we do not “come out from their midst and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17), we will lose our ability to season, heal, and preserve.
THE NEED OF THE HOUR
Our world desperately needs to taste some salty Christians—people who hold fast to the Lord and His Word and live in the power of the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, Paul tells us before the coming of the Lord there will be a falling away from the faith (2 Thessalonians 2:3). The salt will lose its savor and its effectiveness. When the salt becomes tasteless, destruction is not far behind. Jesus said when He returns, the world will be as corrupt as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37) and the days of Lot (Luke 17:28).
So… will you stand up and be counted? Will you ask the Lord to remove any pollution from your life so you can fulfill your purpose of being His salty witness to a lost and dying world? The time is NOW for Christians to get serious about being pure and undefiled salt! If not, corruption will run rampant on planet earth until God has had enough. Remember, a little salt goes a long way as ten righteous people could have preserved Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim. May we see the strategic role we play as the Lord’s ambassadors and stand in the gap for the land.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries