In last week’s Sunday School class we talked about the beatitudes presented in the first several versus of Matthew chapter 5. This week we discussed only one verse in that chapter (verse 13) which speaks about “The Salt of the Earth”.
Verse 13 reads…
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.
Throughout the New Testament you will find that Jesus often used parables, analogies, metaphors and symbolism in his communication to make his point. That is what Jesus is doing here. To understand what Jesus is talking about when he uses the term salt, we need to look at the properties of salt. Some of salt’s properties are:
- It adds flavor
- It melts cold
- It preserves
- It heals wounds
At the same time we need to understand who it is Jesus is talking about when he says “Ye are the salt of the earth. Jesus was talking about those who believed in God and committed their ways to him. At time Jesus spoke these words, the world was still under the dispensation of “Law”. Now that we are under the dispensation of “Grace”, it is the saved, the born again that Jesus would be referring to.
I could go into great detail in making the connections about the properties of salt listed above, showing how they each apply the Christian, but it is sufficient to say that salt is symbolic of the Christian’s influence on the world. When Jesus talks about salt loosing its savour, it is in the context of the Christian loosing his influence on those around him. As salt, we are to be an example for others in how we all are to live our lives in obedience to God. We are to be the illustrations that go with God’s word. We need to live our lives in a way that if people are around us for any length of time they will know by our countenance that we are a Christian. Why is this important? It goes along with our charge to be a witness and a light to this lost world. Its not God’s will that any would perish, but that all would come to repentance. God’s desire is that all people would repent and be saved. Its true that not everyone will be saved, in fact the bible teaches us that there will be more in Hell than there will be in Heaven. Because God has made a way for all to be saved and made it free, those who do go to Hell, go there by their own choosing. By the way, not making a choice is in fact choosing Hell. God uses those he has already saved to influence the lost in a way that they may seek God for themselves. The lost see that we (the born again Christian) have peace even in the midst of our trials and tribulations that they are not able to have. They see that we are able to have joy in our heart even when things come our way that by all worldly logic should cause us great sadness and despair. They see in us a love for people and a willingness to forgive that they can not comprehend. All these things work to influence the lost so that they may seek to know more about God and even seek to know Jesus as their own savior. Now even if we live as we are directed to live by God’s word and do our duty regarding being the salt of the earth, not all people will seek after God as a result of what they see in us. The point is however that SOME WILL allow themselves to be influenced by what they see in a Christian’s life and WILL begin to seek after God. The great news is that the bible says, “Seek and ye shall find”, “knock, and the door shall be open”.
The scripture teaches that if the salt looses its savour, it is good for nothing. How does salt loose its savour, or how does a Christian loose his influence on the world? The answer is simple… by not living as a Christian is supposed to live. I have heard many testimonies of Christians that I believe live their lives close to God that confess that there was a time in their Christian life that they drifted away from God. During that time did not live by the principles and teachings of God’s word (some call such a person a “backslider”). When they were in this condition of being a transgressor, they had no Christian influence on the world. They were not able to be a witness to anyone for Christ. If during that time they had tried to witness to someone and tell them about Jesus, it most likely would not have any impact on anyone, especially those that knew how they were living. They would have probably been seen as a hypocrite. If we go to witness to someone verbally, our unspoken witness of how we walk as a Christian goes before us and if the two do not go together, we will not have any influence on that person at all. Jesus made this clear when he spoke about salt that has lost its savour when he said, “it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men”. If we stray from God and become more like the world, we blend in with the world and do not stand out as being something different. God’s word teaches us to be separated from the world. This is the only way we can be an influence on others. My [pastor has often said that you can take a single grain of salt and place it on your tongue and you will be able to taste that salt. This is an illustration of how powerful salt is. If Christians are salt, then let’s say the world is sugar… Take a single grain of salt and place in on a heaping spoon of sugar and then take the whole spoon full in your mouth and see if you can then taste that one grain of salt. You can not because the taste of all that sugar overshadows the taste of that single grain of salt. That’s what happens when we blend in with the ways of the world rather than being separated and living by the ways of God.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
(1 Corinthians 6:17-18)
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Jesus asked the question, “if the salt have lost his savoir, wherewith shall it be salted?” It would be easy here to assume that what Jesus is saying is that once we loose our influence (salt) we can never obtain it again. It is easy to make this assumption because if we think of salt loosing its flavor, there really is nothing we can do to put the flavor back in it. It would take an act of God to do this. It is the same in the case of a Christian loosing his influence. Remember the people I wrote about a few paragraphs back that at one time were in a backslider condition? Now they are walking upright in fellowship with God and passionate about serving Him. They have great influence with people now. One in particular that I know is preacher. Jesus therefore is not saying it is impossible to regain our influence when we have gone astray, but he is illustrating by this metaphor that it is not easy and that it will take the work of God to such a person to be restored to the place of once again having influence (putting the saltiness back in the salt). Restoration comes by repentance. If someone who has gone astray from God, humbles himself and sincerely asks God to forgive him and restore him, God WILL do it. He promises to do so.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9)
Notice here that is says He will cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness! Then if we will continue walking as an obedient Christian, in time people will notice and we will regain our influence. You can not walk as a Christian if there is sin in your life, if must first be forgiven and placed under the blood of Christ and only God can do that for you. So then just as it would take God to put the saltiness back into salt, it takes God to restore the Christian’s influence who has went astray.
God bless you,
I may not look like much, but I cost a bunch!