Monday, June 18, 2018

The Salt of the Earth

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” (Matthew 5:13).

What does it mean to be the salt of the earth? Salt was used in various ways in the ancient world, and today we will consider three of the most important.

First, salt adds flavor and spice. If that says anything to me, it says that the Christian life should not be dull, and Christians should not be dull people. Christians should possess hope and joy, even in the midst of trial, and communicate that salty spice to those around them.

Second, salt acts as a preservative. One of the problems that arose in some of the churches of the first century was that some Christians were looking for Christ to return in their generation and dropped out of society. This was a particularly acute problem in the Thessalonian church. So Paul wrote to them and told them that there were a number of things that would have to happen before Christ returns, and sent them back to work.

Paul predicted an outbreak of wickedness under the leadership of the “man of lawlessness.” In 2 Thessalonians 2:6, Paul speaks of a restraining force that was holding back the powers of wickedness and thus preserving the world. I believe that this refers, in part at least, to the salty work of Christians as they influence society for good and restrain the self-destructive influences of evil.

Third, salt was used by conquering armies to punish a defeated people. The soldiers would trample salt into the soil, thereby preventing crops from growing for many years. Jesus says that if the salt loses its flavor, and cannot be used positively, it will be used negatively to punish the world. In the process, the salt itself will be trampled underfoot.

Suppose Christ said to you, “You were supposed to be the salt of the earth, but you were good for nothing, and so I’m going to trample you and make you a curse to the world.” Surely this is a terrifying warning!

The church exists not for her own sake, but for the glory of Christ and to minister to the world. We dare not isolate ourselves from our salty tasks in society. What are some of the ways your church is salting the community in which you live? What can you do to help?