(Mat 5:13) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Today, the term “salty” is often used, but not in a good way. Someone who is “rough around the edges, foul language, etc.” But once of the characteristics we are expected to exuberate as Christians is saltiness.
Why did Jesus compare the Christian to salt?Salt is something very common during Jesus’ earthly ministry, and is still common today. It is said that salt has over 14 thousand uses.
In the times of the Bible, they used salt with the sacrifices:
Leviticus 2:13 And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
In the Middle East, during the times of the Bible, it is said that salt was used as a token of a covenant. When an agreement was made, each person would sprinkle a little salt and say something to the effect of, “There is salt between us.”
All of this shows the importance of salt during these times that Jesus is teaching. So, we will take a three-part look at the aspects of Jesus expectation of the Christian to be the salt of the earth:
THE PRIORITY OF THE STATEMENT
To understand the statement, we need to understand the background of it. There are three important questions to consider:
First, Who Said It? Jesus – He is the greatest authority in the entire world, on all things. After He finished the Sermon on the Mount, the Word of God tells us in Matthew 7:28-29 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: (29) For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
After listening to this great sermon, the hearers could feel and knew that there was something different about what and how Jesus taught. He had the authority of God, because He was God. He knew the Word because He was the Word.
Too many Christians give more authority to preachers and friends than they do the Lord and the Bible. The Word of God is our final authority for all areas of faith and practice.
The second question we will consider is, What Did He Say?
Jesus said that they, and in turn us today, are salt. Salt is something that is essential in this world, something that is needed. Christians who are sold-out and living for God are needed today, but little in supply. In essence, Jesus was saying, “You are what keeps things going.”
Jesus did not say, “You MIGHT be salt…you should TRY to be salt…but, “Ye ARE the salt of the earth…” Regardless of what real or imaginary limitations we may have in ability, we are expected to be salt. There is nothing that should prevent us from doing so.
The final question we consider is, Whom Did He Say It To?
He said it to His disciples, not the multitude (5:1). We often get into trouble because we expect those who are lost to believe and live like Christians (be salt, light, etc) and can’t figure out why they won’t. It is because they are a part of the multitude, but not a disciple.
The word disciple means learner. Some try, unsuccessfully, to separate disciples from the saved and say that a disciple is a different level of Christian, or a more committed Christian. The Bible does not make this distinction, and all believers are considered disciples.
No doubt some disciples are not doing a good job following the Lord; it does not mean they are not a disciple. Think about kids at school. Students in same class get different grades on same test. They are all students, but some are better than others. Therefore, all born-again believers are disciples, some are just closer to the Lord than others.
What priority do you make Jesus and His commands in your life?