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. Matthew 5:13
For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. Mark 9:49-50
You wonâ€™t be in church very long or read the Bible very long before you learn that Christians are to be salt. Most of the time, you will hear that we are likened to salt for two reasons. One is that salt makes people thirsty and we are to live in such a way that lost people see our lives and become thirsty for what we have â€“ thirsty for a drink of living water. The other reason we are likened to salt is that we are to act as a preservative â€“ to take the saving message of the gospel to the lost so they may receive eternal life and thus be preserved. Both of those are good, but there are also two other reasons Christians are commanded to be salt. Salt makes wounds sting and in the Bible, salt is linked to death. As Christians, we are to make the wounds of the lost sting so the lost desire to be healed (saved), and we are to die to ourselves.
Make wounds sting
Back when I was nine or ten, my family traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida to visit my uncle, aunt, and cousins. Their backyard is next to a canal which is connected to the ocean. We were swimming in the canal and as I was climbing the ladder on the dock, my foot slipped and my leg smacked into a barnacle. A barnacle is a sea creature with a hard shell and it usually attaches itself to the bottom of boats and other submerged surfaces. Many times, their shells have very sharp edges. When I hit the barnacle, it put about a 4-inch gash in my leg. As soon as that salt water entered the wound, I felt excruciating pain. Salt causes pain to wounds.
Lost people are wounded. In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30), the man who was beaten and left half-dead is a picture of a lost man. He was wounded. We need to make the lost painfully aware of their wounds so they desire to be healed (Isaiah 53:5). How do we make them aware of their wounds? The law â€“ the Ten Commandments â€“ brings the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). Keep reminding the lost about the Ten Commandments. Show them how theyâ€™ve transgressed Godâ€™s law. That will make their wounds sting.
Die to oneself
Throughout the Bible, salt is linked to death. We read about the salt sea which cannot support life (Genesis 14:3, Numbers 34:3, 34:12, etc.). We read about the valley of salt where David smote the Syrians (2 Samuel 8:13), Joash slew Edom (2 Kings 14:7), Abishai slew the Edomites (1 Chronicles 18:12), and Amaziah smote the children of Seir (2 Chronicles 25:11). We read about Lotâ€™s wife who died and became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).
We also see salt connected to barren places â€“ where no life is:
And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: Deuteronomy 29:23
For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Jeremiah 17:6
But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. Ezekiel 47:11
Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them. Zephaniah 2:9
We also read about the covenant of salt:
All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee. Numbers 18:19
Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? 2 Chronicles 13:5
A covenant of salt is in effect forever â€“ or essentially until death. Back in Old Testament times, people would have a small pouch of salt they would carry. When people made agreements that they intended to last, each person would take a pinch of salt of the pouch and put it in the otherâ€™s salt pouch. In effect, they were saying, â€œThe agreement is in effect until I can figure out which grains of salt in your pouch are mine.â€ A person could search until he died and still never be able to sort out which salt was whose. Thus, a covenant of salt was in effect until death.
Our speech is to be seasoned with salt:
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6
If we die to ourselves, if we reckon our flesh to be dead indeed unto sin, then our speech will always be with grace.
So many of the problems in our lives today, in our churches too, are because we are not salt â€“ we do not die to ourselves. Too often, we let others hurt our feelings, but if we would die to ourselves, our feelings wouldnâ€™t matter. We would see more being done for Christ if we died to ourselves.
We are to daily take up the cross. That means we are to crucify the old man every day. Each and every day we are to reckon ourselves to be deed indeed unto sin. Have you killed your old man today?
Pass the salt, please.