“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people!” —Matthew 5:13
Salt—the Hebrew symbol of the everlasting covenant between God and man. All sacrifices the Hebrews made were to be sprinkled with salt; grain, incense, and animal sacrifices alike carried with them the same savor. We discover in both Leviticus and Ezekiel:
“Moreover, you must season every one of your grain offerings with salt; you must not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be missing from your grain offering—on every one of your grain offerings you must present salt.” —Leviticus 2:13
“When you have finished purifying it, you will offer an unblemished young bull and an unblemished ram from the flock. You will present them before the LORD, and the priests will scatter salt on them and offer them up as a burnt offering to the Lord.” —Ezekiel 43:23–24
Hebrew newborns in ancient times were rubbed with salt to symbolize that they were children of the covenant. It is not too surprising that the disciples, being reborn into the new covenant, are called “the salt of the earth.”
Salt is a versatile seasoning agent. Jesus’ disciples were and are to be cleansing, flavoring, and preserving agents to a world which lies in an unsavory heap rotting. Disciples of Jesus, led and equipped by the power of the Holy Spirit, are to take on the same characteristics as salt. Salt is a necessity of life.
In the time of the original disciples, salt was scarce, precious, and valuable. The Good News of Jesus Christ is highly valuable as well. As bearers of this Good News, we bring salt to all the world!
Salt also halts decay. Disciples are to be the preservative on earth to keep their society from raging rot. Because of this, it is of ultimate importance that we do not blend with the world. When the world looks upon us, they should see something different, and that something is Jesus Christ! Again and again in Scripture God relents from sending judgment because of the righteous in the land. Believers are to be the preserving agents in our age as well. We are to be the voice that stands for the hard right against the easy wrong, the voice that speaks up for justice for the oppressed and the weak and helpless. We are to love mercy and our words are to be full of grace seasoned with salt.
Finally, salt melts ice. Even the hardest hearts are not beyond Christ’s reach. As salt, we must continue to touch the lives of those whose hearts seem frozen to the message of God’s love.
Our Lord tells us here as well that flavorless salt is worthless salt. We must maintain our saltiness to be of use to our heavenly Father. God’s way is always the best and most profitable, and yet it often seems the hardest. However, the easy way often ends in waste and unprofitability. Jesus tells us there is no remedy for tasteless salt.
“The true Christian cannot be hid, he cannot escape notice. A man truly living and functioning as a Christian will stand out. He will be like salt; he will be like a city set on a hill, a candle set upon a candlestick. But we can also add this further word. The true Christian does not even desire to hide his light. He sees how ridiculous it is to claim to be a Christian and yet deliberately to try to hide the fact. A man who truly realizes what it means to be a Christian, who realizes all that the grace of God has meant to him and done for him, and understands that, ultimately, God has done this in order that he may influence others, is a man who cannot conceal it. Not only that; he does not desire to conceal it, because he argues thus, ‘Ultimately the object and purpose of it all is that I might be functioning in this way.’” —Martin Lloyd-Jones
Disciples of Jesus are to be a primary seasoning. Do your actions point others to Jesus or do they prevent others from tasting and seeing that the Lord is good?